A season record of twenty-two cars passed scrutineering and took part in the free practice. WEATHER : Partly cloudy and cold with late morning showers. FIRST SESSION: LARINI FASTEST IN CLOSE PRACTICE Nicola Larini emerged as the fastest driver...
A season record of twenty-two cars passed scrutineering and took part in the free practice.
WEATHER : Partly cloudy and cold with late morning showers.
FIRST SESSION: LARINI FASTEST IN CLOSE PRACTICE
Nicola Larini emerged as the fastest driver in the first practice session, at the wheel of his Gta Racing Team Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 Gta. The Italian clocked a time of 1:42.062, just two tenths of a second faster than his team-mate and current Championship leader Fabrizio Giovanardi who set a time of 1:42.261 as the flag dropped.
In a very close session, eleven drivers managed to set times within the same second. The two BMW Team Deutschland drivers were classified third and fourth with a gap of 0.26 and 0.32 seconds respectively (Dirk Müller 1:42.263, Jörg Müller 1:42.323). Rickard Rydell, best of the local drivers drove the fastest of the Volvo cars, setting a time of 1:42.386, good for the fifth position. He was just ahead of fellow countryman Fredrik Ekblom in a BMW Team Belgium BMW 320i (1:42.656) and Luis Villamil in a Scuderia Bigazzi Alfa Romeo 156 Gta (1:42.764). Carly Motors ^Ö Team Isert drivers Tom Coronel and Peter Kox were eighth and ninth respectively with former Swedish Touring Car champion Tommy Rustad (RJN Motorsport Nissan Primera) tenth. Dart Racing^Òs Tom Ferrier was eleventh in his Alfa Romeo 156 Gta; his time of 1:43.016 was only nine tenths of a second behind Larini^Òs fastest time.
The second RJN Motorsport car, driven by Chris Goodwin, stopped on the track after three laps, due to electrical problems, while Paolo Ruberti^Òs AGS Motorsport Alfa 156 Gta came back to the pit due to an engine failure, without setting any timed laps.
SECOND SESSION: GIOVANARDI-LARINI UNDER THE 1:42. MARK In a session disrupted by a couple of showers, Fabrizio Giovanardi and Nicola Larini swapped places but continued to top the practice times. Both the Alfa Romeo men managed to break the 1:42 barrier, the only two drivers to do this. Giovanardi set the session^Òs fastest time with 1:41.809, beating Larini by a mere 0.099 seconds.
Local heroes Rickard Rydell and Fredrik Ekblom slightly improved their first session times to be classified third and fourth. Rydell clocked a time of 1:42.315 against Ekblom^Òs 1:42.604. Tom Ferrier had a bigger improvement, cutting down four tenths and climbing to a promising fifth place; 1:42.632 was his best time in the session.
Again a number of cars were timed within the same second, with Dirk Müller sixth, Luis Villamil seventh, Peter Kox eighth, James Hanson in the second Prodrive-built Volvo S60 ninth and Tom Coronel tenth. The latter was just 0.995 seconds slower than Giovanardi.
The CiBiEmme Honda Civic of Salvatore Tavano did not take part in the session due to an air box failure, while Sandro Sardelli^Òs sister car stopped on the track with a blown engine.
Jens Edman^Òs Flash Engineering Volvo S60 suffered from electrical problems and covered just a few laps. While AGS Motorsport and RJN Motorsport respectively solved the problems that sidelined Paolo Ruberti^Òs Alfa and Chris Goodwin^Òs Nissan in the first session.