EU V6: Imola preview

After a well-needed break of over a month, the teams and drivers taking part in the LG Super Racing Weekend series will head for new territory : the 'Enzo e Dino Ferrari' circuit in Imola, Italy, which will host a round of the multi-platform...

After a well-needed break of over a month, the teams and drivers taking part in the LG Super Racing Weekend series will head for new territory : the 'Enzo e Dino Ferrari' circuit in Imola, Italy, which will host a round of the multi-platform series for the very first time. The circuit, located to the east of Bologna, hosts the San Marino Formula One Grand Prix every year. It is 4930 metres long, with evocative corner names such as Tamburello, Acque Minerali and Rivazza. This will be the second Italian round this year, after the first round of the season was held at Monza, near Milan, back in April.

The Formula Renault F6 Eurocup could hardly be closer. With six races remaining, the top four in the classification are only separated by ten points. With Spa seeing two pole positions, a win and a second place for Switzerland's Neel Jani, he has closed up to within ten points of joint leaders, Ryan Sharp and Giorgio Mondini, who are in turn just one point ahead of double Donington winner Andrea Belicchi. Five Italian drivers will be taking part in the Imola rounds, as well as Christian Montanari from San Marino; there are also five Italian teams taking part : EuroInternational, Avellon, AFC Motorsport, Victory Engineering and Cram Competition, ensuring an action-packed weekend.

Other races this weekend include two rounds of the Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup, the Trofeo Maserati, and the last two rounds of the 2004 European Alfa Challenge.

IMOLA ACCORDING TO MASERATI'S ANDREA BERTOLINI

Photo 4 Andrea Bertolini, 30 years old, has been racing in the Championship since 2001. His rapid progress and the impressive results he scored in a relatively short racing career meant that he received the LG Super Racing Weekend 'Driver Performance of the Year' award last year. With four victories for JMB Racing last season, as well as four pole positions, he finished fourth in the N-GT drivers' classification. He has been a test driver for the Maserati this year, and after competing for GPC Giesse at Spa, will race the MC12 alongside Mika Salo at Imola.

"The Imola track is very technical for the drivers, and Friday's work on the set-up will be crucial to find the best compromise in terms of balancing the car, and also in order to choose the tyres for the race. If it is likely to be hot, as well as the tyres, it will also be necessary to work on saving the brakes. The circuit's most interesting corners are the Piratella and the Acque Minerali, but I think that it will be possible to see a lot of overtaking under braking at the Rivazza and the Variante Bassa. For us, Maserati drivers, it will be a special weekend. Not only because this is our home race track, just a few kilometres away from the Maserati factory, but also because this will the car's maiden race after eight months of testing and developments."

Circuit length : 4930 m
Location : 30 km east of Bologna

Two races in Imola, two in Oschersleben and two in Dubai. Ten points separating the top four drivers : Sharp, Mondini, Belicchi and Jani. Just behind them, a number of other drivers who can still join the fight for the title, such as Bell or Montanari. The final months of the Formula Renault F6 Eurocup look sure to be close and exciting.

FIVE ITALIANS ON THE GRID
Renault Sport Five Italian drivers will take part in the Imola rounds of the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup. Giorgio Mondini and Stefano Proetto will be driving for EuroInternational; Bellarosa will compete for Avellon, while Andrea Belicchi and Meneghello will line up for AFC Motorsport. As for Christian Montanari, he is from San Marino, and Imola hosts the San Marino Formula One Grand Prix every year. Therefore, there will be plenty of national pride at stake around the prestigious circuit.

SHARP AND MONDINI IN THE LEAD
Renault Sport Having led the Eurocup for much of the season, before losing the advantage at home in Donington, Ryan Sharp regained the lead at Spa. With more second places than Giorgio Mondini, he currently has a slender advantage over the Italian, who has scored the same number of points : 185. Sharp was victorious at Monza in the first meeting, but had not managed to step up to the top of the podium until his solid performance in Spa. Having tasted victory again, he is now in fine form for the rest of the season. As for Mondini, who won both Magny-Cours rounds, the Swiss-based Italian driver is on the pace and is still quite calm. It is sure to be an interesting end to the season. With Belicchi one point behind them, and Jani ten, the suspense is guaranteed.

BELICCHI : DIFFERENT YEARS, DIFFERENT RACES
Renault Sport In October 2003, Andrea Belicchi won the first race at Spa -- and then left the Ardennes in a hurry, in order to get married. Last month, he was third in the first race -- but finished the second race in the hospital, after a heavy crash during the second race, caused by a tyre problem, sent him into the tyre barriers at high speed. With concussion, he was rushed to the Liège hospital, and was unable to defend his position as leader of the Eurocup. A month later, he is fully recovered, and lying just one point behind Mondini and Sharp, he is fully prepared to rejoin the battle for the title.

JANI LIKES SPA
Renault Sport For Neel Jani, Spa was an almost perfect weekend, and the Swiss driver has now practically caught up with the leaders, after a difficult start to the season, and he is now just ten points behind the leaders. But there is still a long was before the final chequered flag of the season falls in Dubai, on October 8th. Jani is still very calm. "I was unlucky, and finally, things have improved. I am taking each race as it comes, and we will see what happens... But everything is still open as far as the title is concerned."

-renault/lgsrw-

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Mika Salo , Christian Montanari , Neel Jani , Andrea Bertolini , Ryan Sharp , Giorgio Mondini , Andrea Belicchi