Paddock postcard from Barcelona 09 May 2004
Motor racing royalty grace the Catalunya pit lane
NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon provides one of the star turns for race fans in Spain this weekend as a guest of the Williams team.
The American has strong ties to the team, of course, having taken part in the swap last year, prior to the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, with Juan Pablo Montoya. The Colombian drove Gordons Chevrolet NASCAR stock car, while Gordon impressed mightily in Montoyas Williams FW25. Gordon described his weekend as fabulous. Gordon, who said that he was too old to contemplate any switch to the different discipline and culture of Formula One racing, was accompanied by fellow racer Jimmy Johnson.
National heroes Moto GP star Sete Gibernau, golfer Seve Ballasteros, and rally ace Carlos Sainz also made appearances, together with Moto GP commentator and former racer Randy Mamola, and besides the usual smattering of former drivers, Gianni Morbidelli, Andrea Montermini and Luis Perez-Sala also visited. It was also good to see Prism pr founder Steve The Phantom Madincea up and around again after his recent serious illness, and FIA steward Burdette Martin and his wife Anne.
At 11am on Saturday morning the Circuit de Catalunya paid its respects to Ayrton Senna on the Champions Avenue behind the main grandstands, and in the afternoons Formula 3000 race Formula One-bound rising star Vitantonio Liuzzi simply destroyed his opposition for Christian Horners Arden International team with a brilliant display. Enrico Toccacelli and Rafaelle Giammaria were second and third and reigning British F3 champion Alan van der Merwe challenged Giammaria strongly for third until a collision with Jeffrey van Hooydonk damaged his front wing and obliged him to stop for a replacement nose near the end.