ETCC: Eurosport Super Racing newsletter 2002-03-14

FIA EUROPEAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP NEWS FROM THE FIA EUROPEAN TOURING CAR TEAMS Magny Cours, on April 21st 2002, will see the first touring cars complying with the Super 2000 regulations take to the track. News follows from a number of the...


Magny Cours, on April 21st 2002, will see the first touring cars complying with the Super 2000 regulations take to the track. News follows from a number of the teams that will be taking part in the Championship this season.

BMW Team Spain Ravaglia recently spent two days at Vallelunga, testing a number of set-ups that they did not have time to check out during the Michelin test days. “ We were quite satisfied with the results,” team owner Roberto Ravaglia said. Both Fabrizio De Simone and Jordi Gené drove the BMW 320i, completing over 200 laps of the track. “ Fabrizio did a longer stint to allow him to get used to the car,” Ravaglia continued.“ Both De Simone and Gené set times of 1:20.0.” The team changed the gearbox, and had some minor engine problems towards the end of the two-day test.“ We have completed over 4000 km of testing with the same car since December, so quite naturally, some components need to be replaced,” Ravaglia explained. The team will resume testing at Jarama, on March 27th and 28th.

Schnitzer Motorsport was also testing at Vallelunga, but the session was cut short, after Dirk Müller crashed and damaged the team’s only BMW 320i.“ I really don’t know what happened. The track was dirty and slippery, and the car simply went straight into the barriers,” Müller explained. He had previously set a time of 1:19.5 in the Super 2000 car. “ It was a good time, considering the track’s conditions, and the fact that we were using the standard BF Goodrich tyres instead of the new Michelins.” The team took the car back to the workshop for repairs. Testing will resume at Jarama on March 18th and 19th.

RJN Motorsport has announced that it has signed 22-year old Chris Buncombe to drive one of its two Nissan Primera cars in the 2002 FIA European Touring Car Championship. He will join Norwegian driver Tommy Rustad, who took two wins last season in the FIA European Super Production Championship. Buncombe first drove for RJN in 2000, when he competed in the 24 Hours of Spa with Rustad and Stephan Lémeret. Last season, he drove for Manor Motorsport in the British Formula Renault Championship, and tested for the British Formula Three Championship. “ I am extremely pleased to have this opportunity to race in the FIA European Touring Car Championship, and especially with such a great team,” he said. “ I am looking forward to the challenge it presents; there are many circuits that are new to me, and I know I will learn a lot.” Team principal Bob Neville said he was delighted.“ Chris is a young up and coming driver, and we are confident he will do a good job for us.”

Swedish driver Fredrik Ekblom will drive in the 2002 FIA European Touring Car Championship, at the wheel of a BMW 320i backed by BMW Belgium and run by RBM, Racing Bart Mampaey. 31-year old Ekblom won the Swedish Touring Car Championship in 1998 in a BMW, finishing second in both 1999 and 2000 with an Audi A4 Quattro. Last season he competed in the American Le Mans Series with BMW. Bart Mampaey, team owner of RBM, and the son of Juma Racing founder Julien Mampaey, is delighted with the opportunity to compete in the Championship and to follow in the footsteps of his father, whose team won the 24 Hours of Spa three times. “ I established RBM in 1995, and was able to repeat Juma Racing’s success by winning the 1998 24 Hours of Spa with a Super Production BMW 320i,” Mampaey explained. “ I worked for Ravaglia Motorsport during the last two rounds of the 2001 FIA European Touring Car Championship, and I realised that the Championship has huge potential. It will not be easy, as our car will be delivered very late, but I am confident that we can do a good job.”

Dutch team Carly Motors was testing at Zandvoort this week, with Tom Coronel at the wheel of the BMW 320i that will take part in this season’s FIA European Touring Car Championship.“ The car was fitted with the first full-specification Super 2000 engine,” team owner Carly Pellinkhof explained.“ It worked perfectly, and I am very satisfied. Furthermore, I can confirm that Team Isert will run the cars this year, as they did in 2001. They did a very good job, and I am very happy with this collaboration, where Isert runs the cars, while Carly Motors concentrates on the drivers and the engines.” Coronel was extremely pleased with the car.“ It was really nice to drive.

There is a bit more grip in high speed corners, which means you can attack more. The car is less tricky to drive, because of the new wing, and it is more stable under braking. The car seems very responsive, and easy to set up– I could feel the difference with every change I made. It is as if the car is listening to me. It suits me a lot, and I am convinced it is a car I can win races with.”

GTA Racing Team Nordauto has confirmed that Romana Bernardoni will be driving for them in the 2002 FIA European Touring Car Championship. For the third consecutive season, she will be behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo 156, alongside Fabrizio Giovanardi and Nicola Larini. “ We get on very well, and I am really excited to be staying in the FIA European Touring Car Championship with such a good team,” said Bernardoni. Romana finished the 2002 FIA European Super Touring Championship in twelfth position overall, scoring points in fifteen rounds and contributing to Nordauto’s victory in the Teams Championship. “ I was slightly disappointed with my results last season, as it took me a long time to recover mentally from my roll at Magny Cours. Now I am looking forward to the new season; I feel that the new Super 2000 cars will suit me better, as they are lighter and slightly less powerful than the Super Touring cars. Although the level of the Championship will be higher than last year, I am confident that I can do well.” Romana Bernardoni will drive the new Super 2000 Alfa Romeo 156 Gta for the first time next week at Magione.


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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Dirk Müller , Jordi Gene , Nicola Larini , Roberto Ravaglia , Bart Mampaey