ETCC: Brno: Final race report

Fabrizio Giovanardi continues to dominate the 2002 FIA European Touring Car Championship, having won five races out of the six held so far this season. He increased his Championship lead to 20 points over his team-mate Nicola Larini, who finished...

Fabrizio Giovanardi continues to dominate the 2002 FIA European Touring Car Championship, having won five races out of the six held so far this season. He increased his Championship lead to 20 points over his team-mate Nicola Larini, who finished twice in third place today. Dirk Müller obtained BMW's best result so far this season, scoring two second places. Rickard Rydell, who fought for the pole position on Saturday, retired in the first race after a collision with Giovanardi.

WEATHER: partly cloudy and warm, with a dry track.

RACE ONE: GIOVANARDI WINS AGAIN AS RYDELL SPINS OFF

Start: Tommy Rustad's Nissan, 17th in qualifying, occupies the 20th and last spot of the grid as a consequence of the engine change which took place yesterday morning.

From the second row, Dirk Müller takes the best start and jumps into the lead chased by Rydell, Giovanardi, Larini and Jörg Müller.

Lap 1: Rydell and Giovanardi both overtake Dirk Müller to move up to first and second. The Swede and the Italian are having a tough fight for the lead, their cars clashing door-to-door, which resultd in Rydell spinning off the track. Dirk Müller benefits from the situation to retake the lead from Larini and Giovanardi. At the end of the lap Rydell comes into the pits. Morbidelli retires after a collision with Ferrier.
Top-ten positions: 43 - 2 - 1 - 42 - 15 - 10 - 9 - 61 - 5 - 11

Lap 2: Dirk Müller sets the fastest lap at 2:14.747 and manages to build a narrow margin while Larini and Giovanardi are fighting for second. Right behind them is Villamil who has just passed Jörg Müller for fourth. Kox and Hanson overtake Ekblom moving up to sixth and seventh respectively. Giovanardi finally dives inside Larini to take second place.
Top-ten positions: 43 - 1 - 2 - 15 - 42 - 9 - 61 - 10 - 5 - 11

Lap 3: Giovanardi sets a new fastest lap at 2:14.266 and closes on Dirk Müller. Hanson overtakes Kox for sixth. Ruberti overtakes Rustad for tenth.
Ttop-ten positions: 43 - 1 - 2 - 15 - 42 - 61 - 9 - 10 - 5 - 14

Lap 4: Giovanardi is stuck on the tail of Dirk Müller's BMW. Hanson overtakes Jörg Müller for fourth. Ruberti overtakes Gené for ninth and Cayrolle overtakes Rustad for eleventh. Rydell rejoins the race and sets a new fastest lap at 2:14.249.
Top-ten positions: 43 - 1 - 2 - 15 - 61 - 42 - 9 - 10 - 14 - 5

Lap 5: Giovanardi manages to take the lead, overtaking Dirk Müller at the end of the straight. Hanson is chasing Villamil for fourth. Cayrolle overtakes Gené for tenth.
Top-ten positions: 1 - 43 - 2 - 15 - 61 - 42 - 9 - 10 - 14 - 16

Lap 6: Four drivers are fighting each other for a top-ten place: Cayrolle, Gené, Rustad and Coronel. Rustad overtakes Gené for eleventh. Hanson and Jörg Müller overtake Villamil moving up to fourth and fifth. Rydell comes into the pits again and retires.
Top-ten positions: 1 - 43 - 2 - 61 - 42 - 15 - 9 - 10 - 14 - 16

Lap 7: Giovanardi is pulling away from Dirk Müller at a rate of half-a-second per lap. Ekblom is chasing Kox for seventh.
Top-ten positions: 1 - 43 - 2 - 61 - 42 - 15 - 9 - 10 - 14 - 16

Lap 8: Jörg Müller is closely chasing Hanson.
Top-ten positions: 1 - 43 - 2 - 61 - 42 - 15 - 9 - 10 - 14 - 16

Lap 9: Coronel overtakes Gené for 12th. Hanson works hard to defend fourth position from Müller.
Top-ten positions: 1 - 43 - 2 - 61 - 42 - 15 - 9 - 10 - 14 - 16

Lap 10: Giovanardi takes the chequered flag first from Dirk Müller and Larini. Hanson manages to maintain fourth position despite Jörg Müller's tries. Gené drops down to 16th, his car damaged after a collision with Coronel.

Final positions: 1 - 43 - 2 - 61 - 42 - 15 - 9 - 10 - 14 - 16

RACE TWO: FIFTH WIN OUT OF SIX RACES FOR GIOVANARDI

Morbidelli's car does not rejoin the grid due to the damages suffered in the first-race accident. Villamil is sitting on pole of the top-six reverse grid, with Jörg Müller alongside him.

Start: The two Müllers start well and manage to turn first and second into the first corner with Jörg ahead of Dirk. Villamil is third, chased by Hanson and Larini.

Lap 1: Larini overtakes Hanson for fourth. Kox flies off the track after a collision with Coronel. Villamil also spins off punted by Rustad. Bernardoni restires with transmission problems. Giovanardi is attacking Hanson for fourth, they clash door-to-door and Giovanardi manages to pass.
Top-ten positions: 42 - 43 - 2 - 1 - 61 - 11 - 10 - 14 - 7 - 16

Lap 2: Ruberti overtakes Ekblom for seventh. Rydell is recovering after his start from the back of the grid and passes Cayrolle for tenth. Giovanardi sets the race's fastest lap at 2:12.760.
Top-ten positions: 42 - 43 - 2 - 1 - 61 - 11 - 14 - 10 - 7 - 60

Lap 3: Giovanardi overtakes Larini for third. Ruberti overtakes Rustad for sixth while Ekblom and Coronel have a close fight behind them.
Top-ten positions: 42 - 43 - 1 - 2 - 61 - 14 - 11 - 10 - 7 - 60

Lap 4: Rydell overtakes Coronel, Ekblom and Rustad, one after the other, moving up to seventh.
Top-ten positions: 42 - 43 - 1 - 2 - 61 - 14 - 60 - 11 - 10 - 7

Lap 5: The two Alfa cars of Giovanardi and Larini are closely chasing the two BMW cars of Jörg and Dirk Müller. Coronel overtakes Ekblom for ninth.
Top-ten positions: 42 - 43 - 1 - 2 - 61 - 14 - 60 - 11 - 7 - 10

Lap 6: Ekblom pits after a collision with Rustad and retires with damages to the front splitter and a puncture.
Top-ten positions: 42 - 43 - 1 - 2 - 61 - 14 - 60 - 11 - 7 - 16

Lap 7: Dirk Müller steals the lead from his team-mate Jörg Müller who also lost second place to Giovanardi. Rydell overtakes Ruberti for sixth.
Top-ten positions: 43 - 1 - 42 - 2 - 61 - 60 - 14 - 11 - 7 - 16

Lap 8: Giovanardi takes the lead overtaking Dirk Müller. Larini overtakes Jörg Müller for third. Rustad retires from eighth with a broken clutch pedal.
Top-ten positions: 1 - 43 - 2 - 42 - 61 - 60 - 14 - 7 - 16 - 5

Lap 10: Giovanardi scores another win from Dirk Müller, Larini, Jörg Müller, Hanson and Rydell. De Simone and Gené overtake Cayrolle, moving up to ninth and tenth respectively.
Top-ten positions: 1 - 43 - 2 - 42 - 61 - 60 - 14 - 7 - 6 - 5

Fabrizio Giovanardi, nr 1 Gta Racing Team Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 GTA : "Our car is the strongest one around the circuit. The others are improving but not enough. Still, we have to work a lot to stay ahead. Regarding my collision with Rickard Rydell, I had overtaken him. When I went out of the last chicane, I was not so fast. I was on the left part of the track. I don' t know why Rickard tried to pass me there. We touched. In the second race, I was staying behing the Schnitzer BMW cars to be safe. However, our car was faster in the straights which enabled me to overtake them and take the lead".

Nicola Larini, nr 2 Gta Racing Team Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 GTA: "I did not have an easy weekend as I had understeer problems all through and I lost a lot of points in the Championship. BMW is improving as their cars have more torque now. At the end of the straight, they are a little bit faster but not at the beginning. At the next event, in Jarama, we will see what happens as the track is narrow and it is more difficult to overtake. For the Championship, anything can still happen. We will see after Race 7. "

Luis Villamil, nr 15 Scuderia Bigazzi Alfa Romeo 156 GTA : "The first race was very good for me because it gave me my first points in the Championship. It could have even be better if Hanson had not hit me when overtaking me. This collision made me drop from 4th to 6th. This result enabled me to start from pole in the second race, although I would have prefered to finish fourth and start from the second row. The car was very good and therefore, I was able to keep on the pace with the leading drivers. In the second race, I took a very good start but I made a mistake in the second corner as Giovanardi was putting pressure on me. I lost concentration and I spun. I lost a couple of positions and a few moments later, Rustad punted me off. After this collision, the car was not as good anymore. I had steering and tyre wear problems. I am a bit disappointed as it was a good opportunity to finish in the points twice".

Dirk Müller, nr 43 BMW Team Germany BMW 320i E46 : "This is the best result for BMW so far. I had a great fight with my team-mate Jörg Müller in race 2. Our car was really good in the corners here but we are losing time in the straights. Since the last event, we found something in the torque and we now have a better engine. The Schnitzer team worked well all through the weekend. Both Jörg and I had not been here for ten years, so it took some time to find the right set up. Alfa had an easy race in comparison. Their cars were flying on the straights. I never thought I would finish twice second and I am really happy for the team."

Rickard Rydell, nr 60 Volvo S60 Racing Team Volvo S60: "The race was very disappointing for me, especially when being taken off by Giovanardi. We touched each other on the first lap but I had a better exit in a corner than Giovanardi. He touched me and I spun. We complained but the stewards said that there was not enough evidence. Without the accident, I had more in hand as we did a 12.7 at the beginning of the second race and no one could match that. The two works Alfas are better than any other car and I think that we still have to do more development to be on power with them. We can do a good lap, be quick sometimes. The biggest difference is in straight line speed. The fact that we do the same time in qualifying means that we go around the corners much better. The Alfas just have a very good engine. We will see at Jarama. I think it should suit us OK. Right now, I am just very disappointed".

James Hanson, nr 61 Volvo S60 Racing Team Volvo S60: : "The car was very good as we had quite a lot of improvements for this race. I did a day of testing between the two events, and that helped a lot. It put my mileage in testing up to two days in a front wheel drive race car. In the first race, I was 13th in the first corner and then, I passed 3 cars on the first lap and then one or two cars a lap. Villamil complained about me in the first race but that's racing. I could complain about Giovanardi in the second race . We are here to race for a position, it is not a procession. Obviously I am very pleased to finish in the points in both races. The car should be quite good in Jarama."

-ctcc-

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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Dirk Müller , Jorg Muller , Rickard Rydell , Nicola Larini , Tommy Rustad