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De Puniet now aiming for third place in the Championship

De Puniet now aiming for third place in the Championship

De Puniet now aiming for third place in the Championship

After his fifth position taken at the GP last weekend in Sepang, Randy de Puniet has had to realign his Championship goal for the short remainder of the 2003 campaign. The Frenchman, one of five riders who were in contention for the crown entering the final phase of the season, is the second candidate to fall by the wayside after Spaniard Fonsi Nieto, and now is looking at securing the number three plate over the next two races.

Since the German GP, the representative of the Safilo-Oxydo LCR team has taken a win and three third positions but after lowly results in the last two races at Motegi and Sepang, his title quest has all but evaporated. A victim of luck; in both GPs he was nursing a less than ideal physical condition. In Japan he was running with the pain and discomfort of a heavy crash during practice on Saturday and could only take sixth. At Sepang he was struck by a fever that affected his riding over the entire weekend and his high temperatures was made all the worse by humid and strength-sapping conditions.

"I had a really hard race," remarked the 22 year old. "Since the day before I felt ill, I had a fever and temperature of nearly 39º, and was really tired. Also the heat was really intense and made it twice as difficult. Halfway through the race I was having problems with my vision but I wanted to keep on pushing in the hope of taking some vital points for the Championship. I managed to grab fifth and now I have to look at 3rd overall in the classification. I hope that in Australia, in better circumstances, I might be able to return to the podium.".

De Puniet is currently fourth in the 250 series, 18 points behind Elías and Rolfo, and 43 away from leader Manuel Poggiali, with only 50 points left to fight for.

250cc, 2003

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