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Montoya wins sad Italian Grand Prix

Posted: Monday, September 17, 2001

MONZA, Italy (AP) -- Juan Montoya won Sunday's Italian Grand Prix on a somber day of auto racing at a track that is usually among the most boisterous in the sport.

The Colombian won for the first time in Formula One in a race preceded by an aborted action by drivers in which a no-passing rule was proposed.

The race was subdued not only because of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington but because of Saturday's CART race in Germany in which star driver Alex Zanardi lost both his legs.

''I'm glad this weekend is over,'' world championship driver Michael Schumacher said.

Montoya displayed a black band on his white-and-blue overalls at the victory ceremony.

Fans quietly applauded, with few flags waving and few horns playing -- a restrained response suggested by Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo. One man waved a U.S. flag from the stands.

Montoya, a former CART champion in his first Formula One season, won in a Williams BMW -- 5.1 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello. Ralf Schumacher, in a second Williams BMW, was third.

Michael Schumacher, his fourth season title already assured, was fourth.

''It was a great day for me, because my father was here and it was his birthday. ... Just one year ago I had my last win in a CART race,'' Montoya said.

Before the start, drivers and fans observed a minute of silence. Drivers of 11 teams lined up on a parade truck stationed in the finish line area and stood before the standing crowd.

Three teams -- Ferrari, Jordan and Jaguar -- had black mourning signs on their cars.

The race began after a dispute in which Michael Schumacher said most drivers had agreed to no passing through the two curves next to the starting grid.

The move was made not only in response to the terrorism and Zanardi's crash, but to last year's accident at Monza in which a race official was killed.

A spokesman for Schumacher's team said some teams opposed the move, ending possible action by the drivers.

Montoya covered the 53 laps in 1 hour, 16 minutes, 58.493 seconds, averaging nearly 126 mph.

Barrichello's bid for his second career victory was hurt by a long pit stop in which mechanics had problems with the fuel pump.

Spain's Pedro De La Rosa, in a Jaguar, was fifth and Canada's Jacques Villeneuve, in a Bar Honda, was sixth. Both McLaren Mercedes drivers, David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen, did not finish.

Barrichello moved three points behind second-place Coulthard in the standings -- Coulthard has 57 and Barrichello 54. Michael Schumacher, who clinched the 2001 title in Hungary, has 107.

If Barrichello overtakes Coulthard, Ferrari will finish 1-2 in the standings.

The next race is the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis on Sept. 30. The finale is the Japanese Grand Prix on Oct. 14.



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