Monza: Season opener preview

ALL QUIET ON THE MONZA FRONT There was a strange atmosphere today at the Monza circuit. No engines were running, which is very unusual for a racing weekend. All track activities were cancelled out of respect for the national mourning day, ...

ALL QUIET ON THE MONZA FRONT

There was a strange atmosphere today at the Monza circuit. No engines were running, which is very unusual for a racing weekend.

All track activities were cancelled out of respect for the national mourning day, declared by the Italian Government for the funeral of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II.

Teams worked quietly in their pit garages, while TV screens showed live images of the funeral cortège moving through the streets of Rome. Rainy weather was the appropriate backdrop.

Tomorrow everything will change, weather is expected to improve, and the circuit will come back to life. Engines will start roaring in the early morning, while the FIA World Touring Car Championship will hit the track for its maiden season at 9.00 AM for their first practice session.

KRISTIAN GHEDINA PATRON OF FIA WTCC IN MONZA

Famous Italian downhill racer Kristian Ghedina will be the patron of the 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship opening race meeting at Monza. The 35-year old from Cortina d'Ampezzo, will not only attend the FIA WTCC Sunday

races, but he will also wave the chequered flag at the end of both races, assisted by the FIA race director Eduardo Freitas.

Ghedina's day as FIA WTCC patron will start in the early morning, just after the warm-up session when he will join the drivers at the autograph session that will take place at 10.00 AM at RTL Radio stand inside the paddock. After the session, Ghedina will meet his close friend Alessandro Zanardi and will present the Italian driver with a mono-ski especially designed for racing.

"Alex and I have a lot in common," said Ghedina. "We both restarted our racing careers after suffering from massive car crashes. And we both managed to return to a competitive level of racing, against all odds."

FLASH NEWS

TEAMS' NEW NAMES: Two teams Have changed their names from last year. The AutoDelta Squadra Corse have been renamed to Alfa Romeo Racing Team, while Ravaglia Motorsport that runs two cars under the BMW Team Italy-Spain banner are now Roal Motorsport after the names of their owners: Roberto Ravaglia (RO) and Aldo Preo (AL).

THEY SAID: QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Alessandro Zanardi, in an interview to Italian magazine SportAutoMoto: "I believe I never was the best driver in the world; however I've always been good enough to win races. Now, sometimes I forget my special condition, but I'm confident that the job we did last year should lead to something good. I'm completely focused on my commitment with BMW, and I hope that in this new season I will be able to improve further and claim some good results."

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers John Paul , Roberto Ravaglia , Kristian Ghedina