Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report
Centurions Left with Nothing to Celebrate

Sunday April 9th, 2000

Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Eddie Irvine began the day with reason to smile and plenty of ambition.

Both were lining up for their 100th Formula One race in Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix.

Briton Irvine celebrated with a public cake-cutting photocall after the morning warm-up -- his cake made in the shape of a helmet with a Jaguar motif on top.

He said, typically and simply, that he did not care much for such trivia and wanted a good race.

Alas, like Frentzen, he ended up frustrated.

German Frentzen, fast in the warm-up and filled by ambitions of scoring points, was forced to retire after only five laps.

"I had a gear-shift problem and I got stuck in sixth gear. I couldn't shift it down so I had no choice but to come into the pits.

"I don't know why but it didn't work out for me -- and the same thing happened to my team mate Jarno (Trulli)."

Irvine, who completed the race in seventh place, was at least able to draw some comfort from going the distance.

"For me, it was a pretty positive weekend even if the results don't suggest that," he said.

"The car felt much improved from Brazil and I was impressed with the pace I maintained. I had a battle with Trulli all the way though the race but I just couldn't get by and then when he dropped out I was able to go a lot faster. But it was too late to do much more."

Irvine said he also had a very bad start due to a clutch problem and this cost him points. "In this business, the start is everything," he said. "But it was fun -- the most fun I've had in a racing car for a long time."

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