ETCC: Monza qualifying and race report

Roberto Colciago scored Audi's first win in the European Super Touring Cup. Peter Kox collected his fourth success and regained the series' leadership. Alfa Romeos lived a nightmare weekend on their homeground. BMW pilots probably threw away ...

Roberto Colciago scored Audi's first win in the European Super Touring Cup. Peter Kox collected his fourth success and regained the series' leadership. Alfa Romeos lived a nightmare weekend on their homeground. BMW pilots probably threw away their first win for not risking slicks. Amateur driver Guido Lucchetti played the tyres gamble and obtained his first Super Touring podium; a great result for his small team.

All this and much more happened in Monza, where Euro STC ran its 7th and 8th rounds. After a great deal of amazing events, Monza crowned Colciago and Kox. The latest now leads the classification by 1 point to Giovanardi. "I really wanted to score two results in the weekend - the Dutchman said - and I'm quite happy it helped me to move back to the series' leadership. I should have tried to attack Colciago in race-one, but I didn't want to take any risks and I settled in second".

Monza homeboy Colciago was particularly happy. "I really wanted to win this one. The weather gave me a big hand and we did what we had to do: going to slicks. It was paying and I wish to dedicate this win to the guys of AGS Motorsport, who definitely deserved this win".

QUALIFYING. Peter Kox proved himself as Euro STC's "Lord of the pole", setting again the fastest lap in qualifying at Monza, for the third time in four meetings. Though his best qualifying time of 1:53.318 didn't match those set in free practices (1:52.783). "I broke the front splitter jumping over the kerbs of the first chicane at the beginning of my qualifying lap. I thought that time wasn't enough for the pole; I expected Giovanardi could beat it and I was keeping ready for another try". And Fabrizio Giovanardi tried really hard but on his last flying lap went off the line at the first Lesmo bend, his car sled and he was great in keeping control with all four wheels in the gravel, well beyond the kerbs. But his try was aborted and he settled second, one tenth behind Kox. A disappointed Nicola Larini was third on the grid. "I don't know what - he said - but there was something wrong with my car and I didn't have enough speed". Emanuele Naspetti qualified fourth at the wheel of his BMW. "We have worked a lot to reduce downforce and our car proved very fast on the straight. Indeed, in the latest year, we were never as close here to the Alfas". Homeboy Roberto Colciago grabbed fifth time in qualifying, just 23 thousandths of a second slower than Naspetti. Quite a good result for his Audi A4 Quattro.

RACE-ONE. The rain has stopped falling, but the track was still damp. Team managers and drivers racked their brains over tyres choice. Kox and Colciago went for slicks, imitated by Lucchetti, Soli, Dziurka and Bonello. At the start Naspetti took the lead, while Morbidelli span after a clash with Colciago. De Lorenzi bumped Larini off and the latest pitted to change to slicks. As the track dried up, Colciago and Kox rushed to overtake Giovanardi first and Naspetti afterwards. Colciago increased his margin to Kox, while Lucchetti made a great recovery, climbing up positions lap after lap. He passed Gabellini, Pigoli and Morbidelli, clinching 6th place; then dived inside De Lorenzi and Giovanardi, moving to 4th. In the final lap Lucchetti even managed to get Naspetti, obtaining a totally unexpected but well deserved podium position.

Soli provided another surprise, overtaking De Lorenzi and catching Giovanardi for 5th; but Alfa Romeo ace maintained the position in the final rush. Teammates Pigoli and Gabellini clashed at the Parabolica, slipping outside the points; while Roda got a stop-and-go penalty for hitting Dziurka. Indeed it was a clerk of the course's mistake, because the Polish had been pushed off by Bonello.

RACE-TWO. Colciago flashed into the lead at the start, but he was soon overtaken by Naspetti and Kox. Behind them Giovanardi had to resist Sardelli's and Pigoli's assaults; while Larini recovered from the back of the grid and hit Lucchetti's car, damaging its rear bumper. Kox moved up to the lead for good on lap 3, overbraking Naspetti at Parabolica; Colciago was in a close fight with Morbidelli for third. On lap 5 the BMW driver dived inside at Parabolica, Colciago shut the door, but span and went off. Same destiny hit Sardelli, who went into the gravel trap at Lesmo, trying to keep De Lorenzi and Larini behind. Giovanardi overtook Morbidelli for 3rd, but soon afterwards his front left tyre blew. In the meantime, Larini got De Lorenzi, but on the final lap hit the rubber barrier at the Roggia chicane and crashed. As Giovanardi was hanging around the track on three wheels, Nordauto team manager ordered De Lorenzi to wait him before the finishing line. That propelled Pigoli, Soli and Bonello to 4th, 5th and 6th respectively. Kox won from Naspetti and Morbidelli, while Giovanardi finished 7th.

The Euro STC will resume at Budapest's Hungaroring, on July 1 and 2.

{T} RACE RESULTS

RACE-ONE - 9 laps 1. Roberto Colciago (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 18:17.759 170.30 kmh 2. Peter Kox (NL) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 18:21.239 + 3.480 3. Guido Lucchetti (I) Nath Racing Audi A4 Quattro 18:44.865 + 27.106 4. Emanuele Naspetti (I) BMW Team CiBiEmme BMW 320i E36 18:52.603 + 34.844 5. Fabrizio Giovanardi (I) Alfa Romeo Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 18:52.979 + 35.220 6. Moreno Soli (I) Soli Racing Team Alfa Romeo 156 18:52.991 + 35.232 7. Gianluca De Lorenzi (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 18:55.258 + 37.499 8. Stefano Bonello (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 19:12.540 + 54.781 9. Gianni Morbidelli BMW Team CiBiEmme BMW 320i E36 19:13.022 + 55.263 10. Romana Bernardoni (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 19:14.163 + 56.404 11. Massimo Pigoli (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 19:23.281 + 1:05.522 12. Sandro Sardelli (I) Team Isert BMW 320i E36 19:23.423 + 1:05.664 13. Stefano Gabellini (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 19:40.971 + 1:23.212 14. Nicola Larini (I) Alfa Romeo Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 19:46.005 + 1:28.246 15. Andrzej Dziurka (PL) Alda Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 17:16.041 + 1 lap Dnf Gianluca Roda (I) Greyhound Racing Opel Vectra 16V 3 laps

Fastest lap: Kox, 1:37.189, average speed 159.94, on lap 7

RACE-TWO - 9 laps 1. Peter Kox (NL) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 17:21.556 179.49 kmh 2. Emanuele Naspetti (I) BMW Team CiBiEmme BMW 320i E36 17:23.104 + 1.548 3. Gianni Morbidelli BMW Team CiBiEmme BMW 320i E36 17:32.138 + 10.582 4. Massimo Pigoli (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 17:43.003 + 21.447 5. Moreno Soli (I) Soli Racing Team Alfa Romeo 156 18:04.576 + 21.447 6. Stefano Bonello (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 18:11.224 + 43.020 7. Fabrizio Giovanardi (I) Alfa Romeo Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 18:15.298 + 49.668 8. Gianluca De Lorenzi (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 18:18.895 + 53.742 9. Guido Lucchetti (I) Nath Racing Audi A4 Quattro 18:19.717 + 58.161 10. Romana Bernardoni (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 18:34.714 + 1:13.158 11. Gianluca Roda (I) Greyhound Racing Opel Vectra 16V 18:36.648 + 1:15.092Dnf Nicola Larini (I) Alfa Romeo Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 8 laps accident Dnf Roberto Colciago (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 4 laps accident Dnf Sandro Sardelli (I) Team Isert BMW 320i E36 4 laps accident Dnf Stefano Gabellini (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 3 laps electronics Dnf Andrzej Dziurka (PL) Alda Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 2 laps accident

Fastest lap: Kox, 1:54.859, average speed 180.84, on lap 8

EURO STC PROVISIONAL POINTS - AFTER 8 ROUNDS OUT OF 20

Drivers                                         Teams
1.      Peter Kox               110 pts         1.      Alfa Romeo Nordauto     192 pts
2.      Fabrizio Giovanardi     109             2.      BMW Team CiBiEmme       137
3.      Nicola Larini           70              3.      JAS Engineering         110
3.      Emanuele Naspetti       70              4.      AGS Motorsport          50
5.      Gianni Morbidelli       67              5.      Christy's Team          47

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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Peter Kox , Emanuele Naspetti , Gianni Morbidelli , Nicola Larini , Roberto Colciago , Stefano Gabellini , Gianluca Roda