ETCC: A1 Ring Austria preview

Eurosport Super Racing Weekend - Round 7 A1 Ring Austria - August 24th - 26th, 2001 After the summer break, the Eurosport Super Racing Weekends resume for the seventh round, which will be held at the picturesque Austrian A1 Ring. The track is ...

Eurosport Super Racing Weekend - Round 7
A1 Ring Austria - August 24th - 26th, 2001

After the summer break, the Eurosport Super Racing Weekends resume for the seventh round, which will be held at the picturesque Austrian A1 Ring. The track is situated near the town of Spielberg, 90 km north-west of Graz and 190 km south west of Vienna. Set in the Austrian countryside, the changes of elevation and mix of corners present an interesting challenge for drivers and cars alike.

Peter Kox and Fabrizio Giovanardi both won rounds of the European Super Touring Cup at the A1 Ring last season, and both drivers will surely be looking to win again. Kox is currently 12 points behind fellow countryman Duncan Huisman in the Super Production Championship, while Giovanardi leads his team-mate Larini in the Super Touring Championship.

FIA EUROPEAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP

Championship Rundown

A record 39 cars will make up the field for the seventh meeting of the FIA European Touring Car Championship, 19 in the Super Touring Championship and 20 in the Super Production Championship. Both series are preparing themselves for the final title rush, with very close fights in prospect.

In the Super Touring Championship, Alfa Romeo is leading the classification, with Nordauto’s Fabrizio Giovanardi currently 16 points ahead of his team-mate Nicola Larini. The reigning Euro STC champion has been particularly successful in the last six races, collecting an outstanding average of 35.3 points per race and ousting Larini from the lead. Giovanardi has a good record at the A-1 Ring, finishing second and first in last season’s two Euro STC Austrian races. Gabriele Tarquini could be the deciding factor in the Giovanardi-Larini fight ; the Honda driver is respectively 68 and 52 points behind Alfa Romeo’s leading drivers. He is however recovering race after race and the A-1 Ring suits the Honda Accord very well.

In the Super Production Championship, Dutchman Duncan Huisman (Carly Motorsport BMW 320i) won at Zolder and Budapest, building up a 12-point lead over his fellow countryman Peter Kox (Ravaglia Motorsport BMW 320i). But, with the benefit of his better knowledge of the Austrian track, where he won a Euro STC race in 2000, Kox might be able to overturn the situation.

SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP

San Marino driver in the ESTC

Gianluca De Lorenzi’s team, GDL Racing, will enter a third BMW 320i in the FIA European Super Touring Championship. The car, previously run by CiBiEmme in the 2000 European Super Touring Cup, is owned by San Marino driver Stefano Valli. De Lorenzi and Valli recently signed a deal to race the German-built car in two rounds of the ESTC, in Austria and Estoril. 32-year old Stefano Valli will be driving the car which he also races in selected rounds of the Italian Drivers’ Trophy . He started his racing career in 1999, finishing 5th in the Italian Touring Car Championship’s N3 Class at the wheel of a Group N W&D Racing BMW 320i. Last season he won the N3 class title in the same car. This year he switched to a more powerful BMW M3 3-litre; with four wins, he is currently leading the N1 Class of the Italian Touring Car Championship. In the ESTC, GDL Racing will run Valli’s BMW alongside those of De Lorenzi and Moreno Soli .

The team is also taking part in the Super Production Championship, with a Honda Integra for Markus Palttala.

SUPER PRODUCTION CHAMPIONSHIP

Belgian Touring Car legend joins the ESPC

Jean-Michel Martin will take part in the next two rounds of the FIA European Super Production Championship, at the Austrian A-1 Ring on August 26th and at the Nürburgring, in Germany, on September 9th. He will be driving the BMW Belgium-backed BMW 320i E46 run by Carly Motorsport. The car has already been driven this season by Guino Kenis, Patrick Beliën, Frédéric Bouvy and Peter Beckers, with the best results coming from Kenis, 6th in Magny-Cours, and Bouvy, 6th at Silverstone. Martin is one of the most successful drivers in Belgian and international Touring Car history, with six national Touring Car titles and five 24-hour race wins to his name. The 58-year old clinched his first Belgian Touring Car crown in 1977 at the wheel of a Ford Capri. He won again in 1979 and 1980 with the same car, then again in 1986 in a BMW 635 Csl, and finally in 1989 and 1990 in a BMW M3. Martin is also the record holder (jointly with his fellow countryman Thierry Tassin) with four wins in the 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps : twice in a Ford Capri (1979 and 1980, sharing the car with his brother Philippe) and twice in a BMW M3 (1987 with Eric van de Poele and Didier Theys; 1992 with Steve Soper and Christian Danner). In 1992 Jean-Michel Martin also won the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Despite having recently reduced his motor sport activity, Martin is still a quick and reliable driver, and was the runner-up in the 2000 24 Hours of Spa in a BMW M3.

Two Peugeots for the SPC in Austria

Two Peugeot 306 Gtis from the Italian Championship will take part in the European Super Production Championship race at the A1 Ring. The French-built cars, entered by Tuscany-based Autofficina Rally, will be driven by two of the top drivers from the Italian Super Production Championship : Andrea Bacci and Alberto Viglione. 29-year old Bacci, from Firenze, is the reigning Italian Super Production champion, having won the 2000 title in a Peugeot 306. He also won the Italian Division 1 Group N CIVT series in 1999, again in a Peugeot 306. His team mate Viglione, 41, from Rome, is a race winner in Italian touring cars, and has been a title contender since 1989, finishing in third place overall in 1993, 1994 and 1995, at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo 33. Both drivers are currently second and third in the Italian Super Production Championship.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Circuit Length : 4.319 km/ 2.684 miles

On air on Eurosport :
Saturday, 25th August 2001 16:30 - 18:00 : Qualifying - live
Sunday 26th August 2001 18:00 - 20:30 : Races - delayed
Monday 27th August 2001 08.30 - 10.00 : Race - relive
Wednesday 29th August 2001 24:15 - 24:45 : Highlights
Thursday 30th August 2001 12:30 - 13:00 : Highlights repeat
Friday 31st August 2001 10:00 - 10:30 : Highlights repeat

Other races
Renault Formula 2000 Eurocup
FC Euro Series
Formula Volkswagen

2000 Results :
Euro STC
Pole : Peter Kox (Honda Accord) : 1:36.110
Race 1 : Peter Kox (Honda Accord ) - 12 laps in 19:45.634 ;
Race 2 : Fabrizio Giovanardi (Alfa Romeo 156) - 12 laps in 21:19.125

-Eurosport-

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Series General
Drivers Christian Danner , Fabrizio Giovanardi , Didier Theys , Peter Kox , Peter Becker , Duncan Huisman , Gabriele Tarquini , Steve Soper , Jean-Michel Martin , Nicola Larini , Markus Palttala , Stefano Valli , Guino Kenis