EURO STC - ROUNDS 17 and 18
RACE RESULTS - weather: sunny, track: dry, temperature 30°C.
GIOVANARDI STRIKES BACK IN FRONT OF 20,000
WINS BOTH RACES TO REGAIN SERIES' LEADERSHIP
A record crowd of 20,000 cheered Fabrizio Giovanardi at Vallelunga, as the Alfa Romeo driver won both 17th and 18th rounds of the European Super Touring Cup. A result that was worth the series' leadership by 15 points and also enabled Nordauto Engineering to clinch the teams' title with one meeting still to go.
The Euro STC's finale will happen on October 8, on the totally unknown venue of Novo Mesto in Slovenia, a track that will be completed in the next days on the tarmacs of a former air force base.
Thus the cars' and drivers' performances there, will be totally umpredictable. And that's why the advantage Giovanardi built at Vallelunga might prove decisive for the final rush.
Everything here turned in the favour of Alfa Romeo. Nicola Larini was absolutely perfect in backing his teammate and protecting him from a Peter Kox who didn't shine as in the previous races. The Dutchman lacked the expected help from Gabriele Tarquini, who was pushed down by a penalty in race-one and eliminated in a violent shunt at the start of race-two.
If Tarquini failed to be a factor, Johnny Cecotto proved he's still one of the best Touring Car drivers ever. It took him only 35 minutes of practice to raise the old Isert BMW to positions never achieved before. Cecotto, as well as Fabrizio De Simone in the AGS Motorsport second Audi A4, will make the field at Novo Mesto too.
RACE-ONE. Kox almost stalled at the start and the Alfas of Giovanardi and Larini took the lead from Tarquini and Naspetti. Kox was 5th, from Colciago and Morbidelli. On lap 3 Naspetti overtook Tarquini at the hairpin and closed on Larini. Pigoli and De Lorenzi struggled for 8th, they clashed a couple of times and De Lorenzi passed through, but after the race he was penalized by 9 seconds and pushed down from 6th to 9th in the final results. On lap 6, while he was looking for a place where to overtake Larini, Naspetti was bumped off by Tarquini and stopped in the gravel trap. Few laps later, the former BTCC champion was black-flagged and came back into the pits for observe a stop-and-go penalty. He rejoined the race in 12th position. Giovanardi increased his margin up to 4 seconds, while Larini managed to keep Kox behind. Colciago set some very fast lap and finished a close 4th, from Morbidelli. Tarquini rushed to recover up to 7th, but he couldn't manage to pass Cecotto who gave the Isert team its best Euro STC result ever.
RACE-TWO. A clash between Tarquini, Cecotto and Pigoli sent the Honda Accord into the wall. The clerk of the course called the safety-car in, but in the wrong place: just after the fast and blind Trincea bend. Larini, who was in the lead, and the drivers who followed, saw the safety-car too late and they were forced to overtake it to avoid a pile-up. To get back in control of the situation, the clerk of the course red-flagged the race, which later restarted, shortened by 3 laps. The JAS crew desperately worked to repair Tarquini's badly damaged car, but he failed to make the field at the restart. At the green light, Larini took the lead from Giovanardi, Colciago, Morbidelli, Kox and Cecotto. Naspetti rushed to recover from the back of the field up to 8th. On lap 6. Kox overtook Colciago, who was later pushed into a spin by Morbidelli at the hairpin. For this action, the BMW man was given a stop-and-go; also De Lorenzi observed such a penalty, after he clashed with Gabellini. Following the collision between Morbidelli and Colciago, Naspetti and Cecotto moved up to 4th and 5th respectively. On lap 9. Larini let Giovanardi pass through and the Alfa Romeo twins repeated their 1-2, with Kox again in 3rd.
The Euro STC will resume on October 8 at Novo Mesto, Slovenia, for its final meeting.
<pre> RACE RESULTS
RACE-ONE - 16 laps 1. Fabrizio Giovanardi (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 20:15.799 152.64 kmh 2. Nicola Larini (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 20:19.057 + 3.258 3. Peter Kox (NL) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 20:19.710 + 3.911 4. Roberto Colciago (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 20:20.526 + 4.727 5. Gianni Morbidelli (I) CiBiEmme Engineering BMW 320i E36 20:24.060 + 8.261 6. Johnny Cecotto (YV) Team Isert BMW 320i E36 20:35.696 + 19.897 7. *Gabriele Tarquini (I) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 20:36.472 + 20.673 8. Massimo Pigoli (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 20:39.812 + 24.013 9. Gianluca De Lorenzi (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 20:39.707 + 24.108 10.Stefano Gabellini (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 20:40.118 + 24.319 11.Romana Bernardoni (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 21:03.814 + 48.015 12.Guido Lucchetti Cigarini (I) Nath Racing Audi A4 Quattro 21:05.474 + 49.675 13.Gianluca Roda (I) Greyhound Motorsport Opel Vectra 16V 21:14.807 + 59.008 Dnc Fabrizio De Simone (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 20:39.107 + 9 laps Dnf Moreno Soli (I) Soli Racing Team Alfa Romeo 156 18:48.204 + 2 laps Dnf Emanuele Naspetti (I) CiBiEmme Engineering BMW 320i E36 6:22.630 + 1 laps
Fastest lap: Naspetti, 1:14.645, average speed 155.39 kmh, on lap 2 * Tarquini: stop-and-go penalty, for bumping Naspetti off the track De Lorenzi: 9-second time penalty, for collision with Pigoli
RACE-TWO - 13 laps 1. Fabrizio Giovanardi (I) Alfa Romeo Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 16:27.751 152.65 kmh 2. Nicola Larini (I) Alfa Romeo Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 16:28.113 + 0.362 3. Peter Kox (NL) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 16:29.086 + 1.335 4. Emanuele Naspetti (I) BMW Team CiBiEmme BMW 320i E36 16:33.273 + 5.522 5. Johnny Cecotto (YV) Team Isert BMW 320i E36 16:38.688 + 10.937 6. Roberto Colciago (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 16:39.954 + 12.303 7. Stefano Gabellini (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 16:45.645 + 17.894 8. Fabrizio De Simone (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 16:51.211 + 23.460 9. Massimo Pigoli (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 16:52.012 + 24.261 10.Gianluca Roda (I) Greyhound Motorsport Opel Vectra 16V 17:07.176 + 39.425 11.*Gianni Morbidelli (I) BMW Team CiBiEmme BMW 320i E36 17:07.500 + 39.749 12.Gianluca De Lorenzi (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 17:07.805 + 40.104 13.Romana Bernardoni (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 17:08.467 + 40.716 14.Guido Lucchetti Cigarini (I) Nath Racing Audi A4 Quattro 17:17.474 + 49.723 15.Moreno Soli (I) Soli Racing Team Alfa Romeo 156 17:28.460 + 57.709 Dns Gabriele Tarquini (I) JAS Engineering Honda Accord
Fastest lap: Larini, 1:14.677, average speed 155.32 kmh, on lap 2 * Morbidelli: stop-and-go penalty, for pushing Colciago into a spin De Lorenzi: stop-and-go time penalty, for collision with Gabellini
EURO STC PROVISIONAL POINTS - AFTER 18 ROUNDS OUT OF 20
Drivers 1. Fabrizio Giovanardi 243 pts 2. Peter Kox 228 pts 3. Gianni Morbidelli 179 4. Nicola Larini 168 5. Emanuele Naspetti 160
Teams 1. Nordauto Engineering 437 pts 2. CiBiEmme Engineering 339 3. JAS Engineering 232 4. AGS Motorsport 150 5. Christy's Team 111