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26.-28. November 1999


Report: Race

Weather: Cold and dry


Briton Darren Manning secured his place in the history books with a dominant victory in the inaugural International Formula 3 Korea Grand Prix today (Sunday) that secured him a US$100,000 prize for winning all four legs here and in Macau. The TOM'S driver led both heats from pole position and despite some intense pressure from nearest rival Briton Jenson Button he held on to take the win by just more than one second.

The pair were the class of the field from the start of the first heat, held in front of packed grandstands and spectators which included film star Jackie Chan, and in the early stages they pulled clear of Japanese Toshihiro Kaneishi. But on the seventh lap of the race a multiple pile-up, caused initially when Indian Narain Karthikeyan spun into the barriers at the start of the main straight, caused the race to be stopped.

Manning and Button led again at the start of the second heat with Kaneishi making a poor start and dropping behind French duo Jonathan Cochet and Benoit Treluyer. Button was never more than two seconds behind the leader and after making several attempts to get past, the pair made contact at the main hairpin on the final lap.

But it was not enough for Button to find a way through and Manning took the victory by just over one second. Kaneishi finished third on aggregate times over the two parts of the restarted race, with Cochet fourth and Benoit fifth. Portuguese Tiago Monteiro finished sixth with Briton Marc Hynes sixth.

At the start of the second race Manning again made the best start, to claim the lead into the first corner, while behind Treluyer moved past Button. Kaneishi had been forced to start from the pit-lane after suffering an electrical problem in the pits between the two races.

On lap two Treluyer let Button past for second at the first hairpin and soon the British driver was right on the tail of Manning. Extra downforce on his car meant he was much quicker in the medium to high speed corners, while good traction on Manning's car let him get better acceleration out of the slower corners.

The pair were hardly separated when, on lap 11, the safety car was called out for a spin by Dutchman Christijan Albers, who had been involved in the first race pile-up. The restart saw Manning and Button pull clear again and, following another safety car period when Andre Couto crashed heavily at the first left hander, it came down to a final showdown over four laps.

But Manning had enough in hand to keep the advantage to the flag, even if Button closed up more than expected as they crossed the line. "It has been a great seven days for me, with winning Macau and taking the victory here, and it is like a dream come true," said Manning.

Button was equally delighted with his second place. "It was an enjoyable fight with Manning and, although a driver never likes finishing second, I'm happy ending the season with a result like this.

Hopefully I can come back next year and go one better."
Treluyer held on to his third place finish, while Cochet finished fourth and Kaneishi benefited from the two safety car periods to take fifth.

Korea Weather


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