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JULY 5, 2004

Meanwhile elsewhere in the world

While the Formula 1 circus was at Magny-Cours there were races going on around the world with a variety of F1 hopefuls pressing their claims for a chance to compete in the big time. In Japan Ulsterman Richard Lyons won the latest round of the Formula Nippon Championship and put himself back at the head of the points standings. The DoCoMo Dandelion team driver was in dominant form at Suzuka and led from start to finish, ending the day four-tenths ahead of France's Benoit Treluyer and his Mobilecast Team Impul team mateYuji Ide. as a result Lyons goes one points ahead of Andre Lotterer (PIAA Nakajima Racing) in the championship. Ide is third within striking distance while Treluyer is still not out of the picture.

The race was marked by a spectacular accident involving Ryo Michigami (Yellow Hat Kondo) who ran over the back of Toshihiro Kaneishi (5Zigen) as they braked for the final chicane and cartwheeled. Fortunately Michigami emerged unscathed from the heavy crash.

Over in America another F1 hopeful showed his paces in the annual Independence Day extravaganza at Cleveland, Sebastien Bourdais running away with his second consecutive victory on the airport circuit. The Frenchman took the lead after a first corner shunt wiped out poleman Paul Tracy and several others. Bourdais went on to win his third victory in five races but his Newman Haas team mate Bruno Junqueira still leads the Champ Car series thanks to four second places this year. Bourdais is only three points behind while the nearest challenger is Patrick Carpentier, who is now 25 points in arrears.

The crash also took out former F1 man Justin Wilson who had qualified second.

Former Jaguar Racing boss Bobby Rahal continues to enjoy success this year in the IRL with the Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice adding a second victory for the team in Kansas City, beating his Rahal team mate Vitor Meira by 0.0051s, the second closest finish in the history the series. IRL points leader Tony Kanaan was right with them and finished third while his Andretti Green team mates Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta in a race which was dominated by the Honda-engined cars.

At Magny-Cours Jamie Green showed his class by winning the Formula 3 Euroseries event on Saturday but was taken out of the second after an incident with Lewis Hamilton. The second event was won by Green's ASM team mate Alexandre Premat, who overtook Nico Rosberg (Opel Team Rosberg) when Rosberg made a mistake two laps before the end. Canada's Bruno Spengler came third, scoring his first podium finish of the year.

And down at Daytona, F1's latest new fan Jeff Gordon scored his second consecutive Nextel Cup race by taking the Pepsi Firecracker 400.