Vitantonio Liuzzi scored his fifth win from six races at Silverstone on Saturday, after taking his Arden International Lola from pole to victory lane to extend his lead in this year's FIA F3000 Championship.

Giving locally-based Arden its third home victory in as many years, Liuzzi made full use of the pole position he secured on Friday afternoon to head title rival Enrico Toccacelo in to Copse, from where he was only ever headed as the mandatory pit-stops played themselves out through the middle of the 30-lap event.

Although the Italian appeared to be in control of the entire race, however, he still had to work hard for his ten points, particularly in the closing stages, when a grip problem meant that he was unable to press on as he had in the early part of the race, and had the BCN car of Toccacelo looming ever larger in his mirrors.

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"Enrico put the pressure on me in the later stages of the race, but I was able to control a reasonable gap," Liuzzi reckoned, having crossed the line a second clear of his countryman, "The team did a great job as usual with the pit-stop."

Toccacelo claimed his fourth runners-up position of the year, but believed that, with more time, he could have passed his nemesis. The BCN driver revelled in his second set of tyres, claiming that - unlike Liuzzi's - they were a definite improvement over the rubber that he had started the race with, but explained that Silverstone's quick layout made it harder than usual to line up a passing move.

Whilst Toccacelo held a comfortable second place throughout the race, there was entertainment all the way behind him, as an early-race fight between Jose-Maria Lopez, Esteban Guerrieri and Patrick Friesacher saw overtaking attempts aplenty.

Enge and Friesacher both enjoyed good starts, vaulting into third and fourth places respectively, and it was the Austrian who appeared to be the fastest man on track in the early stages, threatening his Czech rival's third place ahead of the pit-stops. Lopez and Guerrieri, meanwhile, were embroiled in their own all-Argentine battle, with the CMS driver just holding off his fellow rookie until both headed for the pits.

As usual with teams getting more and more accustomed to the pressures of changing tyres against the clock, most of the pit-stops - which were undertaken earlier than in recent races - were conducted with precision. Apart from Friesacher's...

The Austrian saw all of his early race work count for nothing as he lost five places and re-joined behind former Super Nova team-mate Alan van der Merwe. Friesacher admitted later that the problem was all of his own making, as he released the brake early in his desperation to catch Enge and prevented his team from completing their work until he prevented the wheels from spinning. Then the Austrian managed to stall the car in his haste to get away, eventually rejoining in ninth place.

From there, the F3000 veteran drove a superb race, dispensing with van der Merwe and Tony Schmidt before closing in on, and battling spectacularly with, Raffaele Giammaria and Esteban Guerrieri. Unable to maintain his progress initially, Friesacher was gifted an opportunity when his two rivals made contact at the Abbey chicane on lap 25, forcing Guerrieri to pit for a new nose and Giammaria to lose track position. Friesacher gratefully accepted fifth place and set off in pursuit of Lopez, only to be thwarted by time.

While fellow countryman Guerrieri came home as the last classified finisher in 15th spot, Lopez managed to end his recent run of poor form with fourth place on what was his first race at Silverstone. Having emerged from the pits behind Guerrieri, after the BCN team had turned its Argentine around in double-quick time, the CMS driver pulled an audacious move at the fast Becketts complex to vault back into fourth spot.

Ahead of him, Enge - whose fastest qualifying time had been disallowed after an on-track incident with Durango's Yannick Schroeder - held a comfortable third place, unable to get on terms with either Liuzzi or Toccacelo, but equally free from pressure behind. As a result of his space, the Czech driver was able to set the fastest lap of the race, and claim his second podium finish in as many race.

Ma-Con team-mate Schmidt also enjoyed a solid race, and finished a creditable seventh to claim a second successive points finish, albeit nine seconds adrift of Giammaria at the chequered flag.

The final point went to a disappointed van der Merwe who, despite going one place better than he had in France, had expected to fare better thanks to his knowledge of Silverstone from last season's title-winning British F3 campaign.

"I was looking forward to doing well here as I know the place," the South African confirmed, "Now I have to look forward to Hockenheim and try and get on the pace there - hopefully, we can do some testing before then...."

Just missing out on points for the second race in a row, the steadily improving Ferdinando Monfardini claimed ninth spot for AEZ, with Robert Doornbos and Ernesto Viso - another British F3 graduate - duelling to the flag in his wake.

Twelfth place went to the remaining Astromega entry of Nico Verdonck, which at least lasted the distance after the team struggled with reliability in both practice and qualifying. The Belgian was followed home by a subdued Mathias Lauda - who admitted to making a bad start and paying for his error thereafter - Yannick Schroeder - who had been penalised by a qualifying accident that left him just minutes to make the grid in team-mate Viso's car - and the recovering Guerrieri.

Heading the list of retirements, Jeffrey van Hooydonck spun out of twelfth place at Priory on lap six whilst disputing territory with Doornbos. The Belgian veteran was joined on the sidelines by the second Astromega entry of Oliver Tielemans, who only signed to drive hours before the weekend kicked off. Unable to complete many laps in either Friday session, the Dutchman - who appeared poised to join Ma-Con before Enge's return to the series - was always going to struggle, and pulled into the pits at the end of lap one with another mechanical gremlin.