IMMACULATE WEEKEND FOR N.TECHNOLOGY ALFA ROMEO
N.Technology Alfa Romeo opened its FIA World Touring Car Championship points account in spectacular fashion at Valencia today, with Britain's James Thompson taking two emphatic victories for the Italian team.
In today's second race, the 32-year-old stormed from 8th on the grid, passing Michel Jourdain, Jordi Gene, Yvan Muller, Luca Rangoni, current World Champion Andy Priaulx and finally Jorg Muller in the 13-lap race.
The win is the 147th to be produced by the N.Technology / Alfa Romeo association since it began in 1991 and the jubilant team is now looking to reach its 150-race milestone before the end of the season.
Thompson, from Harrogate, controlled race one from pole position, registering fastest lap and comfortably holding second-place Nicola Larini at bay in the Chevrolet.
The team's second driver, Olivier Tielemans, was caught up in first lap drama but rejoined to finish 14th. In race two the Dutch driver battled hard to finish in 11th.
James Thompson, car number 15
"It doesn't get a lot better than that; we start the championship from now!
"I love being the underdog so I really enjoyed that second race; at this level it was my best-ever performance but if you have the best car then you can make it look easy! I have a lot confidence in the Alfa; it's been a bit of an unknown because we've not done much testing but it was fantastic today.
"The team has started from scratch this season and the car is progressing in leaps and bounds now. They've made such an effort to help me drive the car and I'm really pleased to reward them with two victories; and such dominant ones at that!
"For the rest of the year, I think we can have a strong season – maybe not contest for the championship just yet because we are still developing the car – but I definitely want to keep winning."
Andrea Muller, Team Manager
"That second race is one of the best I've ever seen in my career. I'd like to dedicate it to my daughter, Valentina, who was at her first communion today."
Monica Bregoli, Marketing Director
"This is very exciting. It was very important for us because we have had many problems during the last two race weekends but we've worked very hard. I think that it's a victory for James and for the team. This morning he was really concentrating but I know he was confident so we really expected this result.
"You need a push like this to feel confident for the future."