ETCC: Estoril race one, two notes

RYAN SHARP WINS THE FIA EUROPEAN SUPER 2000 CUP ALEXANDER LVOV IS TSAR OF SUPER PRODUCTION Ryan Sharp and Alexander Lvov were the winners of the 2006 FIA European Touring Car Cup in the Super 2000 and the Super Production class ...

RYAN SHARP WINS THE FIA EUROPEAN SUPER 2000 CUP
ALEXANDER LVOV IS TSAR OF SUPER PRODUCTION

Ryan Sharp and Alexander Lvov were the winners of the 2006 FIA European Touring Car Cup in the Super 2000 and the Super Production class respectively. The two races of the event's second edition were run under torrential rain on a soaked Estoril track. However 25,000 spectators braved the weather and gathered on the grandstand cheering at the drivers' evolutions.

Ryan Sharp, 27 years old from Scotland, dominated both the S2000 races at the wheel of his SEAT León car run by GR Asia. A major achievement for this young driver on his first touring car season, and the second one of the season for the team directed by Paul Ridgway who have already claimed the FIA WTCC's Independents' Trophy with Tom Coronel.

The team's other driver today, the young Irishman Emmet O'Brien, completed their triumph with a brilliant second place, while experienced Swede Tomas Engström achieved an excellent third position in his Honda Accord.

The Super Production Cup was won by Alexander Lvov of Golden Motors. At the wheel of his Honda Civic, the 34 year old Russian proved to be the fastest and most consistent SP driver in the wet. Second place went to his fellow countryman Timur Sadredinov, who is only 17 years old. Janis Horeliks from Latvia, a representative of the Baltic Touring Car Championship, snatched third place in his old Honda Integra.

The first Nations' Cup was awarded to MSA, Great Britain's National Sporting Authority, that edged Sweden's SBF by two points.

RACE 1 SHARP DOMINATES IN THE FLOOD
Weather: rainy; track: wet

Ryan Sharp and Emmet O'Brien secured a 1-2 for GR Asia behind the wheels of their SEAT León cars. Félix Porteiro claimed the final podium position for BMW Team Italy-Spain in his first touring car race. Alex Zanardi, who started from pole eventually finished fourth.

In the Super Production class Russians Alexander Lvov and Timur Sadredinov achieved a 1-2 while Raimo Kulli from Estonia took the chequered flag third. Andrey Romanov was due to start from pole but he stalled at the start of the formation lap and therefore began from the back of the grid.

The SEAT starts left them with work to do. On the contrary, Porteiro shot from 3rd to 2nd behind his team-mate Zanardi. Sharp soon rectified the situation however by re-claiming 2nd spot on the inside of turn 13. SP competitiors Vadim Kuzminykh and Sergey Krylov made contact in lap 1 which put them both out of contention. Because of their collision the safety car was dispatched on lap two and stayed out for two laps. At the re-start Sharp managed to hold 2nd position and overtook lead man Zanardi at turn 1. This left Zanardi and Porteiro side by side but no contact ensued. On lap 5 Robin Rudholm from West Coast Racing was close to Porteiro but he couldn't mount a serious challenge. On the same lap Portuguese driver, Miguel Freitas, made contact with Sadredinov and Lvov who were fighting for 2nd position in the SP class. Freitas tried to rejoin but spun and went into the gravel. Lap 7 saw O'Brien begin his journey to the podium. He overtook Rudholm for 4th at turn 1. At this stage, the top three SP drivers, Kulli, Lvov and Sadredinov crossed the line within two seconds of each other.

On the next lap Zanardi made a mistake and as result he dropped to 3rd before being overtaken by O'Brien on the straight. The Irishman then proceeded to claim 2nd position from Porteiro two laps later, again at turn 1.

Carl Rosenblad drove well to finish 8th after starting 15th on the grid. He began Race 2 from pole on the reverse grid.

RACE 2 ENCORE FOR SHARP AND LVOV
Weather: rainy; track: wet

In a replica of Race 1 Ryan Sharp and Emmet O'Brien crossed the line 1st and 2nd. Tomas Engström was the 3rd man to take the flag at the wheel of his Honda Accord Euro-R.

In the SP category Alexander Lvov claimed his second win of the day and finished 10th overall after a fight with Raimo Kulli; on the last lap they collided and Kulli went off. Stefano Valli claimed second place with Timur Sadredinov coming home third.

At the start the Alfa Romeo of Mattias Anderson struggled to get off the line. As a consequence the Swede dropped from 2nd to 4th into the first corner. Alessandro Zanardi had promoted himself to 2nd by this point but it was short lived as the Italian went wide and dropped down to 9th. Also in lap 1, Mikhail Ukhov went off but the Russian re-gained several positions to finish 9th overall.

Zanardi's bad luck continued in lap 2 when he stopped his car at the side of the track and retired. Meanwhile Sharp and O'Brien overtook Robin Rudholm to take 5th and 6th positions. Engström and Rosenblad were engaged in a fight for the lead but it was the former who managed to take command.

By lap 3 a pack had formed containing Félix Porteiro, Sharp and Anderson. Sharp squeezed past Anderson for 3rd and despite attempting the same move, Porteiro was unsuccessful and dropped down to 7th. One lap later and the Spaniard retired in the pits.

Sharp and O'Brien both gained a position in lap 4 by overtaking Rosenblad and Andersson respectively. When O'Brien then passed Rosenblad the pair had Engström in their sights. It was on lap 7 that both GR Asia men overtook the Swede.

Philip Geipel, who was running an impressive 6th made a mistake on lap 9 and became stranded in the gravel. On the previous lap, the same thing happened to Vladimir Labazov and on lap 10 Alexey Dudukalo also suffered the same fate.

-credit: fia-etc

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Series General
Drivers Alex Zanardi , Tom Coronel , Carl Rosenblad , Robin Rudholm , Felix Porteiro , Ryan Sharp , Tomas Engstrom , Stefano Valli , Miguel Freitas , Emmet O'Brien , Andrey Romanov , Philip Geipel , Alexander Lvov , Aleksey Dudukalo