Alfa Romeo Drivers in A League of Their Own Tarquini and Giovanardi Share Race Wins After the fierce battle between Alfa Romeo and BMW in Monza, the second meeting of the 2004 FIA European Touring Car Championship turned to an all-Alfa parade.
Alfa Romeo Drivers in A League of Their Own Tarquini and Giovanardi Share Race Wins
After the fierce battle between Alfa Romeo and BMW in Monza, the second meeting of the 2004 FIA European Touring Car Championship turned to an all-Alfa parade. From the qualifying session onwards, AutoDelta drivers Gabriele Tarquini, Fabrizio Giovanardi and Augusto Farfus were in a league of their own. And in today's races they easily scored two triples in a dominating style. Tarquini and Giovanardi finished first and second in the first race, and encored in the second, though in the reverse order, while Farfus claimed two third positions.
In vain, the rest of the field desperately tried to counter the triumphal march of the Alfas. The BMW men had to settle for the positions from fourth onwards. As for SEAT, which had expected to claim some good results on its home track, it could not have been more unlucky, with all the three Toledo Cupra cars out of the Race 1.
More promising results were achieved by Honda, Ford and Peugeot. In particular, the RS-Line Ford Focus showed a radical progress after Monza, while Jan Magnussen in the newcomer Peugeot was recovering positions before being involved in an collision during the second race.
Alfa Romeo drivers also dominated the Independent Trophy: Oregon Team's Salvatore Tavano scored two brilliant successes, and his team-mate Luca Rangoni recovered from the back of the field to second in Race 2.
The Championship will be now heading to Magny-Cours with Tarquini leading the Drivers' Championship, two points ahead of Giovanardi and 6 of Jorg Muller. In the Manufacturers' Championship Alfa Romeo leads BMW by 7 points.
RACE 1 REPORT
A black first lap for SEAT
At the start the three Alfas managed to stay at the front, with Farfus chased by Giovanardi and Tarquini; behind them, Priaulx was fourth, ahead of D. Muller, Garcia, J. Muller and Zanardi. Diefenbacher almost stalled his engine and drove wide onto the gravel of the first corner; his team-mates Gene and Rydell were both eliminated in a collision with Coronel, who was later blamed by the Stewards. Diefenbacher's remaining SEAT retired after three laps with engine problems.
Lap 1: 1. Farfus, 2. Giovanardi, 3. Tarquini, 4. Priaulx, 5. D. Muller, 6. Garcia, 7. J. Muller, 8. Zanardi
Alfa drivers swap positions
On lap 3, Farfus made a mistake, and lost two positions to Giovanardi and Tarquini. The latter managed to take the lead, passsing Giovanardi on the fourth lap. Meanwhile, J. Muller overtook Garcia for sixth place and Tavano did the same with Coronel, moving up to ninth. Magnussen's Peugeot was coming up quickly, and the Dane overtook Balzan for 11th position. Grunert's Ford Focus pulled out with transmission problems.
Lap 4: 1. Tarquini, 2. Giovanardi, 3. Farfus, 4. Priaulx, 5. D. Muller, 6. J. Muller, 7. Garcia, 8. Zanardi
Peugeot in the top-ten
On lap 5, Tavano won another position from Zanardi, while Magnussen overtook Coronel and break into the top-ten. Due to transmission problems, Bartyan went off into the gravel trap and retired from 13th. Coronel regained the 10th place from Magnussen; they kept on in a close fight, together with Balzan. Tarquini created a gap, while a recovering Rangoni moved up to 13th, passing D'Aste and Klenke on lap 8.
Lap 8: 1. Tarquini, 2. Giovanardi, 3. Farfus, 4. Priaulx, 5. D. Muller, 6. J. Muller, 7. Garcia, 8. Tavano
Tarquini, Giovanardi and Farfus parade to the end
On lap 9, Rangoni retired with a broken wheel hub, consequence of an early collision. The three AutoDelta drivers paraded to the end, with Priaulx in fourth position and best of the rest. Tavano came home in eighth position, winning the Independents' classification. Magnussen and Peugeot finished their first ETCC race in a very promising 11th place, ahead of Balzan's Honda Civic and Klenke's Ford Focus.
RACE 2 REPORT
A BMW trio sprint to take the lead
Further to the technical problems experienced in the first race, Grunert's Ford, Diefenbacher's SEAT and Bartyan's Alfa did not make the grid for the second. At the start the three BMW cars of Garcia, J. Muller and D. Muller sprinted to take the lead, jumping Tavano, pole sitter on the reverse grid. The Oregon Team's driver lost three other positions on the opening lap, to Giovanardi, Priaulx and Tarquini. Magnussen had a good start and was chasing Zanardi, Farfus and Coronel.
Lap 1: 1. Garcia, J. Muller, 3. D. Muller, 4. Giovanardi, 5. Priaulx, 6. Tarquini, 7. Tavano, 8. Zanardi
Garcia is sent into a spin
On lap 2, Tarquini overtook Priaulx for fifth, while Magnussen retired further to a collision with D'Aste. On the main straight, the Alfas of Giovanardi and Tarquini jumped the BMW of D. Muller, who dropped from third to fifth. Giovanardi attacked J. Muller's second position, but the German resisted and they nearly clashed. However, on lap 3, both Giovanardi and Tarquini managed to overtake J. Muller. One more lap and the two Alfa men took the lead from Garcia. Their team-mate Farfus was recovering, he clashed with J. Muller who hit Garcia, sending him into a spin. The Spaniard rejoined in 10th position, while Farfus moved up to third.
Lap 5: 1. Giovanardi, 2. Tarquini, 3. Farfus, 4. D. Muller, 5. J. Muller, 6. Priaulx, 7. Tavano, 8. Zanardi
Rangoni in the points
On lap 6, Rangoni's recovery from the back of the field, after he drove wide at the first corner, culminated in him overtaking Zanardi for the ninth position. Rydell retired with misfire problems. Klenke, Balzan and D'Aste were in a close fight for 13th place. On lap 10, Coronel stole ninth position from Zanardi. On lap 11, Rangoni was chasing Garcia for the eighth position, when the Spaniard spun again and dropped down to 15th.
Lap 11: 1. Giovanardi, 2. Tarquini, 3. Farfus, 4. D. Muller, 5. Priaulx, 6. J. Muller, 7. Tavano, 8. Rangoni
AutoDelta trio strikes again
On lap 12, Gene was chasing Zanardi and Coronel, while on the 13th and final lap, J. Muller overtook Priaulx for fifth position. The AutoDelta trio managed to encore their first race result, with the only difference of Giovanardi finishing ahead of Tarquini; this was his first ETCC win for 18 months (the last being on 20th October 2002 in Estoril). D. Muller, J. Muller and Priaulx were classified fourth, fifth and sixth, ahead of Tavano and Rangoni, who scored a double in the Independents' trophy for Oregon Team.