Pergusa - April 29, 2000 EURO STC QUALIFYING: weather: cloudy/drizzly, track: dry/slippery, temperature 15C. GIOVANARDI GRABS POLE FOR ALFA ON SICILIAN "SUPERSPEEDWAY" Fabrizio Giovanardi gave Alfa Romeo and Nordauto their first Euro STC...
Pergusa - April 29, 2000
EURO STC QUALIFYING:
weather: cloudy/drizzly, track: dry/slippery, temperature 15C.
GIOVANARDI GRABS POLE FOR ALFA ON SICILIAN "SUPERSPEEDWAY"
Fabrizio Giovanardi gave Alfa Romeo and Nordauto their first Euro STC pole at Pergusa. On the quick Sicilian track that runs around the lake, the reigning Italian champion lapped at the considerable speed of 173.699 kmh (107.90 mph), setting a time of 1:42.817; it was not enough to break the existing track record (established by Giovanardi himself in 1997), but enabled the Alfista to relegate the series points leader Peter Kox to the outside of the front row.
"I'm not surprised for the result itself - Giovanardi admitted - because I like this track very much and this is my fourth consecutive pole at Pergusa. I've rather been surprised by Kox's and Naspetti's performances; I didn't expect them to be so bloody quick. Now I think they will be even more competitive tomorrow, that will provide two very tough races".
Despite he had never seen the circuit before the morning practice, Peter Kox was not off the pace. The Dutchman - double winner in the series opening at Mugello - set the second fastest time at the wheel of the Jas Honda Accord; 6 tenths of a second behind Giovanardi.
"I have better to thank the team for that - he said - because they gave me a car as perfect as it was in Mugello. They have done a remarkable job, because, like me, they have never been at Pergusa before. I'm quite satisfied for my qualifying result, that was totally unexpected; first because I didn't know the track and secondly because the car proved so good despite the 40 kg ballast, a consequence of my wins at Mugello".
Third on the grid will line up Emanuele Naspetti, whose best time was just a mere 85 thousandths of a second slower than Kox's. It's a good position to perform one of his famous flashing starts.
"I will try - he declared - as I did at Mugello. But there I chose the wrong line and I finished to be squeezed by the Alfas; this time I will look for a safer move. We have chosen the right strategy for the qualifying, saving the tyres in the morning practice; I'm sure I should have done a front row time, but one of my quick laps was spoiled by the traffic".
In the end of the session, a light rain made the track slippery, spoiling some of the other drivers' hopes. The most disappointed were Larini (4th on the grid), Colciago (7th) and Morbidelli (10th).
"It was a difficult qualifying for me. We discussed a lot in the morning to place tyres in the chicanes and then it rained. I'm really disappointed, but I'll focus on the race", Nicola Larini said. Not less unhappy was Roberto Colciago: "We knew before this was not the best circuit for our four-wheel-drive. But honestly I didn't expect to be so back on the grid, though I must complain about the rain and the traffic".
As for Gianni Morbidelli, he spoiled his tyres going off the track at half the session.
Among the others drivers, quite remarkable were the 5th and 6th positions achieved respectively by rookie Gianluca De Lorenzi (Nordauto Alfa 156) and Sandro Sardelli (Isert BMW 320i).