Spa: Race one, two notes

RACE REPORT Weather: overcast with a dry track during the first race; rain fell during the repair time, but stopped before the start of the second race, and the track changed from wet to dry as the race went by. DIRK MÃœLLER WINS ONE AND ...

RACE REPORT
Weather: overcast with a dry track during the first race; rain fell during the repair time, but stopped before the start of the second race, and the track changed from wet to dry as the race went by.

DIRK MÜLLER WINS ONE AND STRETCHES HIS LEAD

The second race of the FIA WTCC in Spa will be remembered as one of the most dramatic and breathtaking of recent motorsport history.

Its results matched the unpredictable weather of the Ardennes, with two different incidents involving the title contenders and a third crash causing a safety car period that resulted in the race being restarted at the beginning of the last lap.

The final classification might have turned out to be a bookmaker's worst nightmare, as Independent driver Stefano D'Aste emerged from the havoc as the overall winner at the wheel of his Proteam Motorsport BMW. His fellow Independent competitor, Tom Coronel claimed third place on the podium behind Fabrizio Giovanardi.

However, the Stewards decided to hit D'Aste with a 3-second pealty for cutting a chicane, which demoted him to second.

As for the title fight, the Belgian event worked in favor of Dirk Müller and Giovanardi. With a lot of dertermination, the German driver claimed his third victory of the season in Race 1, after a tough fight with Andy Priaulx. Jörg Müller completed a perfect BMW 1-2- 3 stealing third position from Alfa Romeo's Augusto Farfus by inches. This fight was also investigated by the Stewards, who decided to exclude Farfus for dangerous driving, and also to penalise Jörg Müller for having caused an avoidable collision. Alfa Romeo racing appealed against Farfus' exclusion.

Thanks to a hard-worked fifth position in Race 2, Dirk managed to stretch his lead by two points ahead of Giovanardi, which is now 4 points. But the Alfa Romeo man is on the ball, wth three victories in three consecutive events. Priaulx has retained his third position, but he is now 11 points off the lead.

SEAT was hit by very bad luck, as none of their works drivers managed to finish within the points in either of the two races. Only Coronel saved the Spanish Manufacturer's honour. Ford had even a darker day, with newcomer Michael Funke going upside down at the start of Race 1, and Thomas Klenke sent crashing into Jordi Gené's car in Race 2.

After Nicola Larini and Robert Huff had scored Chevrolet's first points in the Drivers championship at Puebla, the team's third man, Alain Menu, was able to do the same by finishing sixth in Race 2.

In the Independents' Trophy, Coronel reduced the gap between he and the leader Marc Hennerici.

Results of both races remain provisional, pending the appeal lodged by Alfa Romeo and the technical inspection of the ECU of car #7 (Farfus).

RACE 1 - DIRK MÜLLER LEADS A BMW 1-2-3

Soheil Ayari (qualified 24th) was demoted at the back of the grid due to an engine change.

Andy Priaulx claimed the race lead off the starting line. At the first corner Dirk Müller overtook team-mate Jörg Müller. SEAT Sport driver, Gené and Alfa man Tarquini made contact which resulted in the former spinning and rejoining in 19th position. Funke rolled his Ford Focus car as he was pushed wide at Combes, which meant one lap was completed under safety car conditions.

Priaulx got a good start as the safety car entered the pits while Dirk overtook Farfus to move up to second. Another BMW/Alfa Romeo battle was taking place as Jörg and Tarquini fought for fourth spot.

Lap 4 saw Plato overtake Giovanardi for 8th. However, the latter reclaimed the final point scoring position while the SEAT driver had a battle with García for 7th. Dirk overtook Priaulx on lap 5 to take the lead but the Briton remained close and they entered lap 6 with just 0.541 seconds between them. The remaining laps were packed full of action as Priaulx tried to attain his first race win of the season, his challenges however did not come into fruition. Jörg made a move on Farfus at the last corner of the final lap and the two crossed the line side by side with smoke billowing out of Jörg's rear right tyre. It was a BMW 1-2-3 as the front of Jörg's car was just 0.022 of a second ahead of Farfus' Alfa.

Coronel kept hold of his 14th place start to win the Independent category. Behind him for 15th place was Menu, the best of the Chevrolet team while the remaining Ford driven by Klenke was 22nd. Ayari finished 24th in his Peugeot after a spin.

RACE 2: GIOVANARDI WINS AS D'ASTE IS PENALISED

As the cars lined up on a damp track, the reverse grid meant Giovanardi started on pole, and took the lead at the start chased by García, Tarquini and Thompson. As the field dived down to the Eau Rouge, Priaulx, Farfus and Dirk Müller were involved in an accident. Priaulx's car was so damaged that he had to retire, whereas Farfus and Dirk were able to rejoin. Also in the first lap, Jörg Müller overtook Thompson for fourth and Tarquini drifted wide at a corner losing three places as he rejoined in fifth. Jörg proceeded to suffer problems and had to pay a visit to the pits. More action occurred as Hennerici and Rydell made contact, both came off the track: the Swede retired while Hennerici rejoined. Thompson pitted on lap 2 after being overtaken by many drivers.

Giovanardi looked set to secure his third victory of the season when on lap 3 Klenke was touched by Larini's Chevrolet, which caused the Ford to skid through the Bust Stop chicane and collect Gene's SEAT. The damage to both cars was extensive and the safety car made its second appearance of the day, this time for three laps.

The race resumed with just one lap remaining, with Giovanardi closely chased by García, Tarquini and Dirk Müller. While trying to outbrake each other at the Bus Stop, García and Tarquini clashed, involving Dirk Müller. D'Aste, who was fighting for fifth position with Coronel and Menu cut across the chicane to avoid the three spinning cars, and rejoined the track well ahead of Giovanardi. Which eventually cost him a 3-second penaty, meaning that Giovanardi scored his third win of the year, from D'Aste, Coronel and Farfus. Dirk Müller obtained an important fifth place, while Alain Menu finished sixth and scored his first championship points.

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Andy Priaulx , Dirk Müller , Tom Coronel , Jorg Muller , Augusto Farfus , Soheil Ayari , Jordi Gene , Stefano D'Aste , Nicola Larini , Thomas Klenke , Michael Funke , Alain Menu
Teams Proteam Motorsport