Round 8 - Portugal (Estoril)
The Pro class held a surprise - no Parkhouse on pole for once. Robert Wilson took the Honour with a lap good enough for 5th overall with Parkhouse only .100 of a second behind him. The 8th to 11th spots were taken by Bert Volders, Leroy, Gerard Volders and Spratt.
Pos No. Driver Team Cl. Time Diff. Laps Pts 1. # 1 Jan Svehlik Bolgani Ace 1:07.296 +00.000 8 20 2. # 4 Steffen Diener Power Tech Ace 1:07.313 +00.017 10 16 3. #15 Benjamin Suerig Amiga Racing Ace 1:07.380 +00.084 12 14 4. # 9 Darren Crawford Corgi Ace 1:07.635 +00.339 7 12 5. #39 Robert Wilson Powerecoil-2000 Pro 1:07.779 +00.483 8 10 6. #11 Ian Parkhouse Phoenix Pro 1:07.899 +00.603 12 8 7. # 2 Mike Hogg Bolgani Ace 1:08.159 +00.863 8 6 8. #19 Bert Volders Lancia Pro 1:08.731 +01.435 12 5 9. # 7 Olivier Leroy CyberSpeed Pro 1:08.813 +01.517 10 4 10. #26 Gerard Volders Lotus Pro 1:09.058 +01.762 11 3 11. #25 Jim Spratt Lotus Pro 1:09.109 +01.813 3 2
Also on lap 7, Parkhouse made a bold attempt to reclaim the fourth place he lost to Bodlien on lap 3, but slid onto the grass and was forced into the pits for repairs, dropping him to last. A spin on lap 11 forced Suerig into the pits, and he showed that fresh tyres worked well as he set the fastest lap of the race so far on lap 13, but an engine failure forced him to retire on lap 16.
There were a number of different strategies on show, with most drivers opting for three stops but Crawford and Spratt went for two stops and Hogg only one. On lap 21, after the first stops by the three-stoppers Svehlik held a 10 second lead from the three drivers who had not yet stopped (Crawford, Hogg and Spratt), followed by Diener, Bodlien, Wilson, Parkhouse and Leroy, who had dropped to last after a mistake on lap 17. Bodlien was looking good until lap 26 when a series of misfortunes, including spins, punctures and broken wings forced him into the pits seven times before eventually retired on lap 61 with an oil leak.
In the second half of the race things settled down and Svehlik was once again the class of the field to win by over a minute. Diener took second place, and Crawford finished third, ahead of Hogg who was struggling badly for grip near the end. The fastest lap went to Svehlik, with his 1:08.904 on lap 53 being the only time one minute nine seconds was broken.
In the Pro class Parkhouse attempted to snatch the lead back from Wilson on the first corner of the final lap, but Wilson refused to give way. Parkhouse was very lucky to walk away unhurt from the resulting 120mph impact into the barriers while Wilson lost only a few seconds after a trip onto the grass and would take the class win ahead of Spratt with Parkhouse taking third as the only other Pro runner Leroy had retired on lap 50.
Pos No. Driver Team Cl. Time Diff. Pts 1. # 1 Jan Svehlik Bolgani Ace 1h26:27.065 +0:00.000 180 +5+3 2. # 4 Steffen Diener Power Tech Ace 1h27:46.446 +1:19.381 170 +5 3. # 9 Darren Crawford Corgi Ace 1h28:22.933 +1:55.868 165 4. # 2 Mike Hogg Bolgani Ace 1h29:04.447 +2:37.382 160 5. #39 Robert Wilson Powerecoil-2000 Pro 1h30:04.825 +3:37.760 155 6. #25 Jim Spratt Lotus Pro 1h30:45.303 +4:18.238 151 7. #11 Ian Parkhouse Phoenix Pro 70 laps 98.79% 144 8. # 3 Thomas Bodlien Power Tech Ace 60 laps 85.21% 120 9. # 7 Olivier Leroy CyberSpeed Pro 49 laps 70.06% 95 10. #15 Benjamin Suerig Amiga Racing Ace 16 laps 22.87% 30
"This track is one of my favourite. I like the first two chicanes, which you can drive at full speed. The CC's were no danger. I have used the strategy from season 1998/1999. Started on C compound, in lap 19 first stop, in lap 38 second stop and in lap 57 last stop where I taked D compund tyres."
Steffen Diener (Power Tech), 2nd:
"Portugal is one of the tracks with the highest tirewaer, so I
decided to start with Ds and then finish the race on Cs. This
strategy worked pretty well. I had only a few come togehters
with CCs and I think the result is one of my best ever."
Darren Crawford (Corgi), 3rd:
"The start was a bit slippy, that's probably why Villenuve, Zonta, Irvine and Herbert were out of the race in the first lap. Every lap I was able to get more traction, but every now and then the wheels would let go and wake me up from my routine braking and gear changing.
I could have gone a little faster I bet, but with the tires playing tricks I would have ended up in a wall, and I almost did."
Mike Hogg (Bolgani), 4th:
"I was quite pleased with my race overall - I enjoy this track with it's long sweeping sections but
the major problem here was traffic. I was constantly lapping people from lap 15 onwards so that
slowed me down quite a bit. Pretty solid so it's hopefully worth 4th or 5th in the race result."
Robert Wilson (Powerecoil-2000), 5th:
"After deciding to withdraw from Canada and fly straight to Portugal, the
car handled extremely well in qualifying and the race setup wasn't much
Not a fast race by any means. The middle section of the race was really
slow going, I just couldn't understand why. Anyhow, I've stronger races
to come in the following weeks ahead and I'm still on target for the
championship and my best season ever."
Jim Spratt (Lotus), 6th:
"From a start from pole the race went pretty much as expected, though it proved
to be a challenge to keep Hakkinen behind me in the early stages. However once
we started lapping backmarkers it was easy :). No major problems, although an
Arrows thought I should yield when I was lapping him, and we had a schurmish @
190MPH entering the first turn. I was NOT pleased. THen to spoil what was
otherwise a perfect race I damaged my nosecone on lap 60, by running into the
back of Coultard. I think this was done to stop me lapping Hakkinen :). I came
out in 2nd and drove out of my skin to catch Hakkinen, and took the lead again
on lap 65, and went on to win the race..."
Ian Parkhouse (Phoenix), 7th:
"Well, it was going well (apart from crunching a nosecone on lap 7) until the first corner on the final lap, when I got in the middle of four back markers, slowed down (for safety, I thought) and got knocked off the track. At that speed you've got no chance - race over."
Olivier Leroy (CyberSpeed), 8th:
"I had a good start from the pole, and I stayed at the 1st place until I broke my two wings on the lap 17.
After that, I was 12th, but I attacked and 12 laps later, I was 3rd. Finally, on the lap 47, I took the lead,
but 3 laps later, I had an accident with M. Salo, and I had to abandon."
Benjamin Suerig (Amiga Racing), 9th:
"I am very disappointed. On lap 11 I crashed into the wall - due to my own fault once again - and had to get a new front wing for my car. On lap 17 I finally hit Button, which was the reason for my retirement. That's all I can say about the race. The qualifying result had been very promising. I am aware of the fact that I won't be one of the top racers in the championship at the end of the season, but I still want to be successful on the remaining tracks."