NOVEMBER 7, 2004
Lyons is Formula Nippon Champion!
British driver Richard Lyons has won the Formula Nippon title at Suzuka, despite finishing only third in the final round of the series behind the Mobilecast Impul team duo of Benoit Treluyer and Yuji Ide. Lyons was on pole and led the early part of the race but a mid-race pit stop problem dropped him behind Treluyer. Ide fell behind Lyons despite this and came charging back and in the end Lyons decided to let the Japanese driver through. Ide had to win to have any chance of the title but with Lyons third the Japanese driver had nothing to gain unless he took Lyons off.
Ide then chased after Treluyer but was still second at the finish.
Andre Lotterer, the man who started the day leading the championship, ended up seventh without any points and so Lyons won the title, his four points moving him to points and equalling Lotterer's score. Lyons wins the title because the count back of points revealed that the two men had exactly the same results with two wins, a second, a third and a fourth. Lyons thus wins the title because he was the first man to win a race: he won the second race of the year; Lotterer won the third. A total of six drivers won races with Lyons, Lotterer and Treluyer each scoring two wins and Ide, Satoshi Motoyama and Takashi Kogure winning one each.
"Three years ago, when I first started with the DoCoMo Dandelion team, we were qualifying at the back, and just scoring an occasional point was the goal," said Lyons. "This year we were able to go for a title challenge. This title is the most important one I have won so far."
Lyons hopes to be able to use success in Formula Nippon to launch himself into F1. He is the second British driver in three years to win the Nippon title, the first being Ralph Firman in 2002.
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