ETCC: Monza preview

35 cars will line up on the grid at Monza for the opening rounds of the new FIA European Touring Car Championship. Eleven reigning or former national Touring Car champions will be taking part. Nineteen cars will be competing in the Super Touring...

35 cars will line up on the grid at Monza for the opening rounds of the new FIA European Touring Car Championship. Eleven reigning or former national Touring Car champions will be taking part. Nineteen cars will be competing in the Super Touring Championship, with six different manufacturers represented : Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Honda, Nissan and Volvo. Nordauto's Fabrizio Giovanardi - twice Italian champion and winner of the 2000 European Super Touring Cup -- will be the man to beat in his Alfa Romeo 156. His main rivals are his teammate Nicola Larini, who won the Italian Championship in 1992 and the German DTM series in 1993, JAS Honda's Gabriele Tarquini, winner of the 1994 BTCC, AGS's Roberto Colciago, who won last year's Monza Euro STC round and Volvo's Jan Nilsson, who has twice won the Swedish Championship. In the "Am" (Gentlemen Drivers) class, competitors include former French champion Eric Cayrolle, driving a BMW, Sandro Sardelli's Nissan Primera and Enrico Toccacelo's Conrero Alfa 156. The STC competitors will take part in two 50-km races. The starting grid for the second race will be determined by the final results of the first race, with the cars in reverse order. Sixteen cars will compete in the Super Production Championship. BMW cars will make up a large part of the grid, with drivers including former Dutch champion and 2000 Euro STC runner-up Peter Kox, former Formula One driver Gianni Morbidelli, 2000 Dutch champion Duncan Huisman and young German Norman Simon. Also taking part will be Norwegian Tommy Rustad, winner of the 2000 Swedish Championship, driving a Nissan Primera, and former Spanish champion Luis Villamil in an Alfa Romeo 156. In the class for drivers aged under 25, Simon will be challenged by James Hanson and Tom Ferrier, driving for BMW Edenbridge, and by Fulvio Cavicchi and Tobia Masini, both in Alfa Romeos. The Super Production Championship competitors will contest a single 70-km race.

Conrero completes Alfa Romeo's STC line-up Nordauto has appointed the Conrero team to run two Alfa Romeo 156s in the FIA European Super Touring Car Championship. The Turin-based team is very experienced in Touring Car racing, having run an Opel works team in the Spanish Championship for several years. Two Italian drivers will race the two Alfas : Enrico Toccacelo, a runner-up in the 1999 Italian F3 Championship, and Ettore Bonaldi, who took part in the 2000 FIA International Special Car Series with a Conrero BMW M3 Group N. Gianluca De Lorenzi, team owner of GDL Racing, who had originally planned to enter the cars, has bought the former Isert BMW 320i, and will drive it in the Super Touring Championship.

Max Team enters STC with BMW Italian Max Team has entered two BMW 320is in the FIA European Super Touring Championship. These cars were previously raced by Naspetti and Morbidelli in the 2000 European Super Touring Cup. Max Team was founded three years ago by Massimiliano Crinelli, and has been successful in the Italian Group N Championship. It has also competed in various international races, such as the 24 Hours of Spa with a BMW M3. The team's regular driver, 26-year old Paolo Zadra from Milan, will drive one of the BMWs. His team-mate will be 39-year old Eric Cayrolle. The experienced Frenchman won the French Super Touring Championship in 1996, 1997 and 1998, finishing in second place in 1999 and fourth last season, totaling 38 wins for BMW over five seasons.

Bigazzi confirms two cars for the SPC Scuderia Bigazzi will be entering two Alfa Romeo 156s in the FIA European Super Production Championship. The drivers will be the experienced Spanish driver Luis Villamil and young Italian Tobia Masini. The Italian team, owned by Aldo Bigazzi and his son Paolo, has a long tradition in Touring Car competition, having officially represented BMW Motorsport for eight years, winning three editions of the Spa 24 Hours (1992, 1994 and 1996) and a number of races in the German and Italian Touring Car Championships. The ETCC programme brings the team back to its roots, having competed in the European Touring Car Championship in 1984 and 1985. At that time, Aldo Bigazzi raced Alfetta Gtvs, and won two consecutive manufacturers titles for Alfa Romeo. Villamil won the Spanish Touring Car Championship in 1988 and 1995, driving an Alfa Romeo. More recently he won the 1999 Italian Super Production Championship with a Bigazzi Alfa 156. Tobia Masini was impressive in his first Touring Car season, winning three rounds of the 2000 British National Saloon Championship at the wheel of a Honda Integra, finishing third overall.

A third BMW for Carly Motors in the SPC Carly Motors has entered a third car in the FIA European Super Production Championship. The Dutch team, which had announced that it would enter two BMW 320is for Swedish veteran Per Gunnar Andersson and current Dutch Touring Car champion Duncan Huisman, will line up a third car to be shared by a number of Belgian drivers. The programme, backed by BMW Belgium, will see different Belgian drivers share the wheel of the 320i. Among those selected are Frederic Bouvy, who won the 1999 Belgian Touring Car Championship in a Peugeot, and Jean-Michel Martin, four times winner of the Spa 24 Hours. Guino Kenis, a former Nissan driver in the Belgian Touring Car Championship, will drive the third Carly car at Monza.

LAST MINUTE : TWO NEW ENTRIES IN THE FIA SUPER PRODUCTION CHAMPIONSHIP AT MONZA !
22 : SCUDERIA VEREGRA : Riccardo Tarabelli (ITA) : Peugeot 306 Gti
23 : SCUDERIA VEREGRA : Giacomo Bertola (ITA) : Alfa Romeo 156

<pre> Circuit Length : 5793m/3.599 miles

GT on TV : Eurosport Super Racing Weekend Saturday, 31st March 2001 16:00 -- 17:30 : Monza Qualifying live Sunday 1st April 2001 13:30 -- 16:30 : Monza Races live Tuesday 3rd April 2001 18:00 -- 19:00 : Monza Highlights Wednesday 4th April 2001 10:30 -- 11:30 : Monza Highlights, repeat

Timetable Friday 30 March 2001

10.15-10.45 : Renault Formula 2000 Eurocup : Free Practice 1 11.00-12.30 : FIA GT Championship : Free Practice 1 14.00-14.30 : Renault Formula 2000 Eurocup : Free Practice 2 15.00-16.30 : FIA GT Championship : Free Practice 2 16.45-17.15 : Renault Formula 2000 Eurocup : Qualifying 1

Saturday 31 March 2001 09.00-09.15 : FIA European Super Production Championship : Free Practice 1 09.30-09.45 : FIA European Super Touring Championship : Free Practice 1 10.00-10.30 : Renault Formula 2000 Eurocup : Qualifyng 2 10.45-11.15 : FIA European Super Production Championship : Free Practice 2 11.30-12.15 : FIA GT Championship : Qualifying 1 12.30-13.00 : FIA European Super Touring Championship : Free Practice 2 14.00-14.30 : FIA European Super Production Championship : Qualifying 15.00-15.30 : Renault Formula 2000 Eurocup : RACE 16.00-16.30 : FIA GT Championship Qualifying : Super Pole 16.30-16.45 : FIA GT Championship : Qualifying 17.00-17.30 : FIA European Super Touring Championship : Qualifying

Sunday 1 April 2001 09.00-09.15 : FIA European Super Touring Championship : Warm Up 09.15-09.30 : FIA European Super Production Championship : Warm Up 09.30-09.45 : FIA GT Championship : Warm up 10.30-11.00 : FIA European Super Touring Championship : RACE 1 11.40-14.40 : FIA GT Championship : RACE 15.05-15.30 : FIA European Super Touring Championship : RACE 2 15.50-16.25 : FIA European Super Production Championship : RACE

-ETCC

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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Norman Simon , Peter Kox , Bonaldi Ettore , Eric Cayrolle , Duncan Huisman , Gianni Morbidelli , Gabriele Tarquini , Jean-Michel Martin , Nicola Larini , Roberto Colciago , Guino Kenis , Tom Ferrier , Tommy Rustad