ETCC: Brno: Volvo race report

Brno - 19th May 2002 Hanson scores first ETCC points Qualifying Both drivers excelled in qualifying yesterday. Rickard Rydell put the Volvo S60 on the front-row of the grid for the first time, just five hundreths of a second behind Giovanardi...

Brno - 19th May 2002

Hanson scores first ETCC points

Qualifying
Both drivers excelled in qualifying yesterday. Rickard Rydell put the Volvo S60 on the front-row of the grid for the first time, just five hundreths of a second behind Giovanardi in the Nordauto Alfa Romeo. James Hanson put in his best qualifying perfomance yet in the ETCC towards the end of the session to take fifth position on the grid - nine positions higher than at Magny Cours and Silverstone. He attributed the improvement to time in the car following a day testing at Silverstone last week from which he has gained confidence to push harder into corners and brake later.

Race One
Rickard Rydell No.60: Grid: 2nd Finish: Retired
James Hanson No.61: Grid: 5th Finish: 4th

After a fast start Rickard Rydell had an action packed first lap exchanging the lead several times with Giovanardi in the Nordauto Alfa Romeo. Whilst still on the first lap, Rydell pulled alongside Giovanardi on a straight. Rydell was still a half car length ahead of the Alfa, but Giovanardi pushed Rydell's Volvo S60 left rear with the front right of his car. The Volvo spun but Rydell kept the car moving to recover, albeit in last place. Before retiring to repair the damaged bodywork and check the set-up in time for race two, Rydell put in a fastest lap on lap 3.

James Hanson lost his advantage of fifth on the grid by making a slow start and dropped to thirteenth. In the first lap he regained three places and another two in the second lap leaving him in seventh position. Over the next four laps he overtook the BMWs of Jorg Muller and Peter Kox and the Alfa Romeo of Luis Villamil to lie in fourth place which he defended until he took the chequered flag and his first European Touring Car Championship points.

Classification - Race 1
1 - Fabrizio GIOVANARDI (Alfa - Team Nordauto)
2 - Dirk MULLER (BMW Team Deutschland)
3 - Nicola LARINI (Alfa - Team Nordauto)
4 - James HANSON (Volvo S60 Racing)
5 - Jorg MULLER (BMW Team Deutschland)
6 - Luis VILLAMIL (Alfa - Scuderia Bibazzi)

Race 2
Rickard Rydell No.60: Grid: 19th Finish: 6th
James Hanson No.61: Grid: 3rd Finish: 5th

As grid positions for race two are determined by finishing positions in race one, Rydell started from the back of the grid. Rydell's second race was a mission for points and a charge from 19th position though the field. He gained nine places on lap one and by lap seven had made sixth place which he held, finishing three seconds behind Hanson.

Hanson had a much better start than the first race. Villamil (Alfa Romeo) ran wide on the first chicane allowing Hanson and Larini (Alfa Romeo) to pass. Hanson then set his fasted lap of the weekend and second fastest in the race. Larini then took Hanson on a straight with a power advantage. Two laps later, with a little enthusiastic `racing incident' style contact, Giovanardi also passed leaving Hanson in fifth place. Hanson concentrated on staying with the BMWs & Alfas ahead and maintained pace to score another two championship points bringing his total to five.

Classification - Race 2
1 - Fabrizio GIOVANARDI (Alfa - Team Nordauto)
2 - Dirk MULLER (BMW Team Deutschland)
3 - Nicola LARINI (Alfa - Team Nordauto)
4 - Jorg MULLER (BMW Team Deutschland)
5 - James HANSON (Volvo S60 Racing)
6 - Rickard RYDELL (Volvo S60 Racing)

Rickard Rydell:

"I was taken out by Giovanardi. I got a better exit from a corner and was in front but he turned left to hit my rear which meant I spun. I'm disappointed with the decision of the stewards to take no action. I had hoped for a win or second in probably both races because the car was going so well and going as fast as the Alfas but Giovanardi prevented that. I wasn't happy for the second race because of the incident. All I could do was try for points. I drove as hard as I could and was pleased to get sixth position but it was hard work for one point. I'm very pleased for James and happy that we're close enough on the track to help each other."

James Hanson:

"It's good to get in the points and a real achievement to get two race finishes in the top six. The S60 has performed well and is really suited to this circuit with its stability round the fast corners. I'm testing again tomorrow so with more time in the car things can only improve. Having set the second fastest time in race two, I'm looking forward to Jarama."

Dave Benbow, Volvo S60 Racing Team manager:

"I'm very disappointed that no action appears to be being taken against driving tactics that led to Rickards retirement. If this kind of behaviour is not checked, I am seriously concerned that driving standards will degenerate to an unacceptable level. Rickard drove an excellent second race from last on the grid to score points and I feel the actions in race one deprived not only Rickard of points but also the spectators and viewers of an enthralling race.

"I'm exceptionally pleased that James' run of `bad luck' in the previous rounds appears to have come to an end. He's done an excellent job all weekend culminating in second fastest race lap in race 2. I'm looking forward to more points from him in Jarama."

Olle Odsell, Volvo motorsport director:

"I'm very happy for James this weekend with his good results and feel sorry for Rickard because he should have been on the podium for both races. He showed his ability to push the car and himself by setting that fastest lap after the accident. I'm also happy with the improvement of the performance of the cars. We can hopefully show more of that in Jarama."

The team has two weeks to before the next round of the ETCC at Jarama, Spain on June 2nd.

-volvo-

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About this article
Series General
Drivers Jorg Muller , Peter Kox , Rickard Rydell