Race: Wilson wins with thrilling drive at A1-Ring

Justin Wilson took full advantage of a first corner melee at the Austrian round of the International Formula 3000 Championship to take his second win in the series this year, giving the Brit the upper hand in the race for the title

Race: Wilson wins with thrilling drive at A1-Ring

The young Brit led for most of what he described afterwards as 'the most difficult race of his career' to win from Bas Leinders in second place and Tomas Enge in third.

Wilson had qualified fourth and had his work cut out if he was to challenge for the lead during the race. However, a first corner skirmish between pole-sitter Sebastien Bourdais and Patrick Freisacher, who was second on the grid, caused the whole field to bunch up and turned the Castrol Kurve gravel trap into a car park.

"Initially I got a very good start," said Wilson, "but after 20 metres the car died and Tomas (Enge) came past. I was gutted, but then at the first corner it was slippery and lots of cars went off."

The two leaders were immediately out of the race, leaving the way clear for Leinders, who started third, to move into the lead. He was closely followed by Wilson and Nordic team mate Enge, who had started fifth, moved ahead of Wilson and Leinders after a good getaway, ran wide at the first corner and then rejoined back in third.

The first corner accident brought out the safety car, and at the restart Wilson took the lead with a perfect overtaking manoeuvre which began on the pit straight and ended at the exit of the slow second corner where Wilson moved past Leinders on the outside.

And there Wilson stayed until the chequered flag, but it wasn't all plain sailing for the 22-year-old, who had to fight off a very hungry Leinders.

"This was the toughest race ever in my career," said Wilson. "It was very slippery under braking, which allowed Bas to catch me. I made a mistake mid-race, which made things exciting."

Exciting it was, but try as he might, Leinders could not get past and the Belgian had to settle for second, but moves into third in the championship. Enge, meanwhile stayed close all the way to give Nordic Racing its second one-three in as many weeks.

Enge had closed to within one point of his team mate in the standings before this race, but now has a seven point deficit to make up. The Czech was disappointed to have messed up at the beginning.

"I lost the race in the first corner," said Enge. "I braked at the same point as Freisacher because I was right behind him. It was too late and I went wide."

In fourth place came Antonio Pizzonia, who also managed to pick his way through the first corner debris. The young Brazilian put in a solid performance and after qualifying seventh, will be pleased to have collected three points.

Jaime Melo finished fifth for Durango Formula, moving the Brazilian onto eight points and fifth in the championship standings. Andrea Piccini put his first point on the board by finishing sixth in his European Minardi Lola.

Click here for the race result.

Click here for the championship standings.

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