Formula 1 season goes down to the wire
Italian Massimo Roggiero scored his second victory in three races at the third Annual Grand Prix of Sharjah over the weekend. The event, marking the ninth and penultimate round of the UIM Formula 1 World Championship, took place on Khaleed Lagoon just outside Dubai.
Roggiero, who initially qualified fourth on the grid, moved into second place by the end of the first lap despite a strong challenge from French driver, Phillippe Dessertenne. However opening race leader, current world champion Guido Cappellini of Italy, had trouble finding his way around the course and was disqualified for dangerous driving. This left the way open for a three-boat battle that would last throughout the 50 lap event but there was plenty of action still taking place further down the fleet.
Italian Fabio Comparato lying third flipped over almost taking Dessertenne with him but the Frenchman made a spectacular recovery before returning for the re-start.
Roggiero held off Dessertenne for a third of the race until Saudi driver Laith Pharaon moved into second place. Pharaon later pulled alongside Roggiero but that’s where he stayed.
Italian Francesco Cantando, driving a new outfit, showed promise moving up from seventh to fourth before dropping out with mechanical trouble on the 16th lap.
His teammate, Ivan Torta, who qualified sixth on the grid, also pulled out as American Scott Gillman moved up from the 11th before falling back with loss of engine power to finally finish a creditable fourth. This result increased his total score 60 points leaving him in with a chance of finishing runner-up in the championship.
Danish driver Gert Ladefoged achieved his best ever result with a fifth placing while team mate Vincenzo Polli kept the magic alive with an eighth placing.
Duarte Benavente from Portugal had a great race moving up from 13th to finish sixth while all eyes were on Majeed Al Mansouri of the Emirates Team who, in his first ever Formula 1 event, finished seventh.
Englishman Andy Elliott, who spent little time qualifying, lived up to his reputation as a charger from the back of the pack moving from 24th to finish ninth at the race end.
Other first time drivers making a good start to their Formula 1 careers were American Jay Price who went from 22nd on the grid to finish 12th and Australian Bob Trask who finished 17th despite engine problems.
The 2002 world Formula I championship concludes in Abu Dubai on December 20 where four drivers will still be in with a chance of finishing runner-up to seven time champion, Guido Cappellini.