The Malaysian Grand Prix, held on October 5 at the Mines City Resort outside Kuala Lumpur, saw Scott Gillman lead throughout and build a huge winning margin of 26.79 seconds.

The Malaysian Grand Prix, held on October 5 at the Mines City Resort outside Kuala Lumpur, saw Scott Gillman lead throughout and build a huge winning margin of 26.79 seconds.

Gillman, whose last grand prix win was in Cagliari, Sardinia during his World Championship year in 2000, has suffered three frustrating seasons. He failed to finish on 13 occasions and although runner up 14 times hasn’t taken the chequered flag for almost four years. The native of Los Angeles, California, led from the start surviving an early yellow flag when Swedish driver Pierre Lundin pulled off the racing line giving the fleet a second chance to catch the leader. But Gillman never let up and lapped all but the top four teams. The win moves Gillman back to third on the championship table with a total score of 47 points.

Italian Guido Cappellini moved from third to second overall at the start. He stayed there throughout to pick up 15 further points giving him a 15-point cushion in the championship. Fellow Italian Francesco Cantando, the previous overall points contender, driving for the Singha Racing Team retired with engine problems while lying among the leaders. His score remains at 55 points against Cappellini’s 70.

Saudi driver Laith Pharaon put up a great show moving toward the front in the final quarter of the event after being as low as ninth. He pushed past Fabio Comparato, who finished sixth, then got caught up in a three-boat tussle with Danish driver Gert Ladefoged who eventually finished fourth. Italian Fabrizio Bocca of the Corona Extra Team held third until colliding with Russian Stanislov Kourtsenovsky in the final lap destroying any dream he had of a podium place which would have been his first since Moscow of 1998.

Young UAE driver Tany Al Qamzi collected another five points for finishing fifth with rookie Julius Leysen finishing the best of his short career with a seventh placing in his DanIta Racing rig. Bocca was classified eighth despite not finishing while Kourtsenovsky was given ninth and Australian Bob Trask of the Baba Seaquest Racing Team 10th plus a single point in the championship.

Three-time world Formula I champion, Welshman Jonathan Jones, racing for the first time after an absence of two years, moved up to eighth before engine trouble forced him to retire. Last year’s winner, Massimo Roggiero from Italy (Baba Seaquest Racing/Dac), who was second fastest in the pre-race Pole contest, slipped down the order to sixth before pulling out completely on the 35th lap.

Duarte Benevente from Portugal ran fourth early in the race until his day ended on the 27th lap. Others disappointed were Frenchman Philippe Dessertenne who dropped out after 18 laps and Sami Selio who started tenth only to retire after 14 laps.

The sixth round of the 2003 UIM Formula I World Championship series takes place on October 26 in Singapore.