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Webber 'gutted' after Jaguars collide

Alan Baldwin | October 25, 2004 12:05 IST

Jaguar bowed out of Formula One with a bang on Sunday after both their cars collided at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

The incident, on the 24th of 71 laps on a damp Interlagos track, dumped Australian Mark Webber out of the race while Austrian rookie Christian Klien limped back to the pits and eventually finished 14th.

"Christian turned into me, really," said a downcast Webber. "Unbelievable, but that's what happens in motorsport.

"He's apologised, it happens. It's just not the right day for it to happen really. You don't want to finish the season like that."

The team are up for sale, with no buyer announced yet and what looks like being a critical week ahead of them, after owners Ford said they were quitting Formula One.

In five seasons, Jaguar managed just two podiums -- both by Briton Eddie Irvine --- in 85 starts.

Webber, who is moving to Williams for 2005, had hoped to bring down the curtain in Formula One with a scoring finish.

"It was a very sad way to end because I know he (Webber) absolutely wanted to finish on a high note...It wasn't to be and he is gutted and so is everybody really," said team boss Tony Purnell.

Webber had the inside line into the first corner but Klien appeared to turn into him on a damp and bumpy surface.

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"Christian said he didn't see him," said team manager Dave Pitchforth. "Mark had got the line and was meant to be overtaking Christian. Christian was struggling with understeer so needed a flap adjustment anyway."

However despite the accident they retained seventh place in the championship, a point ahead of Toyota.

"We've got our seventh position which is what we wanted but we used luck rather than our skill today because we would have beaten the Toyotas handsomely," said Pitchforth as mechanics packed up around him.

The team have kept up their spirits by taking an inflatable donkey with them to all the races since Ford announced the pull-out, photographing it around the paddock.

On Sunday before the race, when drivers gathered for an end of season group photograph, it was placed in Michael Schumacher's front row place when Ferrari's world champion was late in turning up.

"I think they've done a great job in very difficult circumstances and it's only in the last half hour since the race finished that you can see realisation and their chins are dropping a bit," said Pitchforth of his team.

"But up until this race everyone has been absolutely going for it and that's the thing that's been the most amazing to me.

"That's it for Jaguar Racing. We'll have to see what rises out of it."

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