ETCC: Anderstorp: Rounds nine, ten race report

FIA European Touring Car Championship Rounds 9 And 10 Fabrizio Giovanardi is still leading the championship by 15 points, and his team-mate Nicola Larini managed to score his second win in a row. But something is changing in the FIA European ...

FIA European
Touring Car Championship
Rounds 9 And 10

Fabrizio Giovanardi is still leading the championship by 15 points, and his team-mate Nicola Larini managed to score his second win in a row. But something is changing in the FIA European Touring Car Championship. In Race 2 BMW and Jorg Muller stopped Alfa Romeo's streak of nine wins. The German drivers claimed a brilliant success after an exciting fight with Volvo's Rickard Rydell, with both Giovanardi and Larini finishing off the podium.

ATTENDANCE: 17,500 spectators on Sunday.

WEATHER: extremely changeable and cold; rainy in the morning, overcast and then sunny in the afternoon when the sun broke through between the two races.

WARM-UP: BMW SINGING IN THE RAIN
The drivers had their first laps on a wet track, with four BMW cars leading the times. Fredrik Ekblom set the fastest time at 1:52.885 ahead of Jorg Muller (1:52.905), Tom Coronel (1:52.969) and Dirk Muller (1:53.028). The first of the front-wheel drive cars was Tommy Rustad's Nissan Primera (1:53.970) followed by Rickard Rydell's Volvo S60 (1:53.066) and Fabrizio Giovanardi's Alfa Romeo 156 (1:53.159). Pole sitter Nicola Larini was classified tenth in the session.

RACE ONE: LARINI WINS FROM GIOVANARDI AND RYDELL
Start: Twenty-one cars line up on the grid, as Sandro Sardelli's CiBiEmme Honda Civic had been withdrawn due to persistent engine problems. The rain had stopped, but the track was still wet.

From pole position Larini takes a good start and jumps into the lead, followed by Rydell, Ekblom and Ferrier.

Lap 1: Ferrier slips down from fourth to seventh, having been passed by Giovanardi and the two Mullers. Rydell is closely chasing Larini; the Swede tries to pass on the last corner, the two cars clash and both drivers keep their own positions. top-ten positions: 2 -- 60 -- 10 -- 1 -- 43 -- 42 -- 20 -- 61 -- 9 -- 5

Lap 2: Ekblom misses the braking point and goes straight in the mud at the first corner, losing the third position and rejoining at the back. Dirk Muller manages to overtake Giovanardi for third. Rydell is once more on Larini's tail. Hanson overtakes Ferrier for sixth and also sets the fastest lap of the race with 1:53.378. Goodwin's Nissan retires due to an engine failure.
Top-ten positions: 2 -- 60 -- 43 -- 1 -- 42 -- 61 -- 20 -- 9 -- 5 -- 6

Lap 3: Dirk Muller goes off, his car stuck in the mud; Giovanardi moves up to third again. After the race the German driver accused the Italian of having punted him off. Gene overtakes Kox for seventh.
Top-ten positions: 2 -- 60 -- 1 -- 42 -- 61 -- 20 -- 5 -- 9 -- 6 -- 14

Lap 4: Jorg Muller closes in on Giovanardi. De Simone, Ruberti and Coronel fight for ninth place.
Top-ten positions: 2 -- 60 -- 1 -- 42 -- 61 -- 20 -- 5 -- 9 -- 6 -- 14

Lap 5: Larini manages to increase his leading margin, while the Giovanardi-Jorg Muller-Hanson trio closes in on Rydell. Coronel and Huisman pass Ruberti, pushing him down to 12th.
Top-ten positions: 2 -- 60 -- 1 -- 42 -- 61 -- 20 -- 5 -- 9 -- 6 -- 7

Lap 6: Rydell is under great pressure from Giovanardi and Jorg Muller. The German driver manages to pass the Italian for third but runs wide over the kerbs handing the position back. Cayrolle overtakes Ruberti for 12th.
Top-ten positions: 2 -- 60 -- 1 -- 42 -- 61 -- 20 -- 5 -- 9 -- 6 -- 7

Lap 7: Jorg Muller goes straight at the same corner where his team-mate went off and rejoins in fifth position. Giovanardi steal second place from Rydell.
Top-ten positions: 2 -- 1 -- 60 -- 61 -- 42 -- 20 -- 5 -- 9 -- 6 -- 7

Lap 8: Gene overtakes Ferrier for sixth.
Top-ten positions: 2 -- 1 -- 60 -- 61 -- 42 -- 5 -- 20 -- 9 -- 6 -- 7

Lap 9: The lines are drying. Hanson is closely chasing his team-mate Rydell.
Top-ten positions: 2 -- 1 -- 60 -- 61 -- 42 -- 5 -- 20 -- 9 -- 6 -- 7

Lap 10: Gene is closing on Jorg Muller.
Top-ten positions: 2 -- 1 -- 60 -- 61 -- 42 -- 5 -- 20 -- 9 -- 6 -- 7

Lap 11: Hanson tries to dive inside Rydell, but he brakes on the wet and goes off the track. The Briton loses four positions before rejoining. Edman retires with a broken gearbox.
Top-ten positions: 2 -- 1 -- 60 -- 42 -- 5 -- 20 -- 61 -- 9 -- 6 -- 7

Lap 12: Huisman and Villamil are chasing Coronel who is seventh. During the close battle Huisman spins after a contact with Villamil and loses a number of places.
Top-ten positions: 2 -- 1 -- 60 -- 42 -- 5 -- 20 -- 61 -- 9 -- 6 -- 7

Lap 13: Larini claims his second win in a row, from Giovanardi, Rydell and Jorg Muller. Gene and Ferrier finish fifth and sixth respectively, scoring their first points in the championship. Ekblom manages to recover to 11th after his off on the second lap. Hason, whose splitter was broken when he went off on lap 11, cannot defend his seventh position and drops down to tenth.

Final positions: 2 -- 1 -- 60 -- 42 -- 5 -- 20 -- 9 -- 6 -- 7 -- 61

RACE TWO: JORG MÜLLER CLAIMS BMW'S FIRST WIN

Three cars did not show up on the grid: Edman's Volvo and Goodwin's Nissan due to the technical failures they suffered in Race One. As for Tavano's Honda, it stopped on the side of the track during the formation lap with a broken suspension.

The sun is shining and the track has dried up. All drivers go for slick tyres. Ferrier is on pole as a result of his sixth position in Race One, with Gene alongside him.

Start: Gene takes the lead at the start, while Ferrier manages to turn into the first corner in second place ahead of Jorg Muller.

Lap 1: At the end of the long straight Gene misses the braking point and runs wide, followed by Ferrier. Rydell, who had passed Jorg Muller, inherits the lead. De Simone is in third position thanks to a good start. Rustad goes off following a collision with Cayrolle and remains stuck in the gravel trap. To avoid being involved, Larini slips down to the back of the field.
Top-ten positions: 60 -- 42 -- 6 -- 9 -- 1 -- 61 -- 10 -- 7 -- 16 - 14

Lap 2: Hanson's Volvo is heavily damaged after it crashed into the barrier following a collision with Kox's BMW. Ekblom benefits from the situation and moves up to third.
Top-ten positions: 60 -- 42 -- 10 -- 6 -- 1 -- 7 -- 9 -- 16 -- 43 -- 2

Lap 3: Giovardi tries to overtake De Simone who shuts the door and the championship leader risks losing his fourth position to Coronel. Seven drivers are fighting for the fourth place -- De Simone, Giovanardi, Coronel, Kox, Cayrolle, Dirk Muller and Larini -- all packed within 1.8 seconds.
Top-ten positions: 60 -- 42 -- 10 -- 6 -- 1 -- 7 -- 9 -- 16 -- 43 -- 2

Lap 4: Giovanardi overtakes De Simone for fourth. Larini and Dirk Muller move up to eighth and ninth as Cayrolle reduces his pace.
Top-ten positions: 60 -- 42 -- 10 -- 1 -- 6 -- 7 -- 9 -- 2 -- 43 -- 16

Lap 5: Larini overtakes Kox for seventh. Cayrolle retires with a broken suspension, consequence of his accident with Rustad on lap 1.
Top-ten positions: 60 -- 42 -- 10 -- 1 -- 6 -- 7 -- 2 -- 9 -- 43 -- 5

Lap 6: Dirk Muller passes Kox for eighth. Larini overtakes Coronel for sixth.
Top-ten positions: 60 -- 42 -- 10 -- 1 -- 6 -- 2 -- 7 -- 43 -- 9 -- 5

Lap 7: Larini claims another position by overtaking De Simone. Jorg Muller closes in on Rydell, whose leading margin has been cut to 0.8 seconds.
Top-ten positions: 60 -- 42 -- 10 -- 1 -- 2 -- 6 -- 7 -- 43 -- 9 -- 5

Lap 8: Rydell reacts, stretching out his margin to 1.2 seconds. Kox overtakes Dirk Muller to retake eighth position.
Top-ten positions: 60 -- 42 -- 10 -- 1 -- 2 -- 6 -- 7 -- 9 -- 43 -- 5

Lap 9: Kox and Dirk Muller continue their door-to-door duel for eighth place, with De Simone and Coronel also fighting closely for sixth. Larini overtakes Giovanardi for fourth.
Top-ten positions: 60 -- 42 -- 10 -- 2 -- 1 -- 6 -- 7 -- 9 -- 43 -- 5

Lap 11: Jorg Muller closes again on Rydell; the gap between them reduced to 0.4 seconds. De Simone goes off after a collision with Coronel.
Top-ten positions: 60 -- 42 -- 10 -- 2 -- 1 -- 7 -- 43 -- 9 -- 5 -- 20

Lap 12: Rydell defends his lead from Jorg Muller's attacks. Ferrier overtakes Gene for ninth.
Top-ten positions: 60 -- 42 -- 10 -- 2 -- 1 -- 7 -- 43 -- 9 -- 20 -- 5

Lap 13: Jorg Muller is close behind Rydell's Volvo's rear bumper and finally manages to takes the lead three corners from the end. The German driver scores BMW's first win of the season, from Rydell and Ekblom who both claim podium positions for their home race. Larini runs wide at the last corner handing fourth position to Giovanardi. Dirk Muller wins the all-BMW final rush for sixth place from Coronel, Kox and Gene.

Final positions: 60 -- 42 -- 10 -- 1 -- 2 -- 43 -- 7 -- 9 -- 5 -- 20

Fabrizio Giovanardi, Gta Racing Team Nordauto : "It was not really a lucky weekend. I made a mistake in the qualifying session and had a problem with the exhaust. However, the second row on the starting grid was enough. In the first race, I was not as fast as Nicola. I just tried to follow him and pushed him for the last three laps. It was not enough to overtake him. In the second race, we tried to change the set up from wet to dry. But it was wrong and it was difficult to do a good race".

Nicola Larini, Gta Racing Team Nordauto : "Since the beginning of the weekend, I have a good feeling and the car had a good set up. We chose a very low downforce, there was nearly nothing at the rear, which made it really difficult to drive at the beginning of the first race. I had problems with Rydell for the first three laps and then I could pull away. I also had a lot of oversteering when braking but when I warmed up the tyres, particularly the right side, the car was good. In the second race, I had a good start and I was third in the second corner. But a car in front of me spun off and Fabrizio was close to me. We were really close together in the next corner. I was on the outside where it was wet and I went straight on the grass. Due to this, I lost 15 positions. I was however able to recover to 4th position and for the last laps, I tried to keep the position but it was impossible. I was going too fast at the last braking point and I went straight. In the end, it made me lose just one point."

Jorg Muller, BMW Team Deutschland : "It was a very tough race for me. It was a very hard start with a lot of contacts. I was starting on a wet patch so I had a lot of wheel spin and I did not go off the line really well. We had a little bit of contact in the first corner and I was second immediately behind Rickard. All of a sudden there was a big gap behind us and I do not know what happened. I just tried to stay behind Rickard as usually he is faster than we are. I thought second place was fine for me really. In the end when I passed Rickard, I do not know what happened to him. We had the same pace for the whole race but in the last three laps, he got a little bit slower. I do not know if his tyres worn off or if he had some other problem. He tried to block me but it was fair and we had a nice fight. I touched him a few times but it was soft. He did not want to spin him around. He tried to close into turn 5 and went a little bit wide, and I went into the inside. At that stage, I believe that my tyres were better than his. In race 1, we had a very good car in the rain -- even with the dry set up I had. I was happy to come from 8th position and to finish in the points. This enabled me to start from the second row in the second race. That was my goal. You have to finish the first race to get to the points in the second. I was driving very conservatively."

Rickard Rydell, Volvo S60 Racing Team : "I am very pleased with the car. We are not quick enough in the straights but very quick in the corners. The engine is not good enough. During the race, we had a similar pace to Jorg. As long as I had a gap it was OK but when he closed up at the end, it was very difficult to fight. He was quicker on the straight and I was quicker in the corners but overall, on the lap, he was a little bit quicker. I then had to defend the line, brake on the inside and then you lose at least a second a lap. It is very difficult to drive that way. I wish it was the other way around as it would be easier to overtake ! It is nice to drive against Jorg Muller. He touched me at the back but I was defending the line."

Fredrik Ekblom, BMW Team Belgium : "It is fantastic to be here in the context of an international Championship. In race 1, it was very disappointing as we were quick in the warm up in the rain. We had a very good car for those conditions; I was very well placed and after the start, I took 3rd place. I was on the outside of Rickard, I came out well from the last corner so I had a bit more speed. They were fighting for the lead so I went on the outside. Either there was too much water or I was too fast. I went off. I was down last and I could only finish 11th ! That gave me the opportunity to catch up in the second race. I had a good start and then it was hard driving !"

Jordi Gene, BMW Team Spain : "We really needed a weekend like this. I finished 5th in race 1, scoring the first points for the team and I could have finished third in race 2. It was not only because of the points but we had a very good weekend being always on the pace with the other BMW cars. I am quite happy because we touched the bottom in Jarama and now we are starting to improve. In race 1, the car was very good. I was feeling very comfortable and I managed to overtake every car I was chasing. In the end, I had the feeling that my car was good enough to overtake Jorg Muller but I did not want to risk it. I decided to settle for 5th position. In the second race, I made a very good start and took the lead. At the end of the straight, I do not know what happened. Maybe someone touched me from behind or maybe I braked too late. Anyway, I missed the line and went off."

Tom Ferrier, Dart Racing : "We are very happy to have scored a point. Qualifying was really good for us. It was a shame it was wet in the first race because we could have finished quite high up in the dry. I started from pole in the second race but in the corner after the straight, Gene braked very late and I braked with him and went off. It was annoying because our technical director said that our times in the race were quick and we could have finished third or fourth easily. It is nice to be at the front again. I have never driven the car in the wet before and I was not very happy with the set up. I had lots of understeer. It was nice to get a point, it was our aim for the weekend".

-etcc-

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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Dirk Müller , Tom Coronel , Jorg Muller , Rickard Rydell , Jordi Gene , Nicola Larini , Tom Ferrier , Tommy Rustad