What looked like a war of attrition proved good fortune for Monegasque Guido Cappellini

What looked like a war of attrition proved good fortune for Monegasque Guido Cappellini (Laserline/Castrol) when he won the Abu Dhabi – his fifth grand prix victory of the season. The final round of the 1999 Formula I world championship, of the 22 starters only eight craft where still competing at the finish.

American Scott Gillman (Emirates/Gulf Air), the 1997 World Champion and premier driver of the Emirates Team, led at the start until Norwegian Frode Sundsdal crashed on the first turn forcing a restart. Shortly after the second start Gillman was to pull out with power trim problems leaving Frenchman Philippe Dessertenne (Fuchs/Sika/Primagaz) leading the pack: a position he held for the next 33 laps.

Finland’s Pertti Leppala (Kodak/NLS/Castrol) lay second at the halfway stage before his hopes of finishing championship runner-up were dashed by mechanical failure. Meanwhile Cappellini, who had a bad start, began moving past the ailing Welshman Jonathan Jones then past Italian Massimo Roggierio (Rips/Castrol) to secure second slot behind the flying Dessertenne. He then took the overall lead a little later when the Frenchman slowed to a halt on the 35h lap.

Hungarian champion Rudy Mihaldecz (Dunaferr/EMA Power), who lay 11th at the start, was to finish third five seconds behind second placed Massimo Roggiero from Italy. Fellow Italian Fabrizio Bocca (Rainbow Belco Racing), the1992 World Champion, moved up from 16th to finish fourth: his best placing of the season.

Swedish contender, Thomas Ericsson (Singha) in the final race of his career, finished on a high note with a fifth placing while Danish contender Gert Ladefoged (Fuchs/Lindab) achieved his first ever placing in the top ten with a seventh. The same applied to Britain’s Alan Marshall. His first race for four months, he filled eighth slot with local UAE driver Awad Al Quabaisi in his first Formula I race rounded out with tenth.

Although already having the world championship well and truly under his belt by the penultimate round, this result added yet a further 20 points to Cappellini’s impressive score. The season gave him his firth world championship by a massive margin of 63 points over American Scott Gillman.

1999 World Formula I Championship
Final Round. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Results:
1 Guido Cappellini (Monaco) Laserline/Castrol 20pts
2 Massimo Roggiero (Italy) Rips/Castrol 15pts
3 Rudolf Mihaldinecz (Hungary) Dunaferr/EMA Power 12pts

Final Championship Points Standings
1 G.Capplini (Monaco) 130pts
2 S.Gillman (USA) 67pts
3 P.Leppala (Finland) 55pts
4 F.Comparato (Italy) 51pts
5 M.Roggiero (Italy) 40pts
6 J.Jones (GB) 33pts