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All eyes on champion Liuzzi in Spa 29 Aug 2004

New F3000 Champion Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Arden International celebrates on the podium. Formula 3000 International Championship, Rd9, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 28 August 2004. World © Sutton

The F3000 crown in 2004 - Formula One racing next?

Plenty going on in the garages and motorhomes this weekend as the driver market movements for 2005 continue to gather pace. In recent days Jacques Villeneuve and DTM racer Christian Albers visited the Sauber factory in Hinwil, while in Spa itself Anthony Davidson and Vitantonio Liuzzi met with Peter Sauber.

It has been a good weekend for Liuzzi. After that meeting on Thursday evening, when he is believed to have had a seat fitting prior to a possible test for the team after Monza, he took a brilliant pole position on a semi-damp road during Friday afternoon’s qualifying for the Formula 3000 race.

Yesterday afternoon he followed Robert Doornbos home in the wet/drying race to clinch his championship title as archrival Enrico Toccacelo had an unhappy outing and failed to score. Liuzzi ended the day with 76 points to his fellow Italian’s 56, with only one race left. That makes him the 20th, and final, Formula 3000 champion since the series, which will be replaced by GP2 in 2005, was inaugurated in 1985.

Third place fell to Jose Maria Lopez after a strong drive and an aggressive battle with former champion Tomas Enge.

The victory for Doornbos was particularly satisfying for Arden International Motorsport team owner Christian Horner as he scored a 1-2, but there were moments of concern as Doornbos made the most of a superior chassis set-up compromise to push ahead of Liuzzi. “I told both of them yesterday morning that they could fight but the one thing they shouldn’t do was take each other out. Then the moment they got to Les Combes on the first lap Robert slid into Tonio and gave his sidepod a great wallop!”

“It was only a little touch, and as soon as I saw that Robert was much quicker than me I let him go,” Liuzzi chuckled.

The former kart world champion now intends to resume the domination he displayed earlier in the season when he won six of the seven races, by winning at home in Monza next week so that he can equal the all-time record victory score of Juan Pablo Montoya and Nick Heidfeld.