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Editor/Photographer : Mark Charles

 

29th August 2004

Belgian Grand Prix - Race

Weather: Dry Track Temp: 22 degrees Air temp: 20 degrees

Spectators were treated to one of the most exciting races of the season today as twenty drivers battled it out at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. With only nine cars making it to the finishing line and three re-starts it made for an exciting action-packed 44-laps. Mark Webber (28) started 7th on the grid and unfortunately after losing his front wing in the first corner was forced to retire after his suspension was damaged also and he was unable to steer. Christian Klien (21) started from 13th on the grid and battled it out, avoiding several accidents and a lot of debris along the way. After a fantastic over-taking manoeuvre on the Toyota of Oliver Panis he finished 6th, scoring the first points of his Formula One career and three more for the team. The team now go to Monza (Italy) for a two-car, three-day test ahead of the final European race in two-weeks time.

Mark Webber
Position: Retired Chassis: R5- 05
I made a good start off the grid today and I was flying into La Source - the first corner. Unfortunately I made a mistake and braked too late. I was struggling to slow the car and I hit the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello causing me to lose my front wing. I was making my way up eau-rouge and aiming to get back to the pits when I lost the steering and unfortunately through not fault of his own, Sato hit me and that was the end of my race. I am disappointed not to have completed the race as I really enjoy this circuit and I was very much looking forward to racing. The car has felt good all weekend and I am sorry not to have scored some points for the team. They have done an excellent job this weekend and we will now go to Monza for a three-day test when we will be looking to learn more about the car and prepare it in advance of our last European race.

Christian Klien
Position: 6th Chassis: R5- 01
What an amazing race for me! My start was fine as I managed to avoid a few incidents and also the debris on the track. I kept going when the safety car came out and pitted as normal. My three-stop strategy worked well and the guys in the team did a great job. When the safety car came out the second time I was behind the Toyota of Panis and as soon as it came in I managed to overtake him. The car is feeling great and I really enjoyed racing today. I could not believe the amount of action on-track and at times I was really concerned about the debris. I did my best to avoid it and then to have finished in 6th is just great. They are my first points and I am so pleased to be able to thank the team in this way for all their hard work. I am now going to focus very hard on the last four races and see what I can do to add to that tally. A fantastic weekend all-round.

Dr Mark Gillan
Head of Vehicle Performance
Mark made a good start and it was unfortunate that he clipped the Ferrari of Rubens on the first corner. That was really the end of his race as he had damaged his suspension. Christian also made a good start and he managed to steer clear of a lot of the debris on track. His pit-stops went as planned and he managed a good over-taking move on the Toyota of Panis. I am really delighted that he finished sixth and has scored his first points and to have scored three is just fantastic for the team. We are now seventh in the Constructors Championship so will be going to the remaining four races with the intention of scoring more points and retaining that position. A great weekend all round and one that accurately reflects the pace and reliability of the R5.

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