ETCC: Oschersleben: Volvo race report

Double podium despite weight penalty. Oschersleben - 14 July 2002 Regulation changes dominated the weekend at Oschersleben in Germany this weekend. The track already favoured the rear-wheel drive BMWs, but it was the manufacturer seen to be ...

Double podium despite weight penalty.

Oschersleben - 14 July 2002

Regulation changes dominated the weekend at Oschersleben in Germany this weekend. The track already favoured the rear-wheel drive BMWs, but it was the manufacturer seen to be benefiting from removal of weight penalty and highest increase in rev limits. Not only do the Volvo S60s receive 15kg weight penalty, Rickard Rydell received 10 kg success ballast under the new regulations.

Race 1
Rickard Rydell No. 60 Grid: 5th Finish: 3rd
James Hanson No. 61 Grid: 11th Finish: Not classified

After a close fight from the start Rydell held fifth position in the midst of a group of rear-wheel drive BMWs. He commented before the race that his strategy was to keep pace with the BMWs and wait for them to fight each other. His wish came true and some ambitious overtaking saw casualties, namely Ekblom and Coronel from the British and Belgian BMW teams. Not having the power to challenge the Schnitzer BMW cars of Dirk Muller and Jorg Muller, Rydell held third place ahead of Giovanardi for the last six laps of the fourteen-lap race.

A first corner incident with Tom Ferrier in the Dart IP Alfa ended Hanson's race just a few hundred metres from the grid. Hanson brought the car back to the pits and the Prodrive team managed to get the car back out to increase the laps completed and gain valuable places on the grid for race two.

Classification - Race 1
- Dirk MULLER (BMW Team Deutschland)
- Jorg MULLER (BMW Team Deutschland)
- Rickard RYDELL (Volvo S60 Racing)
- Fabrizio GIOVANARDI (Alfa - Team Nordauto)
- Fabrizio DE SIMONE (BMW Team Spain)
- Nicola LARINI (Alfa - Team Nordauto)

Race 2
Rickard Rydell No. 60 Grid: 4th Finish: 3rd
James Hanson No. 61 Grid: 14th Finish: DNF

Another close start put Rydell in fifth position, again `sandwiched' between BMWs. Rydell waited for his opportunity and took advantage of Dirk Muller's challenge on Larini ahead to make a skilled overtaking move to third place. Heavy tyre wear then made it possible for Jorg Muller to gain a place dropping Rydell back to fourth. After Jorg Muller overtook De Simone, Rydell took his turn and challenged De Simone to regain third place on the penultimate lap.

An excellent first lap for Hanson took him through the field from fourteenth to ninth where he was in a close battle with a pack including Coronel, Ekblom and Giovanardi. After four laps, Hanson dropped to twelfth due to the car suffering from oversteer following the earlier accident. He held his position until lap 13 of 14 when an over-ambitious manoeuvre by Ruberti in an Alfa Romeo took him out and left him stranded in a gravel trap.

Classification - Race 2
- Dirk MULLER (BMW Team Deutschland)
- Jorg MULLER (BMW Team Deutschland)
- Rickard RYDELL (Volvo S60 Racing)
- Jordi GENE (BMW Team Spain)
- Fabrizio DE SIMONE (BMW Team Spain)
- Nicola LARINI (Alfa - Team Nordauto)

Rickard Rydell:

"It was a hard fight. I think the BMWs have gained around six-tenths of a second from the weight and engine changes and I think it's bad to do this in the middle of the season. If it weren't for that I would have been on pole and today would have told a different story. Apart for that, I'm very happy to get third."

James Hanson:

"The team did an excellent job to repair the car in such a short time and for it still to be competitive. I'm disappointed not to score points but we'll try again at Spa."

Olle Odsell, Volvo motorsport director:

"More podiums and points are good for Volvo and again I'm pleased that Rickard has two good finishes. The racing was full of action that is good for television and spectators but not so good for James this time. He has shown that he is capable of finishing well so hopefully Spa will be his turn."

Dave Benbow, Volvo S60 Racing team manager:

"Under the circumstances of the changed regulations, and the apparent advantage afforded to BMW, Rickard pulled out all his stops and raced as well as I've ever seen him race. I'm disappointed for James having been taken out on the first turn of the first lap of the first race. The crew did a sterling job in repairing the car to get James back on track before the chequered flag. James and his crew deserved better results for their efforts than they received today. We won the front wheel drive race. The car is performing well and Volvo can be very proud of what's been achieved so far. Four podiums in the last four races show the car's competitiveness. The top step of the podium is our next target."

The next ETCC event takes place at Spa-Francorchamps on 2nd and 3rd August.

-volvo-

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About this article
Series General
Drivers Dirk Müller , Jorg Muller , Rickard Rydell , Tom Ferrier