29 July 2000
mySAP one-two as Enge Czechs out.
Formula 3000's champion team finally came good at Hockenheim, scoring an emphatic formation finish despite the intervention of more adverse weather.
The conditions actually struck before the race was even underway, as the damp track left from the end of Formula One qualifying caught out French rookie Sebastien Bourdais on the formation lap, and reduced the field to 25 cars as it filed away behind the Safety Car.
Thankfully, the track surface was not as wet as it had been for qualifying on Friday and, despite the FIA declaring the event a wet race, there was a definite dry line appearing around the infield section by the time the pack was unleashed for the final 30 of 31 laps.
Almost immediately, poleman Tomas Enge sprinted away from the rolling start, leaving mySAP team-mate Tomas Scheckter to concentrate on fending off the attentions of third-placed Mark Webber. The young South African need not have worried, however, for his Australian rival had been caught napping by the fast starting Jeffrey van Hooydonk and, making the most of the gap left by Bourdais' absent car, the Belgian vaulted into the top three as the leaders set off into the forest.
The conditions between the Clark and Senna chicanes remained the worst on the circuit, and they wasted no time in catching out the unwary and over-exuberant. Returnee Dino Morelli was the first to succumb, taking to the escape road at the Clark Kurve before rejoining, while Fernando Alonso did the same at the Ostkurve.
By the time the field arrived back in the stadium section, the two mySAP cars had a comfortable advantage, but it was Webber back in third after passing van Hooydonk on the run back from Senna.
The championship contenders at this point had made little impression on the point-scoring positions, with Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian having to contend with the spray after starting in twelfth and 13th places respectively. The Brazilian was already trailing his title adversary, and about to make his main contribution to the race.
A winner in the 1999 running, Junqueira got it horribly wrong heading into the Ostkurve as early as lap three, collecting both David Saelens and the luckless Morelli and propelling all three into the gravel. All managed to rejoin after some delay, with the Petrobras Jr driver the worst affected as his nose-wing dragged along the track all the way back to the pits.
Figuring he had nothing to lose, Junqueira switched to slicks at the same time as taking on a new nose and, in company with Saelens, returned to explore the limits of grip around the back of the circuit. Had it remained dry, the move could well have been an inspired one but, just as Nordic's Justin Wilson opted for dry weather rubber, the heavens opened at Clark, prolonging the need for treaded.
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