ETCC: Estoril preview

ESTORIL IS READY TO HOST THE SECOND EDITION OF THE FIA EUROPEAN TOURING CAR CUP Thirty drivers, coming from 13 European countries, and at the wheel of 12 different types of car from 10 different makes, will gather next week at Estoril's ...

ESTORIL IS READY TO HOST THE SECOND EDITION OF THE FIA EUROPEAN TOURING CAR CUP

Thirty drivers, coming from 13 European countries, and at the wheel of 12 different types of car from 10 different makes, will gather next week at Estoril's Autódromo Fernanda Pires da Silva to compete in the second edition of the FIA European Touring Car Cup.

The FIA European Touring Car Cup is reserved for cars complying with the FIA Super 2000 and Super Production technical regulations. Drivers' titles will be awarded for each of the two categories.

AN FIA EVENT BACK TO ESTORIL AFTER THREE YEARS

The 2006 FIA European Touring Car Cup will be the first FIA event held on the 4.18 km Estoril racetrack since the 2003 FIA European Touring Car Championship.

The event is promoted by the Portuguese company Maxima Rotaçao and patronised by the Federação Portuguesa de Automobilismo e Karting (FPAK); the organisation also involves the Associação de Comissários de Desportos Motorizados do Estoril (ACDME). Promotion and organisation have been supported by the Instituto de Turismo de Portugal (ITP) and the Região de Turismo da Costa do Estoril.

NATIONS CUP AWARDED FOR THE FIRST TIME

In addition to the two FIA European Touring Car Cups for Super 2000 and Super Production drivers, the FIA Touring Car Nations Cup will be awarded for the first time at Estoril.

This title will be awarded to the National Sporting Authority (ASN) whose drivers have scored the highest number of points in the two races of the 2006 FIA European Touring Car Cup.

The best two cars entered by competitors belonging to same ASN will be taken into consideration for the Nations Cup's classification.

Should this Cup have existed last year, Sweden would have won it in Vallelunga, scoring 24 points and edging Italy by only one.

WTCC FORMAT FOR THE EUROPEAN CUP

Compared to the first edition, that was held on October 15, 2005 in Vallelunga, Italy, the second European Cup fully adopts the World Touring Car Championship format: two 30-minute free practice sessions and one 30-minute qualifying session on Saturday; 15-minute warm-up and two 50 km back-to-back races on Sunday. The grid for the second race is determined by the results of the first race, with the top-eight in reverse order.

Cars of both eligible categories Super 2000 and Super Productions will race together.

Two 60-minute test sessions will be held on Friday, October 20.

EURO 200,000 PRIZE MONEY AT STAKE

Competitors of the FIA European Touring Car Cup will race on Yokohama control tyres. The Japanese tyre Manufacturer and the company promoter KSO have put in a strong effort to confirm the Yokohama Trophy's prize money, which will again award a total of euro 200,000.

Euro 150,000 will be distributed among the first twelve drivers classified in the Super 2000 Cup. The winner will receive euro 25,000, while the second and third classified drivers will win 20,000 and 15,000 respectively. Euro 50,000 are at stake for Super Production Cup's competitors, with a first prize of 15,000.

LIVE BROADCAST ON EUROSPORT

Eurosport International will broadcast both the FIA European Touring Car Cup races live from Estoril on Sunday 22nd October.

Race 1 will be televised from 16.10 and Race 2 from 17.20. Last year's races from Vallelunga were covered live by Eurosport 2 that will repeat the Estoril races on Sunday night from 23.15 (all times are CET).

The FIA European Touring Car Cup will also be aired live on SIC (Portugal), 7TV (Russia), ETV (Estonia) and Nuvolari (Italy).

Eurosport will also release through Reuters free-of-charge news access of the event.

WIN A CHEVROLET MATIZ AND OTHER PRIZES!

One Chevrolet Matiz is the first prize in a lottery that will be held on Sunday at Estoril among all the spectators in possession of a valid entrance ticket.

Other prizes at stake are two Pioneer GPS, three Apple iPods and 30 DVDs of the Pixar movie "Cars".

The draw will happen after the end of the FIA European Touring Car Cup podium ceremony.

ZANARDI AND PORTEIRO WITH BMW ITALY-SPAIN

Once again Alessandro Zanardi will be the star of the FIA European Touring Car Cup. After he finished third in last year's edition at Valellunga claiming victory in the first race the Italian driver entered in the 2006 edition. He will be at the wheel of a BMW 320si run by BMW Team Italy-Spain, the very same car in which he claimed a dominant win at Istanbul in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.

The Italy-based team have also entered a second car in the Portuguese event, for the 23 year old Spaniard Félix Porteiro who faces his Touring Car debut. Porteiro comes from his first GP2 season after he was successful in karting and the World Series by Renault (5th in 2005).

O'BRIEN AND SHARP TO RACE FOR GR ASIA

FIA WTCC independent team GR Asia will run their two SEAT León cars at Estoril. Last Sunday in Valencia, the team directed by Paul Ridgway clinched the WTCC Independents' Trophy with Tom Coronel.

However their drivers in the ETC Cup will be Ryan Sharp and Emmet O'Brien. Sharp (27 year old from Scotland) and O'Brien (25 from Ireland) have both taken part in the WTCC, racing for JAS Motorsport and Wiechers-Sport respectively. The Scotsman claimed an outstanding third overall in Puebla at the wheel of his Honda Accord.

Both, Sharp and O'Brien had their first test in the León last Monday in Valencia.

SEAT SPORT UK COMPETE WITH TWO CARS

Last year Jason Plato in the SEAT Sport UK SEAT Toledo Cupra came very close to winning the S2000 Euro Cup. In Vallelunga the Briton emerged victorious in the second race and finished runner up to Richard Göransson in the final classification. This year Plato and SEAT Sport UK make a second attempt, with the new SEAT León.

The name of the team's second driver has not yet been unveiled.

Plato is currently placed second in the British Touring Car Championship and this weekend in Silverstone together with team-mates James Thompson and Darren Turner he will try to secure the Manufacturers' Championship for SEAT.

LOCAL DRIVER HUGO GODINHO WITH CHEVROLET

Switzerland-based team Maurer Motorsport entered two Chevrolet Lacetti cars in the S2000 Cup. The team have recently clinched the German Procar title with Vincent Radermecker.

At Estoril the 39 year old from Belgium who boasts an impressive touring car CV, including three Belgian titles and two seasons in the British Touring Car Championship will be teaming with local driver Hugo Godinho (30), the only Portuguese to take part in the Cup.

In the last decade Godinho has emerged as one of the best players in the Portugues Open de Velocidade, claiming titles in the Renault Clio and Mazda cups; at Estoril his car will be backed by General Motors Portugal.

WEST COAST RACING TO DEFEND S2000 TITLE

Swedish team West Coast Racing will defend the Super 2000 title they won last year in Vallelunga with Richard Göransson.

The team directed by Dick Jönsson will run only one BMW 320i in Estoril, for the 27 year old Robin Rudholm. The driver, who won the national Porsche Carrera Cup in 2004, joined the team at the beginning of 2006, alongside WTCC competitor Duncan Huisman. On his first full season in the Swedish Touring Car Championship he classified 7th, claiming two podium results.

A TRIO OF EXPERIENCED DRIVERS FROM SWEDEN

Three other drivers represent the Swedish Touring Car Championship, probably the most competitive national series for S2000 cars. They are Tomas Engström with his Honda Accord Euro R, Carl Rosenblad in the Elgh Motorsport BMW 320si and Eurosport Sweden motorsport commentator Mattias Andersson at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo 156.

Engström who was quite unlucky last year in Vallelunga, being involved in a collision at the start of the first race, finished fifth in the 2006 STCC.

FINNISH TOURING CAR CHAMPION JOINS THE CUP

Ari Laivola, the newly crowned Finnish Touring Car champion, will also race at Estoril. The 42-year old from Finland will be at the wheel of a SEAT Toledo Cupra run by the Sarlin Race Tech team, which he drove to clinch the Finnish title in the Super 2000 Race series.

After being classified fourth in the 2005 championship, during the current season Laivola claimed two race victories at Alastaro and Kemora and secured the title with a 28-point margin ahead of Keijo Ahonen. Laivola took part in last year's FIA ETC Cup, finishing both legs in 14th position.

RUSSIA TO SEND A DOZEN DRIVERS

The largest group of drivers comes from Russia. Eleven competitors of the Russian Touring Car Championship plus Rustem Teregulov a competitor in the German Procar will make the field in Portugal. Four of them in the S2000 class and eight in the Super Production.

Both, the newly crowned Russian Touring Car champion Vladimir Labazov and the former champion Mikhail Ukhov will be at the wheel of BMW 320i; like Teregulov. The fourth S2000 driver is Alexey Dudukalo in an Audi A4.

Among the Super Production drivers are former RTCC champion, Alexander Lvov, and Sergey Krylov, who finished runner up in last year's Super Production Cup.

BMW CARS WITH DIFFERENT GEARBOXES

The BMW 320i coming from the Swedish championship are slightly different from the others. As a matter of fact Rosenblad and Rudholm use an X-trac 6-speed sequential gearbox, while the other BMW drivers have the 5-speed "H" pattern gearbox.

This means that Rosenblad's and Rudholm's cars will be 30 kilos heavier than the other BMWs, for a minimum weight of 1170 kg including the driver.

THE PRESIDENT OF SAN MARINO NSA IS A RACER!

Stefano Valli from San Marino will take part in the Super Production Cup at the wheel of a BMW 320i run by the Zerocinque Motorsport team.

It's interesting to point out that Valli is not only an excellent amateur driver and a regular competitor in the Italian Superturismo Championship but also the president of FAMS, the National Sporting Authority of the small Republic on the Adriatic sea.

BALTIC STATES REPRESENTED BY KULLI AND HORELIKS

Raimo Kulli from Estonia and Janis Horeliks from Latvia come from the Baltic Touring Car Championship, also known as North European Zone (NEZ).

They will both compete in the Super Production Cup, Kulli in a Skoda Octavia and Horeliks in a Honda Integra Type-R.

PHILIP GEIPEL: THE YOUNGEST DRIVER OF THE FIELD

He will turn 20 years old on December 9th. Therefore Philip Geipel will be the youngest driver of the field at the Euro Cup in Estoril.

Geipel and his Toyota Corolla T-Sport run by TFS-Yaco Racing classified 4th in the 2006 German Procar championship. The event in Estoril will not be their first international outing as they have already taken part in the World Touring Car Championship meeting at Brno.

-credit: fiaetc

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Series General
Drivers Darren Turner , Tom Coronel , Carl Rosenblad , James Thompson , Robin Rudholm , Jason Plato , Felix Porteiro , Mattias Andersson , Ryan Sharp , Tomas Engstrom , Stefano Valli , Emmet O'Brien , Richard Göransson , Philip Geipel , Alexander Lvov , Rustem Teregulov , Aleksey Dudukalo