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Trulli triumphs in Monaco

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May 23, 2004 19:40 IST

Renault's Jarno Trulli won a Monaco Grand Prix thriller on Sunday as Michael Schumacher's perfect start to the Formula One season ended with a crash in the darkness of a tunnel.

Schumacher, Ferrari's six-times champion seeking his sixth successive win and sixth Monaco success, was a mere bystander as Italian Trulli swept through to take the chequered flag for his first win in 117 starts.

Briton Jenson Button was second in a BAR, just 0.4 of a second behind Trulli after a tight duel through the streets over the closing laps.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello was third for Ferrari ahead of Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya for Williams.

Trulli's victory from pole position ended Ferrari's remarkable run of eight wins in a row and was the Italian team's first defeat since last August when Spaniard Fernando Alonso won in Hungary for Renault.

Schumacher crashed in the tunnel on lap 47 while following directly behind the safety car which had been called out for the second time after Alonso spun into the guardrail at the same spot five laps previously.

The German, leading the race after Trulli had pitted, appeared to brake suddenly and then make contact with Montoya's Williams.

The crippled Ferrari emerged into the light with no front wing, a damaged nose cone and the left front wheel dangling uselessly at an angle.

It was the first time Schumacher, dominant in the previous races of the year, had failed to finish since the Brazilian Grand Prix of April last year.

Brazilian Felipe Massa was fifth for Sauber, compatriot Cristiano da Matta took Toyota's first points of the season in sixth with Germany's Nick Heidfeld putting Jordan on the scoresheet in seventh.

France's Olivier Panis, the 1996 winner in a Ligier, was eighth for Toyota.

Renault might have had a one-two finish, Trulli and Alonso running together until the Spaniard crashed.

The safety car was first called out after just three laps when the BAR of Japanese Takuma Sato suffered a blown engine, leading to mayhem behind him as cars braked into a cloud of smoke.

Italian Giancarlo Fisichella was lucky to emerge unscathed when his Sauber was pitched upside down against the barriers at Tabac corner after slamming into the back of David Coulthard's McLaren.

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