SUPER 2000 AND SUPER PRODUCTION DRIVERS TO RACE TOGETHER FOR TWO DIFFERENT EUROPEAN TITLES
The format of the FIA European Touring Car Cup in Vallelunga underwent a last minute change, when it was decided that competitors in both the Super 2000 and the Super Production Cups will race together. The original format included a separate 70-km single race for Super Production cars, instead they will now participate in the two 50-km back- to-back races for Super 2000.
"It was the logical solution, due to the limited number of Super Production entries," promoter Marcello Lotti explained. "However the two categories will still have their own classifications, prize money and FIA European title."
However there will be separate grids for both of the races, with all the Super 2000 cars ahead of the Super Production cars. On the grid for the second race the top eight drivers classified in the Super 2000 Race 1 will be placed in reverse order; the same will apply for Super Production.
The change of format resulted in a change of timetable: Race 1 will start at 2.15 PM (TV live from 2.00 to 2.45) and Race 2 at 3.25 PM (TV live from 3.15/4.00).
ZANARDI TOPPED THE TESTING TIMES
After four practice sessions over two days, Alessandro Zanardi has emerged as quickest with a best lap time of 1:41.525 which he set on the final outing in his BMW Team Italy-Spain car. Only two other drivers completed a lap in less than 1 minute 42 seconds, both doing so in the third practice session - Salvatore Tavano achieved the overall second best time of 1:41.875 at the wheel of his DB Motorsport Alfa Romeo and Jason Plato set a 1:41.974 in his SEAT Toledo Cupra. With three different manufacturers setting the top three times, performance appears to be well balanced ahead of qualifying tomorrow. Consistently within the top 5 times, Swedish Touring Car Champion Richard Goransson has adapted to the Italian circuit well and his best time was 1:42.050. Claudia Hurtgen the only lady in the field has also put in good performances during all of the sessions with a best lap of 1:42.575. Both Peugeot drivers Jens Edman and Johan Stureson were also consistently improving, just like Tomas Engstrom in his Honda Accord, Tom Coronel in the GR Asia SEAT Toledo and Franz Engstler in his BMW 320i. These ten drivers appear to be the best candidates for the European crown, whereas Thed Bjork (Goransson's team-mate at West Coast Racing), Michel Nykjær in the Danish SEAT, Luca Rangoni with a Proteam BMW and former Russian champion Mikhail Ukhov could be the dark horses.
The final session was the best for the Super Production cars that took part. Lorenzo Pasquinelli completed the fastest lap in this category with a 1:49.644 at the wheel of his Zerocinque Motorsport BMW, ahead of Sergey Krylov in the Sport-Garage Volkswagen Golf.
LAST MINUTE CHANGES TO THE ENTRY LIST
Estonian Aivis Othla, who was expected to drive the second Ford Focus car run by Germany-based TW Racing, has withdrawn his entry from the Super 2000 cup. This leaves Wolfgang Treml, from Austria, as the team's only driver.
COLLARD REPLACES KAYE
Also in the S2000 Cup, Robert Collard from England has replaced fellow Countryman James Kaye at the wheel of GR Asia's second SEAT Toledo Cupra car, alongside Tom Coronel.
FALESSI JOINS SUPER PROD
Italian Lorenzo Falessi has been added to the list of men pretending to the Super Production Cup; he joins the three drivers Pasquinelli, Krylov and Nikolaev who had entered already. Falessi will be at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo 147 run by Errepi Racing.