ETCC: Estoril practice and qualifying notes

ALESSANDRO ZANARDI SNATCHES POLE POSITION FOR THE FIA EUROPEAN TOURING CAR CUP PRACTICE 1 FASTEST LAP FOR RYAN SHARP Weather: overcast; track: drying Ryan Sharp reigned in the first free practice session of the FIA ETCC. A slippery track...

ALESSANDRO ZANARDI SNATCHES POLE POSITION FOR THE FIA EUROPEAN TOURING CAR CUP

PRACTICE 1 FASTEST LAP FOR RYAN SHARP
Weather: overcast; track: drying

Ryan Sharp reigned in the first free practice session of the FIA ETCC. A slippery track clearly worked well for the Scotsman driving a GR Asia SEAT León and he posted a 2:01.935 which was eight tenths faster than the rest of the field. His team-mate Emmet O'Brien also proved competitive, clocking the 5th time, just ahead of local boy Miguel Freitas.

The BMW Team Italy-Spain duo remained towards the top of the timesheet completing the 2nd and 3rd best laps: Félix Porteiro's time was 0.012 of a second faster than that of his team-mate Alessandro Zanardi. Philip Geipel drove his Toyota Corolla T-Sport well to post the 7th best time overall. After engine problems yesterday, the Maurer Motorsport Chevrolet cars were back on course this morning. Hugo Godinho the other Portuguese in the race and Vincent Radermecker from Belgium clocked the 9th and 10th best laps.

The fastest man from the SP class was Alexander Lvov in his Golden Motors Honda Civic Type-R with a time of 2:09.648 which placed him 15th overall. Stefano Valli was in the position below and just 0.069 of a second slower than his rival.

After seven minutes the session was disrupted when Timur Sadredinov and Vadim Kuzminykh went off into the gravel separately at turn 6 and the red flags were issued while the cars were removed. On resuming, Mikhail Ukhov went off at the same spot. After having received external aid to get back onto the track he was not permitted to continue in the session.

PRACTICE 2 PORTEIRO AND VALLI TOP THE TIMES
Weather: overcast; track: dry

The second free practice session saw Félix Porteiro as fastest. The young Spaniard continued to impress and his time of 1:49.074 was 0.578 of a second better than team-mate Alessandro Zanardi who was second quickest. Ryan Sharp clocked the third best time with a 1:49.714.

A pair of Swedish drivers at the wheel of BMW cars occupied the next two spots. Robin Rudholm of West Coast Racing completed the 4th best run followed by Carl Rosenblad. Emmet O'Brien drove his GR Asia SEAT León round the circuit in 1:50.419 and below him on the timesheet is another duo of Swedes, Mattias Anderson and Tomas Engström. The latter was forced to change his Honda Accord's engine after the first practice.

Stefano Valli took command of the SP category with a time of 1:57.648 at the wheel of his BMW 320i. However, Andrey Romanov's time was a slight 0.342 of a second slower.

The track was dry for the session but despite this, some drivers strayed from the asphalt. Mikhail Ukhov found himself in the gravel at turn 13 while minutes later Timur Sadredinov too ended up in gravel, this time at turn 1. However the Russian youngster managed to set the 3rd fastest lap in the SP class.

QUALIFYING ALEX ZANARDI ON POLE... AGAIN
Weather: overcast; track: dry

Alessandro Zanardi will line up on pole for Race 1 tomorrow. Like last year in Vallelunga for the first edition of the FIA ETC Cup.

The Italian hero shot to the top after 12 minutes had ticked by with a time of 1:48.631. On the next lap he improved to set a 1:48.453. This proved unbeatable but only just as Ryan Sharp promoted himself to 2nd in the closing minutes. The Scotsman's time was a mere 0.050 of a second shy of Zanardi's. Newcomer to touring car racing, Félix Porteiro, has made his mark straight away by qualifying 3rd and just 0.086 off his BMW Team Italy-Spain team-mate's top time.

Things ended on a dubious note for Sharp as on his slow-down lap his SEAT León began emitting smoke and had had to be stopped track-side. It is thought not to be an engine problem. Sharp's team-mate, Emmet O'Brien, secured 4th on the grid.

Fifth through to 7th positions were occupied by BMW drivers. Robin Rudholm from Sweden posted a 1:49.144 to slot into 5th followed by Portuguese driver Miguel Freitas and fellow Swede Carl Rosenblad. Tomas Engström set the 8th best time in his Honda Accord Euro R but due to an earlier engine change he will be dropped 10 positions.

As a result, the two Chevrolet drivers, Vincent Radermecker and Hugo Godinho, will begin the race from 8th and 9th. Alexy Dudukalo, who drives an Audi A4 qualified 13th but after being issued a penalty for overtaking under red flag conditions in Free Practice 1 he will be dropped 5 positions on the grid. Andrey Romanov qualified 17th and ahead of his Super Production competitors.

The Avtodom Racing driver from Russia completed a lap in 1:56.845 which was over a second and a half quicker than 2nd SP qualifier Alexander Lvov, also from Russia. The battle to be third in the class was won by Estonian Raimo Kulli but he only bettered Timur Sadredinov by 0.013 of a second. Stefano Valli, who looked competitive in practice didn't complete the entire session due to fuel feeding system problems. Incidentally, he too was penalised 5 grid positions for overtaking under red flag conditions in Free Practice 1.

CHANGES TO QUALIFYING

AMENDMENT NO ENGINE CHANGE FOR ENGSTRÖM

Contrary to what was published in the qualifying first release, no engine change occurred on Tomas Engström's Honda Accord. Therefore the Swedish driver will start from the 8th position of the grid, according to his qualifying result.

On the other hand an engine was changed on his fellow countryman Carl Rosenblad's BMW 320si. Rosenblad, who had set the 7th fastest lap today will be dropped 10 positions on the grid for tomorrow's Race 1.

RADERMECKER'S CHEVROLET UNDERWEIGHT

The Maurer Motorsport Chevrolet Lacetti car of Vincent Radermecker was excluded from the results of today's qualifying after it was found to be underweight during the technical checks.

The team admitted they made a mistake not re-checking the weight of the car after it took part in the WTCC meeting at Valencia, in which all the Cheverolet Lacetti cars were allowed to run 10 kg lighter due to a waiver of the Touring Car Bureau.

Radermecker, who had qualified 9th will be demoted to the back of the grid.

-credit: fia

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Series General
Drivers Carl Rosenblad , Robin Rudholm , Felix Porteiro , Ryan Sharp , Tomas Engstrom , Stefano Valli , Miguel Freitas , Emmet O'Brien , Vincent Radermecker , Vadim Kuzminykh , Andrey Romanov , Philip Geipel , Alexander Lvov