ETCC: Cerklje qualifying report

EURO STC QUALIFYING - weather: rainy, track: wet, temperature 15C. Taking advantage of the slippery and tricky conditions of the track, Roberto Colciago snatched his first Euro STC pole position. The qualifying session was red-flagged three ...

EURO STC QUALIFYING - weather: rainy, track: wet, temperature 15C.

Taking advantage of the slippery and tricky conditions of the track, Roberto Colciago snatched his first Euro STC pole position. The qualifying session was red-flagged three minutes before the end, after Fabrizio De Simone's terrific shunt. Taken to the hospital, the Italian driver was suddenly released with only an aching back.

Rain soaked the new Slovenian track and forced the organizers to cancel the free practice session. In the afternoon, weather conditions improved a bit and the 20-minute qualifying session started as scheduled.

Since the first laps Colciago and BMW's Emanuele Naspetti proved the fastest drivers on the track and they stole the pole each other several times, until the AGS Motorsport man set a 1:07.673 just before the red flag.

"Those were the best conditions for my 4-wheel-drive Audi - Colciago commented - and I should have been very disappointed if I had not taken the pole".

Naspetti and team mate Gianni Morbidelli obtained 2nd and 3rd spots of the grid respectively. It was a kind of surprise, because normally BMWs are not that good in the wet.

"We did a very good job in setting-up - Naspetti said - and our cars proved very well balanced. I'm confident we can be competitive in the race as well; I'm really in anger to score my first win of the season".

Championship leader Fabrizio Giovanardi and his rival Peter Kox, didn't shine as usual, claiming 8th and 9th times for the starting grid.

"After the morning warm-up - Giovanardi revealed - I made some changes in the car's set-up. I couldn't verify them, as free practice was cancelled and they proved totally wrong in qualifying, but it was too late to go back. I was bit of a lucky, because Kox didn't go much faster than me".

"I think this track doesn't suit very much to my car in particular and to the front-wheel-drive in general. The changeable weather made everything even more difficult", the Dutchman said.

Gianluca Roda didn't take part in the session because of transmission problems; he will start from the last spot of the grid. Stefano Gabellini spun halfway through the qualifying and failed to restart with a flat battery.

A couple of local drivers joined the European Super Touring Cup for its final race meeting. Slovenian Super Touring champion Misel Zupancic and Yugoslav Tanasije Kuvalja will make the field tomorrow, in 14 th and 17 th positions respectively; both are at the wheel of BMW 318is.

DE SIMONE ESCAPES TO 120 KMH SHUNT

It was a sweet and sour afternoon for AGS Motorsport, as Colciago's pole was obscured by his teammate's dramatic shunt. Fabrizio De Simone had just obtained the 5th time in the session, when he lost his car at the braking of a 90-degree bend.

David Leslie, whose car had stopped shortly before after a spin, witnessed the accident: "De Simone steered too much to the left and he started braking on the dirt side of the track that was bloody slippery. His car slid straight, out of control, on locked wheels; it t-boned the concrete wall, took off and landed on its roof".

Rescued by the marshals, De Simone was driven to the hospital, but one hour afterwards he was back at the track. "I'm OK - he said - and I could even race tomorrow if the car wasn't damaged as much".

On the straight at whose end De Simone crashed, drivers shift up to 5th gear before shifting down to second; it was estimated the Audi hit the wall at a speed of 120 kmh.

GIOVANARDI GAINS 3 POINTS ON APPEAL

Gap in the championship classification between Giovanardi and Kox increased by 3 points following the appeal against the penalty the Italian was given in the 16th round of the series at Brno. Then, Giovanardi classified 5 th, but later was penalized by 19 seconds and pushed down to 9 th for overtaking Kox under yellow flags.

At the eve of the series finale, the tribunal discussed the appeal and recognized the extenuating circumstances to the Italian driver, because the marshals were not waiving flags in a totally visible position. Thus his penalty has been reduced from 19 to 15 seconds and he has been classified 7 th in the race.

As a result, Giovanardi gained 2 points, while Kox, reinstated in his original 9 th position, lost 1. The gap between the two of them has increased from 15 to 18 points.

New championship classification: 1. Giovanardi 245 pts; 2. Kox 227; 3. Morbidelli 179; 4. Larini 168; 5. Naspetti 160; 6. Colciago 134.

<pre> QUALIFYING RESULTS

1. Roberto Colciago (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 1:07.673 106.659 kmh

2. Emanuele Naspetti (I) CiBiEmme Engineering BMW 320i E36 1:08.608 + 0.935

3. Gianni Morbidelli CiBiEmme Engineering BMW 320i E36 1:09.251 + 1.578

4. Nicola Larini (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 1:09.397 + 1.724

5. Fabrizio De Simone (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 1:09.794 + 2.121

6. Gabriele Tarquini (I) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 1:09.947 + 2.274

7. Gianluca De Lorenzi (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 1:10.523 + 2.850

8. Peter Kox (NL) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 1:10.614 + 2.941

9. Fabrizio Giovanardi (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 1:10.693 + 3.020

10. Massimo Pigoli (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 1:11.094 + 3.421

11. David Leslie (GB) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 1:11.198 + 3.525

12. Stefano Gabellini (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 1:12.428 + 4.755

13. Moreno Soli (I) Soli Racing Team Alfa Romeo 156 1:12.709 + 5.036

14. Misel Zupancic (SLO) Plantex Sport BMW 318is E36 1:13.608 + 5.935

15. Heinrich Symanzick (D) Raceline Racing Team Opel Vectra 16V 1:14.201 + 6.528

16. Romana Bernardoni (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 1:14.258 + 6.585

17. Tanasije Kuvalja (YU) Tanasije Kuvalja BMW 318is E36 1:19.180 + 11.507

18. Gianluca Roda (I) Greyhound Motorsport Opel Vectra 16V no time

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About this article
Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Peter Kox , David Leslie , Emanuele Naspetti , Gianni Morbidelli , Gabriele Tarquini , Nicola Larini , Roberto Colciago , Stefano Gabellini , Gianluca Roda