ETCC: Vallelunga race one, two notes

RICHARD GÖRANSSON AND LORENZO FALESSI CLAIM FIA EUROPEAN TOURING CAR CUPS On a sunny and warm day, that attracted a big crowd (25,000 spectators over the two days) Richard Göransson from Sweden and Lorenzo Falessi, who lives 50 km north...

RICHARD GÖRANSSON AND LORENZO FALESSI CLAIM FIA EUROPEAN TOURING CAR CUPS

On a sunny and warm day, that attracted a big crowd (25,000 spectators over the two days) Richard Göransson from Sweden and Lorenzo Falessi, who lives 50 km north of the Vallelunga racetrack, claimed the 2005 FIA European Touring Car Cups for the Super 2000 and the Super Production classes respectively.

26 drivers from ten European countries took part in the double race, with Alessandro Zanardi setting pole position and obtaining a lights to flag victory in Race 1. The second race was not as lucky for the Italian, who had brake problems, and Jason Plato emerged as the winner at the wheel of his SEAT Toledo Cupra. However Göransson 27 year old winner of the Swedish Touring Car Championship twice in 2004 and 2005 drove his West Coast Racing BMW 320i to a couple of second positions that were good enough to clinch the Super 2000 Cup.

Plato and Zanardi completed the podium, while Salvatore Tavano who was carrying on his shoulders the responsibility of representing Alfa Romeo colours, had to settle with a fourth place in the final classification, only 1 point behind Zanardi. In the Super Production Cup, despite having missed the qualifying session due to a technical problem, Lorenzo Falessi managed to score two wins and claimed the title. A consolation prize for Alfa Romeo.

QUALIFYING ZANARDI ON POLE POSITION

Alessandro Zanardi claimed pole position in the morning qualifying. The Italian's BMW hit the track ten minutes into the session, set the fastest time after just three laps and then retired to the pits to see if he would have to defend his position. His best lap was completed in 1:41.125.

The fight for 2nd and 3rd spots on the grid was close as Salvatore Tavano and Richard Göransson had the front row in their sights at one stage, just 0.002 of a second split them. The last lap provided best times for both but it was Tavano who went 0.203 of a second faster to line up next to Zanardi, only one tenth slower than the poleman. Swedish Touring Car Champion, Göransson was joined by Claudia Hürtgen on the second row as she posted the 4th best time.

In the Super Production category, Lorenzo Pasquinelli set the fastest lap to start ahead of Sergey Krylov and Andrey Nikolaev in Race 1.

RACE 1 ZANARDI'S DOMINATION

From start to finish Alessandro Zanardi was ahead of the rest in Race 1 of the FIA European Touring Car Cup. He edged away gradually and crossed the finish line over 9 seconds before second placed Göransson. The final podium position went to Tavano who recovered well from straying wide in the first lap.

At the start, Hürtgen stalled from fourth on the grid. This caused Engström, Stureson and Nykjær to clash as they all moved wide in avoidance. Stureson could not continue and Nykjær rejoined the race after a visit to the pits to repair the damage obtained to his rear right wheel. Ukhov was also unable to get off the starting line. In lap one, Björk was having problems and in the process of trying to avoid it, Plato and Rangoni clashed, causing the latter to spin and unable to continue. Over the next couple of laps Tavano was chasing Plato for 4th and Göransson had Coronel in his sights for 2nd. Lap five saw both the SEAT cars being overtaken, with the Alfa of Tavano in between them. Also on lap five, Engström crashed into a barrier, skidded across the track and did not rejoin.

Tavano and Coronel had a great fight on lap seven. The Italian made a move on the inside of Coronel and then fought off his attempts to regain the position. With the Alfa ahead, the SEAT cars of Coronel and Plato were in a tough battle for 4th place. Plato was right behind and made an overtaking move on lap nine but braked too late and went wide, allowing Coronel to proceed still ahead. Despite being on the tail of the GR Asia man for the rest of the race, Plato was unable to successfully pass him resulting in a 5th place finish for the Briton. Edman whose Peugeot 407 was sporting signs of a crash in the morning practice finished 8th meaning pole position for Race 2.

In the Super Production class, Falessi came from the back and caught up with Pasquinelli over the first half of the race. He eventually overtook him on lap 10 and crossed the line with a small margin.

RACE 2 GÖRANSSON WINS S2000 CUP

Due to damage obtained in race 1, Stureson, Treml and Engström did not start. In a thoroughly entertaining race, Jason Plato was the victor for SEAT Sport UK. He finished ahead of West Coast Racing team-mates Göransson and Björk. Despite coming second, Göransson achieved enough points to be crowned European Cup champion. Off the line, Björk overtook Edman to take the lead. Zanardi was caught up in the middle

of the pack and emerged 15th entering lap 2. On this lap Edman, who was lying 2nd made a mistake at Curvone and went wide, dropping to the back of the field. This left Plato to chase Björk for the lead which he duly did, eventually making a successful move on lap 4 and then staying ahead for the remainder of the race. Lap 6 saw Coronel and Engstler engaged in a battle for third position which allowed Tavano and Göransson to catch up and join them in the bid for the podium place. Tavano made an attempt to overtake but was not successful and Göransson capitalised by making a great move to promote himself to 4th. The Swede then went on to claim 2nd spot after passing Coronel and Björk on lap 9. Tavano overtook Coronel on the next lap for 4th position which is where he finished. Zanardi fought his way through the field lap-by-lap and crossed the chequered flag in seventh place, which was enough to make him third in the overall competition.

It was Falessi who dominated the Super Production competition again in the second race, finishing ahead of Krylov and Nikolaev to claim the European title for the classification.

-fia-

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