Minardi wins for Leinders and Herbert 14 Nov 2005
The Minardi name lived on this weekend as their fleet of two-seater Formula One machines took to the track in South Africa, all in the name of charity. Formula One veterans Bas Leinders and Johnny Herbert were the victors in two ten-lap demonstration races in front of a sell-out crowd at the famous Kyalami circuit in Johannesburg.
It was Belgians to the fore in the first race, with former Minardi third driver Leinders taking the chequered flag in front of fellow countryman David Saelens, with Herbert clinching the final podium spot. The only casualty of the race was Gianni Morbidelli, the former Dallara, Minardi, Footwork and Sauber driver spinning at Sunset Corner.
"We had a great start and were up to third by the end of the first lap, and then we overtook Matteo (Bobbi) and pushed hard to the pit stop, said Leinders. David (Saelens) was ahead of us after the stop, but we managed to pass him before the chequered flag and score a great victory here in South Africa. It's been a lot of fun, but best of all, it's been for a good cause."
The second race saw Florida's Ryan Hunter-Reay lead impressively from start to finish, but the Champ Car driver was penalised at the end of the race for not making his mandatory pit stop. This elevated Herbert into first place, with BAR test driver Alan van der Merwe claiming second and former Minardi star Patrick Friesacher taking the final podium spot.
"We mustn't forget that, first and foremost, all the F1x2 drivers are here to support the charities that benefit from this event, said Herbert. From my perspective, the nice thing about today is that my passengers in both races had good runs. We overtook several cars, so they had an opportunity to get a real sense of what it's like when you're racing. I had fun today, and I'm sure they did as well, so you'd have to say it's been another successful weekend for F1x2."
There were two retirements in race two, Saelens pulling out on the third lap with an electronics problem, and Hungarian Formula One veteran Zsolt Baumgartner spinning out at Tabletop Corner.