Race One decided the 2002 FIA European Touring Car Championship titles. With fourth place, Fabrizio Giovanardi secured his second consecutive FIA European Drivers Championship, following his FIA European Super Touring title in 2001. And thanks to...
Race One decided the 2002 FIA European Touring Car Championship titles. With fourth place, Fabrizio Giovanardi secured his second consecutive FIA European Drivers Championship, following his FIA European Super Touring title in 2001. And thanks to the points scored by Giovanardi and third-placed Gabriele Tarquini, Alfa Romeo won the Manufacturers Championship, the eleventh FIA ETCC title for the Italian make, which last won in 1985.
As far as the races were concerned, Dirk and Jörg Müller took one win apiece for BMW, after two tough collision-packed battles. Nicola Larini, currently runner-up in the Drivers Championship, was among the victims and saw his lead over Jörg Müller reduced to only five points.
Volvo had mixed fortune: Rickard Rydell was a brilliant second in Race One, but retired in Race Two after an early collision.
Gabriele Tarquini's return to the Championship, thrilled the spectators as the Italian driver rushed his way to fight for top positions. Third in Race One, Tarquini equalled this result in Race Two, only to be demoted by a time penalty.
ALFA ROMEO TRIO FASTEST IN THE WARM UP
Recovering from a difficult qualifying session, Nicola Larini set the fastest time in the warm-up. His best lap of 1:42.109 was only 0.018 seconds faster than his team-mate Giovanardi (1:42.127), with Tarquini third, one tenth of a second behind. Giovanardi sat in the pit for most of the session while the mechanics worked on solving a power-steering problem on his car.
The fourth Gta Racing Team Nordauto driver, Colciago, missed the session due to a gearbox failure. A similar problem hit Cayrolle's Alfa Romeo, while Collard blew his Nissan Primera's engine. Coronel crashed, spinning on cold tyres, but his Carly Motors BMW was only slightly damaged.
Huisman emerged as the fastest BMW driver, fourth with a time only 0.126 seconds behind Larini and just ahead of Jörg Müller. Dart Racing's Tom Ferrier, who was forced to miss the qualifying session due to a gearbox failure, set an excellent sixth fastest time, only two tenths of a second from Larini.
RACE ONE: GIOVANARDI AND ALFA ROMEO ARE CHAMPIONS
Dirk Müller sits on pole on the right side of the track, while the four Alfa Romeo works cars line up on the left side of the grid: Colciago 2nd, Giovanardi 4th, Tarquini 6th and Larini 8th.
Start: Dirk Müller and Colciago sprint towards the first corner and clash; the Italian has the outside line and spins. Colciago rejoins while Larini is trying to squeeze between him and Huisman. Larini's car takes off and lands heavily. Both he and Colciago are forced back to the pits; Larini retires with massive damage, while Colciago rejoins after a tyre change. Corthals is also involved in the first corner collision and continues despite having a loose rear bumper.
Lap 1: Dirk Müller is closely chased by Jörg Müller, Rydell, Giovanardi and Tarquini. Both the Müllers brake too late at the chicane and cut over the grass. Rydell manages to pass Jörg, moving up to second. Collard spins and comes back to the pits. De Simone, also involved in the accident at the start, retires with a broken radiator. top-ten positions: 43 - 60 - 42 - 1 - 56 - 7 - 21 - 61 - 22 - 5
Lap 2: Under pressure from Jörg Müller, Giovanardi and Tarquini, Rydell cuts the chicane. top-ten positions: 43 - 60 - 42 - 1 - 56 - 7 - 21 - 61 - 22 - 5
Lap 3: Thanks to the fights behind him, Dirk Müller manages to stretch his leading margin. Jörg Müller brakes too late at the hairpin, and loses two places to Giovanardi and Tarquini, dropping down to fifth. Ferrier overtakes Gené for tenth place. Corthals is shown a black-orange flag due to his loose bumper. top-ten positions: 43 - 60 - 1 - 56 - 42 - 7 - 21 - 61 - 22 - 20
Lap 4: Ferrier overtakes Corthals, climbing to ninth position. top-ten positions: 43 - 60 - 1 - 56 - 42 - 7 - 21 - 61 - 20 - 22
Lap 5: Dirk Müller pushes hard to further increase the gap to 1.98 seconds. Huisman overtakes his Carly Motors team-mate Coronel for sixth position. top-ten positions: 43 - 60 - 1 - 56 - 42 - 21 - 7 - 61 - 20 - 22
Lap 6: Jörg Müller is right behind Tarquini's car, but the Italian does not leave him any room to pass. Ferrier overtakes Hanson for eighth position. Colciago returns to the pits and retires with handling problems. top-ten positions: 43 - 60 - 1 - 56 - 42 - 21 - 7 - 20 - 61 - 22
Lap 7: In vain, Rydell tries to close the gap from Dirk Müller; the German driver is now leading by 2.5 seconds. Cayrolle comes to the pits and retires with a broken damper. top-ten positions: 43 - 60 - 1 - 56 - 42 - 21 - 7 - 20 - 61 - 22
Lap 8: Giovanardi misses the chicane and Tarquini overtakes him for third position. Gené pits after a spin. Rustad retires with engine problems. top-ten positions: 43 - 60 - 56 - 1 - 42 - 21 - 7 - 20 - 61 - 22
Lap 9: Huisman manages to join the Giovanardi-Jörg Müller fight for fourth place. Ferrier is chasing Coronel for seventh position. top-ten positions: 43 - 60 - 56 - 1 - 42 - 21 - 7 - 20 - 61 - 22
Lap 10: Jörg Müller tries to pass Giovanardi in every corner; but the German has Huisman stuck on his tail. Corthals cames into the pit to observe the black-orange flag and Tavano moves up to tenth. top-ten positions: 43 - 60 - 56 - 1 - 42 - 21 - 7 - 20 - 61 - 18
Lap 11: Jörg Müller runs wide at Adelaide and nearly loses his fourth position to Huisman. top-ten positions: 43 - 60 - 56 - 1 - 42 - 21 - 7 - 20 - 61 - 18
Lap 12: Ferrier is chasing the seventh-placed Coronel. top-ten positions: 43 - 60 - 56 - 1 - 42 - 21 - 7 - 20 - 61 - 18
Lap 13: Dirk Müller claims his third win of the season from Rydell and Tarquini. Giovanardi finishes fourth, which is enough to secure the Drivers Championship. Jörg Müller and Huisman are classified fifth and sixth respectively. The points scored by Tarquini and Giovanardi mean that also the Manufacturers Championship is awarded to Alfa Romeo. final positions: 43 - 60 - 56 - 1 - 42 - 21 - 7 - 20 - 61 - 18
RACE TWO: JÖRG MÜLLER LEADS A BMW 1-2-3
Three cars are missing from the grid as a consequence of Race One incidents: Larini's Alfa and the BMW cars of De Simone and Corthals. Rustad's Nissan remains in the pits with engine problems.
Start: From the reverse grid pole, Huisman takes the lead from Jörg and Dirk Müller. Another collision at the first corner between Coronel and Rydell forces the Volvo's Swedish driver out of the race with a collapsed front left suspension.
Lap 1: Huisman misses the chicane and drops to third behind Jörg and Dirk Müller. Tarquini overtakes Giovanardi for fourth position. Cayrolle retires after a collision with Collard, while Ferrier stops with a broken driveshaft. top-ten positions: 42 - 43 - 21 - 56 - 1 - 7 - 5 - 4 - 18 - 61
Lap 2: Tarquini pushes past Huisman and moves up to third. The Italian is now closely chasing Dirk Müller; at Hollywood Tarquini hits the back of the BMW sending Müller into a spin. The German driver rejoins in ninth position. Giovanardi drops down to seventh after a manoeuvre to avoid the spinning BMW. Coronel overtakes Gené for fourth position. top-ten positions: 42 - 56 - 21 - 7 - 5 - 61 - 1 - 18 - 43 - 26
Lap 3: Tarquini closes in on Jörg Müller, cutting the German's leading margin to 1.45 seconds. Giovanardi fights with Hanson over sixth position. Sardelli passes Collard for tenth position. top-ten positions: 42 - 56 - 21 - 7 - 5 - 61 - 1 - 18 - 43 - 19
Lap 4: Giovanardi overtakes Hanson for sixth place; Dirk Müller overtakes Tavano for eighth. top-ten positions: 42 - 56 - 21 - 7 - 5 - 1 - 61 - 43 - 18 - 19
Lap 5: Dirk Müller overtakes Hanson for seventh position; Tavano tries to do the same, but he hits the Volvo, pushing it off. top-ten positions: 42 - 56 - 21 - 7 - 5 - 1 - 43 - 18 - 19 - 15
Lap 6: Tarquini is reducing his gap by one tenth of a second a lap. Gené overtakes Coronel for fourth place. top-ten positions: 42 - 56 - 21 - 5 - 7 - 1 - 43 - 18 - 19 - 15
Lap 7: Tarquini is setting a good pace. Jörg Müller's leading margin is now 1.2 seconds. top-ten positions: 42 - 56 - 21 - 5 - 7 - 1 - 43 - 18 - 19 - 15
Lap 8: Giovanardi is chasing Gené and Coronel who are fourth and fifth respectively. Colciago overtakes Villamil for tenth position. top-ten positions: 42 - 56 - 21 - 5 - 7 - 1 - 43 - 18 - 19 - 4
Lap 9: Jörg Müller manages to stretch his margin again, while Tarquini is put under pressure by Huisman. top-ten positions: 42 - 56 - 21 - 5 - 7 - 1 - 43 - 18 - 19 - 4
Lap 10: Colciago and Villamil overtake Sardelli who slips down to eleventh. top-ten positions: 42 - 56 - 21 - 5 - 7 - 1 - 43 - 18 - 4 - 15
Lap 11: Giovanardi overtakes Coronel at Melbourne and climbs to fifth. Sardelli recovers tenth position after overtaking Villamil. top-ten positions: 42 - 56 - 21 - 5 - 1 - 7 - 43 - 18 - 4 - 19
Lap 12: Tarquini and Huisman are fighting door-to-door over second position. top-ten positions: 42 - 56 - 21 - 5 - 1 - 7 - 43 - 18 - 4 - 19
Lap 13: Jörg Müller imitates his team-mate Dirk and claims his third win of the season. Huisman manages to claim second position from Tarquini. Gené is classified fourth, followed by Giovanardi, while Dirk Müller sprints ahead of Coronel to grab sixth place.
After the race, the Stewards add a 25-time penalty to Tarquini's time, demoting him to seventh due to his early collision with Dirk Müller. This means that Gené is promoted to third, his first ETCC podium result.
NOTES AND QUOTES
Dirk Müller, BMW Team Germany: "I would like to thank BMW for providing me with a great car. It was my first time here.The start of the first race was not very good and Colciago was able to draw up beside me; our cars clashed and he spun. I was on the inside and I was very lucky to come out this incident without any consequences. Then I benefited from the fights behind me and I could pull away easily. In the second race, I was third behind Jörg. I got pushed from behind. I spun 360° and I was lucky to be able to catch up. Unfortunately, the fighting became too hard and today, the racing was not always fair".
Rickard Rydell, Volvo S60 Racing Team: "The car was very good. At Donington, it is very important to have a good balance. Unfortunately, our engine is not so good. I had to push in order to keep a constant gap. In the second race, in the first corner, I was pushed by Tom Coronel and my suspension collapsed."
Gabriele Tarquini, Gta Racing Team Nordauto: "I have had a year off, so I am very happy to be back. The series is very good and I had a very good car. The only problem I had was at the end of the first race, when the throttle broke. In the second race, my rear suspension was not right and I also had brake problems after five laps. I got penalised and ended up seventh instead of third but it was my mistake and I accept the penalty. It is fun to drive the new Super 2000 cars."
Jörg Müller, BMW Team Germany: "I had lots of problems with the set up yesterday. My car was very bad. However, today everything was sorted out and I was quite happy. I still had 10 kg of weight penalty and you can see at looking at Giovanardi that the car's tyres are dropping off very quickly due to this. Today, four or five cars could have won. Therefore, I am very happy with my result. I can still get the second place in the Drivers' Championship. I want to win races and gain points for BMW. I know Estoril circuit from two years ago so we will see".
Duncan Huisman, Carly Motors BMW: "It was a good race and I knew my car was good. This morning, I was fourth behind the Alfas in the warm-up. I had a very good start in the second race. I missed the chicane and then dropped down to fourth. I came up back on third and then on Tarquini. We had a hard but fair fight. I am very happy".
Jordi Gené, BMW Team Spain: "It was a hard weekend and I was not fast enough. In Race One I had brake problems and exploded a tyre. In Race Two, everything worked well and the car was fantastic. I could then overtake cars. I finished in fourth position and then, with Tarquini being penalised, I could take the third step of the podium".
Mauro Sipsz, manager of N-Technology Alfa Romeo, 2002 FIA European Touring Car Manufacturers' Champion: "We have reached our target which was to win both the drivers and the manufacturers titles in the FIA European Touring Car Championship. The team, the drivers and my wife Monica did a great job. I am very happy for Alfa Romeo. It has been a difficult season and I think we could have won the titles before today. We have now won the ETCC teams/manufacturers and drivers championships for two consecutive years and next year, we will try to do it again!"
Fabrizio Giovanardi, GTA Racing Team Nordauto, 2002 FIA European Touring Car Drivers Champion: "It was the best weekend of the season for me! However the races were difficult. The handicap weight kept me off the podium. On Saturday I had problems with the set up as we used the same one we had in Pergusa. The car was not easy to drive in that conditions and I also did a couple of mistakes. But in the end I achieved my goal, which was to clinch the championship at the end of the first race."
Monica Sipsz, team manager of GTA Racing Team Nordauto: "This Championship is the most important title in our team's career. I would like to thank all the drivers: Roberto Colciago, Gabriele Tarquini, Nicola Larini and Fabrizio Giovanardi, for their excellent job and their professionalism."