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Trulli special in Monaco

By Associated Press
Published May 24, 2004

MONTE CARLO, Monaco - Formula One can count on this much: Michael Schumacher will not win every race this season.

After starting the season with five consecutive victories, Schumacher's commanding run ended Sunday with a crash at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Jarno Trulli earned his first F1 victory on a day when Schumacher fell out with a wheel dangling from his damaged red Ferrari.

Trulli had the pole for the first time and posted his first victory in 119 Grand Prix races.

"It's amazing," the Italian said. "I won in Monaco, the best race probably in the world."

He led from the start and held off a late surge from runnerup Jenson Button, winning by half a second.

Schumacher was trying to better Nigel Mansell's 1992 record start of five straight victories. But Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya touched as they were following the safety car that came out after Renault's Fernando Alonso crashed on Lap 42.

Montoya, who was behind, said Schumacher slammed his brakes. He, too, braked his Williams-BMW to avoid him, but the race leader "came in straight where I was.

"I tried to avoid him as much as I could," said Montoya, who has had run-ins before with the German. "I put the car against the wall. Where else am I supposed to go? Over the wall, just to let Michael by?"

Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn said Schumacher was hit by Montoya from behind, which the Williams driver disputed. Stewards spoke to both drivers but took no action.

"I was taken out by a lapped car," Schumacher said. "Those are the circumstances and they are not very nice."

He added that he was "pretty sure" Montoya's actions were not deliberate and the Colombian was "just being silly."

Trulli, the first Italian to win in Monaco in 22 years, completed 77 laps of the 2.076-mile circuit in 1 hour, 45 minutes, 46.601 seconds, averaging 90.665 mph.

CHAMP CARS: Sebastien Bourdais beat fellow Newman Haas driver Bruno Junqueira by 3.852 seconds to win the Monterrey Grand Prix in Mexico.

Bourdais led 43 of 72 laps, setting a course record for fastest lap on the tight, winding, 2.104-mile road course at Fundidora Park.

"I think it was a good race between me and Sebastien," Junqueira said. "I passed him on the first pit stop and he passed me on the second."

Fan favorite Mario Dominguez of Mexico City finished 5.209 seconds behind Bourdais, taking third.

Organizers said more than 183,000 turned out during the weekend. Record-setting crowds of more than 400,000 showed for races here and in Mexico City last season. This year's Monterrey attendance might have been hurt by the absence of Mexican Adrian Fernandez, who defected to the rival Indy Racing League in March.

NHRA: Doug Kalitta made the quickest Top Fuel pass ever at the Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill. Kalitta covered the quarter-mile in 4.420 seconds at 328.22 mph to beat Brandon Bernstein. John Force (4.752 seconds, 325.30 mph) beat Whit Bazemore in the Funny Car final. Other winners were Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Shawn Gann (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

[Last modified May 24, 2004, 01:00:32]

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