Minassian wins at Imola

Nicolas Minassian won the opening round of the Formula 3000 Championship at Imola

Minassian wins at Imola

The Frenchman took the lead from polesitter Bruno Junqueira at the first corner. The Brazilian and third-placed Mark Webber followed closely in the early stages before Minassian pulled away as his pursuers battled between themselves.

Junqueira came under attack from Webber several times in the final few laps but held second, only to drop and smash his trophy on the podium.

His team-mate Jaime Melo Jr was fourth after shaking off the spectacular Tomas Enge.

Fabrizio Gollin's lonely run to sixth was enlivened when Stephane Sarrazin appeared on his tail in the closing laps. The McLaren Junior driver had started back in 18th, but fought through the field strongly, benefiting from several retirements ahead.

Enrique Bernoldi dropped out of fourth early on, a collision at Rivazza accounted for David Saelens and Sebastien Bourdais and Bas Leinders spun from seventh to the back a few laps from home, having been successfully fending off the faster cars of Sarrazin, Justin Wilson and Fernando Alonso for much of the race.

Mario Haberfeld was part of this battle in-between his trips off the road. He still managed to stay ahead of the fight for 11th between Kristian Kolby and Darren Manning.

Soheil Ayari somehow made it to 14th despite a series of spins. Kevin McGarrity stalled at the start and lost nearly a lap before he managed to join the race, setting a series of stunning lap times as he tried in vain to catch the field.

Andrea Piccini, Ricardo Mauricio, Christian Albers, Ananda Mikola, Andre Couto, Fabrice Walfisch and Franck Montagny all departed as a result of spins or collisions in a typically incident-packed race.

Full report and results to follow...



































































1


Nicolas Minassian


Super Nova


2


Bruno Junqueira


Petrobras Jr


3


Mark Webber


European Arrows


4


Jaime Melo Jr


Petrobras Jr


5


Tomas Enge


McLaren Jr


6


Fabrizio Gollin


Coloni/Martello


7


Stephane Sarrazin


McLaren Jr


8


Justin Wilson


Nordic


9


Fernando Alonso


Astromega


10


Mario Haberfeld


Fortec


11


Kristian Kolby


DAMS


12


Darren Manning


Arden


13


Jeffrey van Hooydonk


KTR


14


Soheil Ayari


Coloni/Martello


15


Kevin McGarrity


Nordic


16


Bas Leinders


KJR

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Junqueira takes pole at Imola

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