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Junqueira takes title, but Alonso is the star.


There may have been a title fight in progress, but all eyes at Spa-Francorchamps were firmly focused on runaway race winner Fernando Alonso.

For someone in only his second year out of karts, the Spaniard did not put a foot wrong to lead from start to finish in the final round of the FIA F3000 championship, but still had his achievement overshadowed by the fact that Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian were duking it out for the crown.

Alonso needed to make two good starts for, as has become common in F3000, the Safety Car made its obligatory appearance as early as lap three to remove Mario Haberfeld's crumpled car from the pit-straight, but the Spaniard made no mistake, and quickly opened out an unassailable advantage.

The restart slightly bettered the original for the Astromega man, for he didn't have to worry about the advances of team-mate Marc Goossens. The Belgian had almost succeeded in taking the early lead as Alonso ran wide at La Source first time around, before finding himself swamped by the field on the run to Les Combes.

If this allowed Alonso to make good his first escape, the restart did an even better job, for the little Spaniard was not seen again by the rest of the field until everyone returned to parc ferme.

Junqueira held sway in second as the field completed the first lap, but this was the highest the champion-elect would manage all afternoon. Knowing that title rival Minassian had to win the race appeared to have a soporific effect on the Petrobras driver, and he was more than willing to concede positions to prevent himself being taken out in an optimistic manoeuvre. Even when Minassian himself caught the Brazilian, Junqueira allowed the place to slip, figuring that, with Alonso in such dominant form, the Frenchman had little chance of taking the ten points he needed to triumph.

Minassian's afternoon, like qualifying, looked to be going any way but the right one. At the first start, he tried the outside line into La Source, only to see the places he had gained at the lights taken away again at the first corner. From then on, and helped by the Safety Car, he began a drive worthy of a champion, picking off those ahead of him almost at will on the run through Kemmel to latch on to the top four with just under ten laps to run.

The last of these was Super Nova team-mate David Saelens and, if the Belgian did not make it easy for Minassian to pass, he did not make it too hard either, as the Frenchman swept around the outside going into Les Combes. Once free of the other silver D2 car, Minassian then began to reel in second-placed Goossens, only to find time against him. Whether he would have caught Alonso is a moot point, but the Frenchman made sure he would be in a position to capitalise of problems for the front-runners, and more than deserves a place in a higher formula next season.

All the while, the man who would be king continued his downward progress through the field. Once Minassian had passed him for sixth, Junqueira then yielded to Tomas Enge, Bas Leinders, Ricardo Mauricio and Christijan Albers, before taking an eventual ninth place finish.



Related Pictures

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Spa F3000 podium
Bruno breaks the news
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Cars line up on the grid for the race. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering), Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering) & Mitch Evans (NZL, RUSSIAN TIME) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) celebrates his win in parc ferme. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) celebrates his win on the podium. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident), celebrates on the podium with Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) and 4. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) leads Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering) and the rest of the field at the start. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) celebrates on the podium with Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering). Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Matthew Parry (GBR, Koiranen GP) crashes into a wall. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) crosses the line to take the win. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Race One Press Conference. Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International), Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) and Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) celebrates his win in Parc Ferme. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), leads Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International), Kevin Ceccon (ITA, Arden International) and the rest of the field at the start of the race. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), leads Kevin Ceccon (ITA, Arden International), Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident), Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International) and the rest of the field at the start. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 4. Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Sunday 26 July 2015. Seb Morris (GBR, Status Grand Prix) &Matheo Tuscher (SUI, Jenzer Motorsport) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 6. Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Sunday 26 July 2015. Nobuharu Matsushita (JPN, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service

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