Poron wins FX Monza thriller

Round 2 of the 2004 Formula X Sport Series saw Benjamin Poron confirm the promises he made at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza yesterday. The young Frenchman, who finished second in Saturday's race after a late engine change, won the second race after early leader Shinsuke Yamazaki's car developed an engine problem, while Vanina Ickx proved her talent yet again by clinching second place.

Japanese driver Shinsuke Yamazaki qualified on pole for race two, just like he had done for yesterday's first round. Sharing the first row on the grid was Italian Manuele Gatto, with fellow countryman Enea Casoni and Vanina Ickx just on row two. Belgian Stéphane Lemeret, last year's European Clio Cup vice-champion had a big off when he found himself without brakes entering the daunting Parabolica corner, but the Van Diemen-built car proved its strength and Lemeret walked away from the wreck.

At the start of the 18-lap race, Yamazaki made his usual early getaway, while Ickx and Gatto followed closely behind. Kasuyuki Nishizawa, who had started last after an engine problem in qualifying, tried yet another first lap, second chicane manoeuvre which could best be described as "brave but not bright". The net result was three cars off the track, those behind scrambling to avoid the incident and those in front having an easier life in the lead.

Just before the halfway mark of the race Yamazaki's engine developed a problem and his lead started to disappear. Poron passed him without too much trouble, and three laps later Ickx did the same. Frenchman Julien Gerbi followed suit and clinched the last podium spot, while Austrian driver Dieter Huber finished fourth. Yamazaki still managed to hold on to fifth at the finish, enough to give him second place in the championship standings. Benjamin Poron leads by seven points, while Vanina Ickx is third, one point behind Yamazaki.

Said President of Formula X, Quirin Bovy: "It's a pity so many competitors had engine troubles, but we have detected what it is and I can guarantee that they will be solved by the next race in Germany. Other than that, I think we have shown that Formula X Sport is a very competitive formula. The cars are very fast and the drivers are all talented, as I could see for myself when they went three abreast through the Parabolica without incidents. The fastest lap time in the race (Gatto in 1m58s935, just 15/1000th quicker than Poron) would have been enough for a Formula X Sport car to qualify for the LMES 1000kms of Monza! I think we have proved this weekend that Formula X has a bright future, and would like to invite any sceptics to come and watch us race at the Nürburgring in July."

Qualifying times Round 2 - Monza

1. Yamazaki (J)   2m00s032 2. Gatto (I)   2m00s2433. Casoni (I)   2m02s2324. Ickx (B)   2m03s3845. Gerbi (F)   2m04s1866. Huber (A)   2m04s7377. Ballabio (MC)  2m04s9858. Poron (F)   2m05s9449. Pappolla (F)   2m06s01710. Lemeret (B)   2m06s64811. Mallat (USA)  2m07s72012. Blaton (B)   2m08s28713 Sommereau (F)  2m16s18214. Nichizawa (J)  2m18s34715. Panzavuota (I)  No time16. Khan (GB)   No time

Result Round 2 - Monza

1. Benjamin Poron (F)  18 laps in 35m59s670 (Average speed: 173.816kph)2. Vanina Ickx (B)  + 0m07s0223. Julien Gerbi (F)  + 0m33s7284. Dieter Huber (A)  + 1m02s3335. Shinsuke Yamazaki (J) + 1m06s1576. Jean-Yves Mallat (USA) + 1m32s7277. Didier Sommereau (F) + 5 laps8. Fulvio Ballabio (MC)  + 9 lapsDNF Kasuyuki Nishizawa (J) Accident damageDNF Manuele Gatto (I)  Accident damageDNF Enea Casoni (I)  Accident damageDNF Jean-Michel Pappolla (F) Engine misfireDNF Marco Panzavuota (I) Engine misfireDNF Fulvio Ballabio (I)  Accident damageDNS Stéphane Lemeret (B) Accident in qualifyingDNS Marc Blaton (B)  GearboxDNS Ian Khan (GB)  Engine

2004 Formula X Sport Series Point Standings

Pos  - Name - Nat. -  R1 -  R2 - Tot.1 B Poron F 15 20       352 S Yamazaki J 20 8       283 V Ickx B 12 15       274 D Huber A 8 10       185 J Gerbi F 1 12       136 E Casoni I 10 0       107 J-Y Mallat USA 3 6       98 M Panzavuota I 6 0       69 D Sommereau F 2 4       610 J-M Pappolla F 4 0       411 F Ballabio MC 0 3       312 K Nishizawa J 0 0       013 M Gatto I 0 0       014 S Lemeret B DNS DNS       015 M Blaton B DNS DNS       016 I Khan GB DNS DNS       0

Rounds 1 & 2: Monza; rounds 3 & 4: Nürburgring; rounds 5 & 6: Silverstone; rounds 7 & 8: Spa-Francorchamps