Italian Guido Cappellini used tactics to achieve his fourth outright victory in this year's World Formula I Championship series
Italian Guido Cappellini used tactics to achieve his fourth outright victory in this year’s World Formula I Championship series when he won the Grand Prix of Sharjah on Friday, December 16. Being his 50th career victory the result also enters him in the annuals of the sport.
Cappellini, who had been disqualified during the pre-race ‘pole’ contest, pushed fastest qualifier, Scott Gillman from the United States, for a third of the race until passing him after the first restart. He then took the lead never looking back for what remained of the 50 lap event.
“It was a good way to wrap up the season,” said Cappellini. “We will use it as a spring board to launch us into 2006 and a possible tenth title.”
Sami Selio, who became Cappellini’s closest challenger, pushed as hard as he could eventually narrowing the gap in the final eight laps. He finished a mere 2.11 seconds behind the winner to take his fourth podium of the season and become runner-up in the championship with a final score of 49.5 points against Cappellini’s 92.
“I pushed as hard has I could but eased off when I realised Frenchman Philippe Dessertenne had dropped out two laps before the end. I quit chasing Guido and decided it was more important to finish second in the championship,” stated Selio. “The result will help us prepare for 2006.”
Francesco Cantando of the Singha Team, who won this race in 2000, came the furthest of any driver from breaking an engine in the morning warm-up to taking his 32nd career podium by late afternoon with a third placing 17.60 seconds behind the Italian winner. This and his win in Singapore left him with seventh place in the championship with 32 points.
Italian Fabio Comparato who came fourth ends his season with 39.5 points and fourth place in the championship.
Defending champion, Scott Gillman who led the early stages never recovered after the two restarts. He misjudged the second and was immediately overtaken by Cappellini and Selio before falling back. After a brief battle with Cantando he pushed forward once again and came within five seconds of the leading Cappellini when he began to slow eventually taking fifth place one lap behind the winner. Gillman’s seven points were enough however to give him third place in the championship with a total score of 42 points.
French driver Philippe Dessertenne in the Ligier Sports effort was bitterly disappointed. He moved up to fourth and looked set to finish second in the championship when he dropped out two laps from the end leaving him fifth on the final championship table with 39 points.
The 2005 season comes to a close with Guido Cappellini not only taking his record setting ninth World Championship and his 50th career win. The question now is will Cappellini reach his goal of ten world titles and then retire? Over 20 drivers will be trying their best next year to see he doesn’t win yet another title starting with the opening championship round in Doha, Qatar.