ETCC: Battle Shaping Up at Monza

The European Super Touring Cup is heading to Monza, for performing in rounds 7 and 8 of its maiden season. On Saturday and Sunday, the famed and fast Autodromo Nazionale, home of the Italian F1 Grand Prix, will host the fourth act of the Super ...

The European Super Touring Cup is heading to Monza, for performing in rounds 7 and 8 of its maiden season. On Saturday and Sunday, the famed and fast Autodromo Nazionale, home of the Italian F1 Grand Prix, will host the fourth act of the Super Touring continental series. And it will surely be an exciting one.

After the first three race meetings, at Mugello, Pergusa and Zeltweg, a two-men fight for the leadership has emerged. As a matter of fact, Alfa Romeo's Fabrizio Giovanardi and Honda's Peter Kox have scored three wins apiece, so that they are actually first and second respectively in the series' classification, separated by 22 points.

Not far behind them is Alfa second gun, Nicola Larini; He trails Kox by 5 and from above his long international experience is just waiting for the right time to deliver his attack.

Monza, with its long straights and sharp chicanes, will be the perfect stage for another amazing fight between the Alfa boys and the "Flying Dutchman".

But Emanuele Naspetti and Gianni Morbidelli are well determined to break this Alfa-Honda supremacy in the series. Both BMW aces have proved in the previous rounds they and their cars can keep the leading pace. Naspetti was a close runner-up to Giovanardi at Pergusa and so was Morbidelli in Austria; the latest is also the best placed BMW driver in the points, lying actually 4th.

For them and the CiBiEmme team, Monza might become the turning point of the season.

After all, BMW has a strong tradition at Monza, where it won several Super Touring races in recent years. Naspetti, in particular, likes the track where he dominated in 1997, claiming pole position and scoring two wins. Though it was Alfa Romeo to make clean sweeps in the two latest seasons: three poles (all by Giovanardi) and six wins (one Larini's and five Giovanardi's) its Alfa's impressive record since the effective 156 replaced the old 155.

As to Kox, he knows the track since he has driven there in many test sessions for JAS; And the Dutchman definitely likes the superfast tracks, as he proved last year, when he won the BTCC round at Snetterton.

Those five men are top seeds for Euro STC's 7th and 8th rounds. But there is another driver who might be the race's dark horse: Roberto Colciago. The AGS Motorsport ace knows Monza like the back of his hand, as he was born in Saronno, some 15 minutes from there, and started his motorsports career on this very track, racing Formula Panda. In theory his four-wheel-driven Audi A4 Quattro it's not the most competitive car on the fast circuits, but it's the worth to remind that in 1995 Colciago won the Super Touring race here at the wheel of a privateer Opel Vectra, inflicting a burning and unexpected defeat to the works teams of Alfa Romeo, Audi and BMW.

<pre> EURO STC, ROUNDS 7 and 8 - FACTS & FIGURES Date: June 10/11, 2000; Venue: Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, 20025 Monza Parco (MI), Italy Website: Track: 5,770 m;

Super Touring qualifying record: 1:50.085, Fabrizio Giovanardi (Alfa Romeo 156), September 26, 1998;

Super Touring lap record: 1:51.946, Fabrizio Giovanardi (Alfa Romeo 156), September 26, 1999;

Timetable: Saturday 09.00-09.15 warm-up 11.15-12.00 practice 14.00-14.20 qualifying Sunday 09.00-09.15 warm-up 14.00 start of race-one (9 laps) 10-minute pause start of race-two (9 laps)

Supporting races: Italian F360 and F355 Ferrari Challenges, Alfa GTV Cup

TV coverage: highlights Tuesday afternoon on Eurosport, 18.00 Central European Time


team driver car 1 Alfa Romeo Team Nordauto Fabrizio Giovanardi (I) Alfa Romeo 156 Twin Spark 2 Alfa Romeo Team Nordauto Nicola Larini (I) Alfa Romeo 156 Twin Spark 3 BMW Team CiBiEmme Emanuele Naspetti (I) BMW 320i E36 4 BMW Team CiBiEmme Gianni Morbidelli (I) BMW 320i E36 5 AGS Motorsport Roberto Colciago (I) Audi A4 Quattro 6 AGS Motorsport Stefano Bonello (I) Audi A4 Quattro 7 Nordauto Engineering Romana Bernardoni (I) Alfa Romeo 156 Twin Spark 8 Nordauto Engineering Gianluca De Lorenzi (I) Alfa Romeo 156 Twin Spark 9 Christy's Team Massimo Pigoli (I) BMW 320i E36 10 Christy's Team Stefano Gabellini (I) BMW 320i E36 11 JAS Engineering Peter Kox (NL) Honda Accord 12 Team Isert Sandro Sardelli (I) BMW 320i E36 14 Soli Racing Team Moreno Soli (I) Alfa Romeo 156 Twin Spark 15 P.S.G.R. Guido Lucchetti Cigarini (I) Audi A4 Quattro 16 National Team Slovakia Andrej Studenic (SK) Audi A4 Quattro 18 Alda Motorsport Andrzej Dzjurka (PL) Audi A4 Quattro 20 Greyhound Racing Gianluca Roda (I) Opel Vectra 16V


Drivers Teams 1. Fabrizio Giovanardi 97 pts 1. Alfa Romeo Nordauto 173 pts 2. Peter Kox 75 2. BMW Team CiBiEmme 98 3. Nicola Larini 70 3. JAS Engineering 75 3. Gianni Morbidelli 53 4. Christy's Team 37 5. Gianluca De Lorenzi 46 5. AGS Motorsport 21

WEIGHT HANDICAPS 40 kg Giovanardi 30 kg Morbidelli 20 kg Larini 10 kg Kox

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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Peter Kox , Emanuele Naspetti , Gianni Morbidelli , Nicola Larini , Roberto Colciago , Stefano Gabellini , Gianluca Roda