STW Cup - Vectra on the podium twice at Lahr... Japan - First Vectra victory for Opel Japan... Britain - No luck for Vectra at Brands Hatch... France - Two wins for Opel at Paul Ricard F3... Ireland - Loughrey dominates at Mondello F Opel... 8.9.97 STW Cup - Vectra on the podium twice at Lahr...
Opel took another pair of podium place finishes at the weekend, when Uwe Alzen took the Vectra to third in both of the STW Cup races at Lahr in south east Germany, supported by fifth place for Kurt Thiim and sixth for Michael Bartels in the 30-lap second, main, race.
Alzen qualified best of the Opel teams in fifth place after leading the times on four occasions during Saturday's session. But his start was not the best and he had to fight his way back into contention during the 12- lap sprint race early on Sunday morning. He took the podium place for Opel - and fastest race lap into the bargain - while Thiim fought his way into eighth place at the flag. Bartels followed him home in 10th, but Manuel Reuter pulled out of the race after contact with several other cars - he started 16th on the grid in the so-called 'kamikaze zone'.
For the second race, Alzen found himself squeezed out at the frantic start - the race was important for both BMW and Peugeot in their chase for the championship titles and their leading cars simply hurled themselves to the front at the first corner. Alzen exited that first corner in ninth place, behind Bartels, but began a charge that was to see him up as high as second during the closing laps. A cautious approach saw Alzen not risk at attack on the lead, although it was felt he could have won the race, and that resulted in Johnny Cecotto (BMW) moving through into second place. Alzen settled for his second podium place of the day, followed across the line by Thiim in fifth while Bartels made it three Vectras in the top six places. Reuter did not start the race.
1 Johnny Cecotto (VEN) BMW 2 Laurent Aiello (F) Peugeot 3 Uwe Alzen Opel 4 Yvan Muller (F) Audi 5 Christian Menzel BMW 6 Jorg van Ommen Peugeot
1 Joachim Winkelhock BMW 2 Johnny Cecotto (VEN) BMW 3 Uwe Alzen Opel 4 Yvan Muller (F) Audi 5 Kurt Thiim (DK) Opel 6 Michael Bartels Opel
STW Cup drivers - after 9 rounds:
1 Laurent Aiello (F) Peugeot 606 points 2 Joachim Winkelhock BMW 576 3 Johnny Cecotto (VEN) BMW 515 4 Uwe Alzen Opel 355 5 Emanuele Pirro (I) Audi 327 6 Jorg van Ommen Peugeot 319
STW Cup manufacturers - after 9 rounds:
1 BMW 1091 points 2 Peugeot 925 3 Opel 538 4 Audi 515 5 Nissan 491 6 Honda 364
Japan - First Vectra victory for Opel Japan...
Opel Japan celebrated the first win for its Vectra in the Japanese Touring car Championship, when Akira Iida won the second of two races at the Sendai circuit on Sunday.
Iida qualified the Vectra on pole for the first, 25-lap, race and on a wet, but drying track he opted for cut slick tyres, which cost him the advantage at the start from a wet grid. He ran second to Motoyama (Nissan) during the early laps and was then under pressure from Hoshino (Nissan) - pressure which resulted in a half-spin for Iida and a third place finish.
In the second, 21-lap, race Iida was handicapped by an extra 10kg for his first race result and suffered from Sekiya's (Toyota) power start from the grid, dropping him to second in the first corner, but the Opel recovered and was visibly better than the leader's car, but after some blocking by Sekiya, Iida had to wait until lap 14 before he could slip past and into the lead, with Sekiya then dropping to third when Michigami (Honda) swept past. Red flags stopped the race on lap 23 due to heavy fog at the circuit and the result was declared after 21 laps giving Opel its momentous victory.
1 Motoyama Nissan 2 Hoshino Nissan 3 Iida Opel 4 Nakato Honda 5 Kagayoshi Toyota
1 Iida Opel 2 Michigami Honda 3 Sekiya Toyota 4 Takeuchi Toyota 5 Kaneishi Toyota
Britain - No luck for Vectra at Brands Hatch...
Vectra drivers John Cleland and Derek Warwick failed to score points in two incident-filled 38-lap rounds of the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch on Sunday.
Cleland made a good start from 12th on the grid to claim eighth place at the first corner before contact with Will Hoy (Ford) sent him spinning to the rear of the field. Cleland recovered from 20th place to finish 12th. Warwick's run in 12th place was hampered by a multi-car incident during the third lap, causing him to lose more time in the pits, then power steering problems put him finally at the end of the field.
A recurrence of Warwick's power steering problems during the warm up for the second race saw him non-start, while Cleland ran in 14th place until another incident with Hoy sent him spinning down the order, from which he recovered once again to finish 12th.
1 Frank Biela (D) Audi 2 Jason Plato Renault 3 Alain Menu (CH) Renault 4 John Bintcliffe Audi 5 Tim Harvey Peugeot 6 David Leslie Nissan
1 Rickard Rydell (S) Volvo 2 Anthony Reid Nissan 3 Alain Menu (CH) Renault 4 Paul Radisich (NZ) Ford 5 Frank Biela (D) Audi 6 Kelvin Burt Volvo
British Touring Cars drivers - after 22 rounds:
1 Alain Menu (CH) Renault 271 points 2 Frank Biela (D) Audi 168 3 Jason Plato Renault 144 4 Rickard Rydell (S) Volvo 133 5 James Thompson Honda 120 6 John Bintcliffe Audi 119
British Touring Cars manufacturers - after 22 rounds:
1 Renault 268 points 2 Audi 209 3 Honda 197 4 Volvo 186 5 Nissan 141 6 Peugeot 114
France - Two wins for Opel at Paul Ricard F3...
Belgian rookie David Saelens (Dallara/Opel) took his second win of the French Formula 3 season on Saturday, and Spanish rookie Oriol Servia (Martini/Opel) took his maiden victory on Sunday, and the fourth win for a Martini chassis this year, on the very quick Albi circuit in France.
At the end of the weekend of two 12-lap races, Stephane Sarrazin (Dallara/Fiat) had lost his championship lead and now trails the GRAFF Racing leader Patrice Gay (Dallara/Opel) with only one round to come. Saelens is almost certain to join Gay and Sarrazin on the final podium.
1 David Saelens (B) Dallara/Opel 2 Steeve Hiesse Dallara/Fiat 3 Patrice Gay Dallara/Opel 4 Franck Montagny Martini/Opel 5 Sebastien Philippe Dallara/Opel 6 Stephane Sarrazin Dallara/Fiat
1 Oriol Servia (E) Martini/Opel 2 David Saelens (B) Dallara/Opel 3 Franck Montagny Martini/Opel 4 Stephane Sallaz Dallara/Opel 5 David Terrien Dallara/Opel 6 Steeve Hiesse Dallara/Fiat
French Formula 3 - after 16 rounds:
1 Patrice Gay Dallara/Opel 145 points 2 Stephane Sarrazin Dallara/Fiat 137 3 David Saelens (B) Dallara/Opel 131 4 Franck Montagny Martini/Opel 116 5 Fabrice Walfisch Dallara/Opel 113 6 Sebastien Philippe Dallara/Opel 109
Ireland - Loughrey dominates at Mondello F Opel...
Donal Loughrey dominated a sunny Mondello on Sunday to take a convincing lights to flag victory in the ninth round of the Irish Formula Opel Championship despite intense pressure from team-mate Ken Grandon.
Grandon made a blistering start from the second row in this penultimate round of the series but could not find his way past Loughrey, Grandon did, however, manage to stay ahead of his championship rival Vivion Daly.
1 Donal Loughrey 2 Ken Grandon 3 Vivion Daly 4 Adrian Pollock 5 Jonathan Fildes
Irish Formula Opel - after 9 rounds (of 10):
1 Donal Loughrey 139 points 2 Vivion Daly 127 3 Ken Grandon 121 4 Adrian Pollock 70 5 Jonathan Fildes 69 6 Mark Kershaw 58
For information: Steve Fellows, ProAction Tel: +44 1480 494060