ETCC: Estoril rounds 19 and 20 race report

ROUND 19 Weather Sky was clear and sun was shining ; the track was mostly dry but a couple of corners remained damp and slippery. Muller wins and Nordauto clinches Teams Championship In the early morning warm-up, on a damp track, ...

ROUND 19

Weather
Sky was clear and sun was shining ; the track was mostly dry but a couple of corners remained damp and slippery.

Muller wins and Nordauto clinches Teams Championship
In the early morning warm-up, on a damp track, Colciago's four-wheel-driven Audi A4 topped the times ahead of the Alfa 156 cars of Larini's and Massa.

After his engine problems on Saturday, Sambataro's Racing Box Audi A4 Quattro does not start the race.

Start– The left line on the starting grid is dry, the right one still damp. This helps Muller to retain the lead at the start, ahead of Tarquini, Giovanardi and Larini.

Lap 1– Lancelotti spins at the first corner, due to a collision. Tarquini tries to take the lead from Muller, in vain ; Giovanardi and Larini are right behind him. De Lorenzi made a great start from 15th on the grid to ninth. Top-10: 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 31 - 6 - 7 - 29 - 20 - 24

Lap 2– Walfisch is in 17th position after a bad start ; the Frenchman is also involved in a collision with Valli, who goes off and rejoins after one lap. Top-10: 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 31 - 6 - 7 - 29 - 20 - 24

Lap 3– Behind the top-ten, Cayrolle, Sardelli, Lempinen, Walfisch and Edman are fighting for 11th position. Top-10: 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 31 - 6 - 7 - 29 - 20 - 24

Lap 4– Colciago is on Thompson's tail; they fight for sixth position. Top-10: 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 31 - 6 - 7 - 29 - 20 - 24

Lap 5– Walfisch and Edman pass Sardelli and Lempinen to climb to 12th and 13th respectively. Top-10: 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 31 - 6 - 7 - 29 - 20 - 24

Lap 6– Muller and Tarquini pull away, increasing their margin over Giovanardi and Larini. Neal attacks Colciago for seventh place. Nilsson overtakes De Lorenzi for ninth position. Walfish and Edman gain another position (11th and 12th respectively) from Cayrolle. Top-10: 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 31 - 6 - 7 - 29 - 24 - 20

Lap 7– Thompson closes on Massa, who is behind Larini in fifth position. Top-10: 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 31 - 6 - 7 - 29 - 24 - 20

Lap 8– Thompson, Neal and Walfisch come into the pits. Neal's Nissan Primera has a slightly damaged suspension after a collision with Colciago. As for the two Hondas, JAS Motorsport's team principal Alessandro Mariani declared: "We considered the situation and decided to place Thompson and Walfish in better positions on the grid for the second race, so that we might play a more effective strategy." Top-10: 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 31 - 7 - 6 - 24 - 20 - 25

Lap 9– Symanzick rejoins the race after he went out, but is black flagged for receiving external aid from the marshals. Top-10: 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 31 - 7 - 6 - 24 - 20 - 25

Lap 10– Neal rejoins after a 2-lap stop. Top-10: 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 31 - 7 - 6 - 24 - 20 - 25

Lap 11– Thompson and Walfisch rejoin the race after 3 laps in the pits. Top-10: 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 31 - 7 - 6 - 24 - 20 - 25

Lap 12– Tarquini tries one final attack to take the lead. He knocks Muller's rear bumper, but the Frenchman manages to stay in control and win his first race in the FIA European Touring Car Championship, ahead of Tarquini, Giovanardi, Larini and Massa. Giovanardi maintains the lead in the Championship classification, losing only three of his 16-point margin over Tarquini. With the points scored by Muller and Giovanardi, Alfa Romeo Team Nordauto clinches the Teams Championship. De Lorenzi is classified ninth overall and first of the Amateurs drivers, ahead of Cayrolle and Sardelli. The third position means that Sardelli claims the Amateurs Trophy. Top-10: 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 31 - 7 - 6 - 24 - 20 - 25

ROUND 20

Weather
Heavy clouds, with a threat of rain. The track is partly damp, but the racing lines are dry.

Giovanardi is FIA European Super Touring Champion as Neal wins the race The JAS Honda Accord cars of Thompson and Walfisch are on the front row on the reverse grid ; Neal and Radaelli share the second row.

Championship contenders Larini, Giovanardi and Tarquini occupy the 21st, 22nd and 23rd positions respectively.

To celebrate Sardelli's title in the Amateurs Trophy, the crew of Scottish team PRO Motorsport are all wearing kilts. De Lorenzi's BMW is pushed back to the pit-lane because oil is leaking from the differential. Start– Walfisch makes a better start than Thompson and takes the lead ahead of Neal. Giovanardi and Larini get a better start than Tarquini.

Lap 1– In a first corner collision Nilsson spins and rejoins at the back of the field, while Cayrolle is pushed off the track. Giovanardi, Larini and Tarquini are in 10th, 12th and 13th position respectively. Top-10 : 5 - 29 - 6 - 32 - 30 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 27 - 1

Lap 2– Walfisch and Neal collide and the Frenchman comes into the pits with a damaged suspension. Neal takes the lead from Thompson and Johansson. There is a tough fight in the middle of the field. Giovanardi is attacking Gustafsson for the ninth position and is being chased by Larini, Muller and Tarquini. Tarquini manages to overtake Muller, then dives inside Larini to pass him too ; they collide and Tarquini's Honda spins off and crashes into the barrier. With Tarquini out of the race Giovanardi is the FIA European Super Touring champion. Top-10: 29 - 6 - 32 - 30 - 9 - 7 - 27 - 1 - 2 - 3

Lap 3– Walfisch rejoins the race but retires shortly afterwards. Lancelotti and Colciago overtake Valli, moving up to fourth and fifth. Top-10: 29 - 6 - 32 - 9 - 7 - 30 - 27 - 1 - 2 - 3

Lap 4– Colciago overtakes Lancelotti for fourth position. Top-10: 29 - 6 - 32 - 7 - 9 - 30 - 27 - 1 - 2 - 3

Lap 5– Valli and Gustafsson spin, losing sixth and seventh positions respectively. Top-10: 29 - 6 - 32 - 7 - 9 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 31 - 25

Lap 6– Thompson closes to within 0.2 seconds of Neal. Colciago overtakes Johansson for third, the Swede having problems with the driveshaft. Lancelotti spins and loses his fifth place. Top-10: 29 - 6 - 7 - 32 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 25 - 18 - 24

Lap 7– Neal drives over a kerb and almost spins ; Thompson is right on his tail. Giovanardi overtakes Johansson for fourth. Sardelli comes into the pits with a damaged suspension and loses ninth place. Top-10: 29 - 6 - 7 - 1 - 32 - 2 - 3 - 25 - 24 - 30

Lap 9– Larini and Muller move up to fifth and sixth overtaking Johansson. Rosenblad overtakes Valli for tenth. Top-10: 29 - 6 - 7 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 32 - 25 - 24 - 26

Lap 10– Thompson makes the same mistake that Neal made on lap 7, at the same corner. Top-10: 29 - 6 - 7 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 32 - 25 - 24 - 26

Lap 11– Colciago, Giovanardi, Larini and Muller have a tough fight for the third position. Edman and Nilsson overtake Johansson and move up to seventh and eighth. Larini and Muller overtake Giovanardi. Top-10: 29 - 6 - 7 - 2 - 3 - 1 - 25 - 24 - 32 - 26

Lap 12– Thompson tries to steal the lead from Neal, but the Nissan driver wins with a margin of only 0.3 seconds. Colciago manages to maintain his third position ahead of Larini (who climbs to second in the Championship final classification), Giovanardi and Muller. Edman finishes seventh, best of a Swedish quartet that includes Nilsson, Johansson and Rosenblad. Zadra is classified 12th and first of the Amateurs drivers, ahead of Symanzick and Lempinen. Top-10: 29 - 6 - 7 - 2 - 1 - 3 - 25 - 24 - 32 - 26

Provisional standings after 20 of 20 rounds :

Drivers :
1. Giovanardi (ITA) 620 points
2. Larini (ITA) 604 points
3. Tarquini (ITA) 579 points
4. Walfisch (FRA) 434 points
5. Sardelli (ITA) 432 points
6. Colciago (ITA) 423 points
7. De Lorenzi (ITA) 413 points
8. Zadra (ITA) 388 points
9. Cayrolle (FRA) 357 points
10. Lempinen (FIN) 335 points

Teams :
1. Alfa Romeo Nordauto (ITA) 1272 points
2. JAS Engineering Italia IP (ITA) 1089 points
3. Max Team (ITA) 745 points
4. AGS Motorsport (ITA) 709 points
5. Conrero (ITA) 618 points

QUOTES & NOTES

Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA)– nr 1 Nordauto Alfa Romeo– 2001 FIA European Super Touring Car Driver Champion : "I am really happy as I was worried before the start of the second race with 24 cars in front of me. I took a good start. All my team mates were behind me. When Gabriele was out of the race, the title was secured. For me, it was important to finish second and third to win the Championship, and when Yvan Muller won the first race, ahead of Tarquini, I felt better because I knew that I only needed a fifth place in the second race. This is the fifth consecutive season that I have won a Super Touring Championship, but this one is the most important of my career, not only because it is an FIA European Championship, but also because I had to fight for the whole season against Gabriele, who was very fast in all the rounds. With him in this shape, I had to be careful not to commit the least mistake."

Nicola Larini (ITA) - nr 2 Nordauto Alfa Romeo– second in the Championship : " It has been a tough season for me. It started in the best way, but then I lost several points in the middle of the season. One of the turning points was Zolder, when I lost 40 points for technical reasons. So I knew when I arrived here that my position was the most difficult among the title contenders. This morning, I was in a bad position on the starting grid for race 1, as the track was still damp. Then I found myself behind Tarquini and Giovanardi and I could only follow them, avoiding attacking my team-mate. As a matter of fact, my hopes of winning the title effectively vanished at the end of the first race. In the second race, I had a collision with Tarquini on the second lap. He was driving on the edge of the track. Our cars clashed, and he spun in front of me."

Gabriele Tarquini (ITA)– nr 4 JAS Honda - third in the Championship : "I feel sad because I really wanted to win this Championship. In the second part of the season I pushed as hard as possible to reach this target. In today’s second race, I had a bad start and Giovanardi was in front of me, so by the second lap I knew I had lost 50% of my chances of winning. I was very cautious because I knew that with the reverse grid system, it is very easy to have a crash in the first laps. But then, Larini touched the back of my car and didn’t give me a chance."

Yvan Muller (FRA)– nr 3 Nordauto Alfa Romeo– winner of race 1 : "It has been a fantastic weekend for me. Yesterday, the pole position was already a great satisfaction for me, but I didn’t expect to win the race. I was not optimistic before the weekend because I had only tested the Alfa Romeo for one day at Varano. In the first race I simply found myself in the right place at the right time. I took the lead at the start and I managed to keep Tarquini behind me. In the second race, I knew my role was to help Giovanardi to win the title, and when Tarquini went out of the race, I just followed the group until the end."

Matthew Neal (GBR)– nr 29 RJN Nissan– winner of race 2 : "I am very happy because in the previous two years I have won at least one race in Super Touring, and I arrived at the final race of the season still without a win. My success in race 2 saved my record. It was a good result because I joined the European Championship on the third event of the season, and before today, I came close to winning, but I only managed podium positions."

Monica Sipsz - Team Manager, Nordauto Alfa Romeo– winner of the Team Championship : "We have worked very hard to achieve this goal. We tried everything and we also found the best drivers to support Giovanardi and Larini. First, we picked Felipe Massa, who, unfortunately for us, but fortunately for him, will leave touring cars next year for Formula One. Then we picked Yvan Muller, who was rather a surprise yesterday in qualifying, and today gave us the team Championship. To win the FIA European Championship is definitely the best result in our team’s history."

-fia-estc

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Felipe Massa , Yvan Muller , Gabriele Tarquini , Nicola Larini