ETCC: Cerklje race results

EURO STC - ROUNDS 19 and 20 @RACE RESULTS - weather: overcast, track: damp, temperature 15C. GIOVANARDI CLINCHES EURO STC TITLE IN SLOVENIA WHILE COLCIAGO AND MORBIDELLI SCORE A WIN APIECE Fabrizio Giovanardi is the first Euro STC champion....

EURO STC - ROUNDS 19 and 20 @RACE RESULTS - weather: overcast, track: damp, temperature 15C.

GIOVANARDI CLINCHES EURO STC TITLE IN SLOVENIA WHILE COLCIAGO AND MORBIDELLI SCORE A WIN APIECE

Fabrizio Giovanardi is the first Euro STC champion. The Alfa Romeo man clinched the title at the end of race-one, thank to his 4th place. His rival, Peter Kox, had a very difficult race, after a collision at the start with teammate Tarquini. The Dutchman, then, accused Giovanardi for the accident.

But, sadly, Kox was victim of Honda's worst weekend since the beginning of the season. For the first time, indeed, the JAS Accords were far off the winning pace. "We had no experience on slow tracks like this one. And the decision to cancel free practice, because of the rain, put us in troubles", team chief Alessandro Mariani said.

With Giovanardi and Kox focused on the title, Roberto Colciago and his AGS Motorsport Audi A4 dominated race-one; they failed to repeat in race-two because of a broken gearbox. Surely the track conditions were ideal for the 4-wheel-drive German car, and surely Colciago had nothing to lose, but he was very close to score a 6th success, becoming the winningest driver of the season. The 6th position in the final classification is not enough for him. Thus it was Morbidelli's time to report race-two, that enabled the BMW man to equalize the number of wins scored by Giovanardi, Kox and Colciago. They all have won 5, but some other drivers should have deserved to score at least one. First of all Nicola Larini and Emanuele Naspetti, who had to help their best placed teammates during the season; but also Alfa young gun Gianluca De Lorenzi, who proved he could win the second race at Cerklje.

RACE-ONE. The rain had stopped, but the track was still damp and all drivers went on wet tyres. Colciago took the lead from the pole, chased by Naspetti, Morbidelli and Larini. In the middle of the field, Kox was punted from behind into Tarquini's car; "Giovanardi did it!", the Dutchman said after the race. Both Hondas rejoined the race, but they lost contact with the leading group. Colciago increased his margin, while BMW teammates Naspetti and Morbidelli, fought hard for second position. On lap 8 they tangled and Morbidelli spun; Larini had to brake to avoid the collision and De Lorenzi jumped into third place, but few moments later he went wide and Larini overtook him again. Giovanardi was comfortably running 5th, that was enough for securing him the crown, as Kox was only 7th under Morbidelli's attack. The two of them clashed a couple of times and eventually the BMW man passed for good. On lap 20, De Lorenzi let Giovanardi through and soon afterwards hit the tyres that were marking a chicane and lost also 5th place to Pigoli. Because of a punctured tyre (the rear left), Naspetti slowed down and Larini got him for second at the last bend. Colciago scored an easy win and Giovanardi classified 4th to grab the title.

RACE-TWO. The track was drying and most of the drivers chose slicks; Morbidelli, Pigoli, Leslie and De Lorenzi, though, remained on wets. Tarquini took the start from the pit lane, for replacing a broken antiroll bar. Colciago took the lead again from Naspetti and Pigoli; while De Lorenzi hit Giovanardi, who spun and rejoined the race last. If not for Colciago's 4-wheel-drive Audi, the wet tyres proved the right choice. Naspetti dropped down, while De Lorenzi and Morbidelli managed to overtake Pigoli on lap 5. They began to fight hard for second position and in the meantime they closed the gap to Colciago, whose gearbox has started to fail. On lap 16 the winner of race-one gave up and De Lorenzi inherited the lead, closely chased by Mordbidelli. On lap 19 De Lorenzi hit the tyre-barrier at the chicane and Morbidelli got him for good. Behind the leading duo, Pigoli was trying to defend his third position from Leslie's and Larini's assaults; on the last-but-one lap, the Christy's man braked too late at the chicane and crashed into the tail of Bernardoni's car. Leslie had to brake and Larini was quick to grab third place.

GIOVANARDI: TIN-TOP SUPERSTAR

When he drove his Alfa into the pit lane, at the end of race-one, Fabrizio Giovanardi hardly stopped it before jumping off the cockpit to fall in the arms of Mauro and Monica Sipsz, chiefs of the Nordauto Alfa Romeo team. For Giovanardi it was the happy ending of a perfect season, that saw him scoring five wins, but fighting in each race, even in the hardest conditions, without never giving up. Indeed, consistency was his winning card, as he scored points in all the 20 rounds of the . series "I knew it was important to mark points everytime, because Kox and the Honda were tough competitors. Until the final round, his Accord proved the best car of the field and I had to rely on the few "0" they scored. I'm very happy, for the team and for myself, because I hope that this title will finally convince a lot of people that I'm not only good in the Italian championship".

Giovanardi, 34, is from Sassuolo, which is 20-km from Maranello. After many wins in karting, he moved to F3 and was runner-up in 1988 Italian championship. He raced three years in F3000, obtaining one win (at Vallelunga in 1989, on his 2nd race in the FIA Championship) and two podiums. In 1991 he moved to Touring Cars, to drive a works Peugeot 405 in the new 2-litre class of the Italian Super Touring championship; the year after he clinched the class crown. In 1993 he fought with BMW's Ravaglia and Alfa's Tarquini for the overall championship; scored 5 wins to finish a close runner-up to Ravaglia. In 1994, still at Peugeot, he finished 3rd in the championship, then he signed for Alfa to be 3rd again in 1995 behind Audi duo Pirro-Capello. 1996 was his worst season as he only classified 5th, despite two wins, but he came back in 1997, collecting 5 successes and being runner-up to Capello. That year he also won the Spanish championship. At the wheel of the new Alfa 156, he claimed two Italian titles in 1998 and 1999, scoring a total of 16 wins.

<pre> RACE RESULTS

RACE-ONE - 24 laps 1. Roberto Colciago (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 27:51.033 103.667 kmh

2. Nicola Larini (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 28:43.171 + 52.138

3. Emanuele Naspetti (I) CiBiEmme Engineering BMW 320i E36 28:43.660 + 52.627

4. Fabrizio Giovanardi (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 28:45.356 + 54.323

5. Massimo Pigoli (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 28:48.491 + 57.458

6. Gianluca De Lorenzi (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 28:53.636 + 1:02.603

7. Stefano Gabellini (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 28:54.947 + 1:03.914

8. Gianni Morbidelli (I) CiBiEmme Engineering BMW 320i E36 28:58.800 + 1:07.767

9. Peter Kox (NL) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 29:05.536 + 1:14.503

10. David Leslie (GB) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 29:05.866 + 1:14.833

11. Gabriele Tarquini (I) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 28:15.372 + 1 lap

12. Moreno Soli (I) Soli Racing Team Alfa Romeo 156 28:32.496 + 1 lap

13. Gianluca Roda (I) Greyhound Motorsport Opel Vectra 16V 28:38.426 + 1 lap

14. Romana Bernardoni (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 29:01.030 + 1 lap

15. Heinrich Symanzick (D) Raceline Racing Team Opel Vectra 16V 28:00.221 + 2 laps

Dns Misel Zupancic (SLO) Plantex Sport Olimpija BMW 318is E36

Dns Tanasije Kuvalja (YU) Tanasije Kuvalja BMW 318is E36

Dns Fabrizio De Simone (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro

Fastest lap: Colciago, 1:08.418, average speed 105.50 kmh, on lap 6

RACE-TWO - 24 laps

1. Gianni Morbidelli (I) BMW Team CiBiEmme BMW 320i E36 28:45.536 100.393 kmh

2. Gianluca De Lorenzi (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 28:53.599 + 8.063

3. Nicola Larini (I) Alfa Romeo Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 29:09.680 + 24.144

4. Massimo Pigoli (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 29:10.819 + 25.283

5. David Leslie (GB) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 29:12.062 + 26.526

6. Gabriele Tarquini (I) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 29:13.530 + 27.994

7. Moreno Soli (I) Soli Racing Team Alfa Romeo 156 29:39.830 + 54.294

8. Peter Kox (NL) JAS Engineering Honda Accord 29:41.565 + 56.029

9. Emanuele Naspetti (I) BMW Team CiBiEmme BMW 320i E36 29:50.991 + 1:05.455

10. Fabrizio Giovanardi (I) Alfa Romeo Nordauto Alfa Romeo 156 29:54.418 + 1:08.882

11. Stefano Gabellini (I) Christy's Team BMW 320i E36 29:37.224 + 1 lap

12. Heinrich Symanzick (D) Raceline Racing Team Opel Vectra 16V 30:02.377 + 2 laps

13. Romana Bernardoni (I) Nordauto Engineering Alfa Romeo 156 26:40.394 + 3 laps

Dnf Roberto Colciago (I) AGS Motorsport Audi A4 Quattro 18:03.112 + 9 laps

Dnf Gianluca Roda (I) Greyhound Motorsport Opel Vectra 16V 6:52.433 + 2 laps

Fastest lap: Kox, 1:09.460, average speed 103.91 kmh, on lap 24

EURO STC FINAL POINTS

Drivers

1. Fabrizio Giovanardi 256 pts; 2. Peter Kox 232; 3. Gianni Morbidelli 202; 4. Nicola Larini 195; 5. Emanuele Naspetti 174; 6. Roberto Colciago 154; 7. Gianluca De Lorenzi 127; 8. Massimo Pigoli 76; 9. Stefano Gabellini 57; 10. Moreno Soli 23; 11. Andrej Studenic 23; 12. Guido Lucchetti Cigarini 17; 13. Johnny Cecotto 14; 14. Stefano Bonello 13; 15. Romana Bernardoni 13; 16. Gabriele Tarquini 10; 17. Sandro Sardelli 10; 18. David Leslie 9; 19. Gianluca Roda 6; 20. Andrzej Dziurka 6; 21. Fabrizio De Simone 3.

Teams

1. Nordauto Engineering 489 pts; 2. CiBiEmme Engineering 376; 3. JAS Engineering 248; 4. AGS Motorsport 170; 5. Christy's Team 133; 6. Team Isert 24; 7. Soli Racing Team 23; 8. National Team Slovakia 23; 9. Nath Racing 17; 10. Geyhound Motorsport 6; 11. Alda Motorsport 6.

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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Peter Kox , Johnny Cecotto , David Leslie , Emanuele Naspetti , Gianni Morbidelli , Gabriele Tarquini , Nicola Larini , Roberto Colciago , Stefano Gabellini , Gianluca Roda