Imola holds its breath It's back to Italy for round 8 of the Eurocup 2004, with the championship on course for a spectacular finale. Just one point separates Sharp, Mondini and Belicchi at the top of the standings, with Jani's superb weekend at...
Imola holds its breath
It's back to Italy for round 8 of the Eurocup 2004, with the championship on course for a spectacular finale. Just one point separates Sharp, Mondini and Belicchi at the top of the standings, with Jani's superb weekend at Spa putting him ten points adrift of current leader Sharp. Imola's technical and demanding circuit will take the pressure up a notch, as we enter the final six races in the fight for the title.
And to add even more spice to the mix, no fewer than five Italian drivers will be contending in their home round: Mondini and Proetto (EuroInternational), Bellarosa (Avellon), as well as Belicchi and Meneghello (AFC Motorsport). But the biggest cheers will be reserved for the real local boy, Christian Monanari (Victory Eng SpA.) from the Republic of San Marino. National pride will also be spurring on the Italian teams (EuroInternational, Avellon, AFC Motorsport, Victory Eng SpA and Cram Competition), who will be carefully preparing for this race meeting. In the end, though, the track has the final word...
The gloves will be coming off on Friday morning as we get underway with free qualifying. Equal on points with Mondini but with more second place finishes to his credit, means Ryan Sharp (Jenzer Motorsport) arrives at Imola as championship leader. Since the start of the season the two men have been battling it out for the top spot, with both now on 185 points. Sharp's mental coolness at Spa a month ago saw him stay solid under Jani's domination in qualifying and the Grand Race. Desperately seeking the race-winning form he enjoyed at Monza at the start of the season, the Scotsman is now back on track. But so is Mondini. Calm and on the pace, the Swiss-Italian is looking It's been up and down for Belicchi, whose races at Spa have had very different outcomes. In 2003, he sped off from Belgium to the church... for his wedding.
But back in July, Andrea took podium honours in race one, but ended the weekend in hospital after a tyre problem sent him into a terrible crash, leaving the Italian with concussion and knocking him off the top in the championship. But only by one point. And having regained his physical fitness, he's still one to watch in the title fight. A near-perfect weekend at Spa for Neel Jani has pulled him back up to the lead bunch. Now just ten points back overall, the Dams star could soon be setting the others straight. But it's a long road to the final chequered flag in Dubai on October 8, and until then there are still a few drivers that might shake things up for the leaders. Bell put in a fine performance at Spa, and Montanari is definitely one to keep an eye on: he's got the talent, and he'll be on home turf.
<pre> General classification after 7 rounds 1) Sharp (Jenzer Motorsport) 185 points 2) Mondini (EuroInternational) 185 points 3) Belicchi (AFC Motorsport) 184 points 4) Jani (Dams) 175 points 5) Bell (David Price Racing) 126 points 6) Campaniço (Cram Compétition) 84 points 7) Barth (Interwetten.com) 82 points 8) Pasini (Victory Eng. SpA) 74 points 9) Proetto (EuroInternational) 74 points 10) Lorgere Roux (Dams) 72 points