ETCC: Jarama round 9 qualifying

Weather Overcast with a threat of rain in the morning, the weather improved during the day, so that it was sunny and warm for the FIA European Super Production Championship qualifying. The track was dry. Overview 16 drivers took part in the ...

Overcast with a threat of rain in the morning, the weather improved during the day, so that it was sunny and warm for the FIA European Super Production Championship qualifying. The track was dry.

16 drivers took part in the session. The only newcomer to the championship is Italian F3000 driver Salvatore Tavano, at the wheel of the nr 21Conrero Alfa Romeo 147. In the morning free practice sessions, Rustad set the fastest time, with a lap of 1:45.623, ahead of the two Bigazzi Alfa Romeo 156s of Villamil (1:45.954) and Masini (1:46.326). The best of the BMW drivers was Morbidelli in fourth place (1:46.755), while his team mate Gabellini missed both sessions due to fuel pressure problems. Tavano clocked the sixth time (1:46.919) in his Alfa Romeo 147.

Second time for Luis Villamil on his home track
Tommy Rustad in his RJN Motorsport Nissan Primera continued to dominate the FIA European Super Production Championship qualifying, claiming a third consecutive pole position following those at the A-1 Ring and the Nürburgring. The Norwegian set the fastest lap early in the session, with a lap of 1:45.468, and then sat in the pits waiting for his competitors' improvements. He hit the track again towards the end of the session, just to run in a second set of new tyres.

The Spanish crowd was delighted to see national driver Luis Villamil claim the second position on the starting gird for tomorrow's race. The Spaniard pushed his Bigazzi Alfa Romeo 156 to the limit during four different attempts in qualifying. The first time he set provisional pole at 1:46.683, only to be beaten a few seconds later by his team-mate Tobia Masini (1:46.511) and Tommy Rustad. On his second try, Villamil improved to 1:46.140, which put him in fourth position. On the following lap the Spaniard blocked his front left wheel under braking at the Portago corner and ran wide, spoiling the attempt. He came back into the pits to change to new tyres and rejoined the session, finally grabbing second position with a time of 1:45.739, only two tenths slower than Rustad's pole position time.

Third on the starting grid will be the Championship leader Duncan Huisman. More than once during the session the Dutchman showed almost acrobatic skills in handling his BMW 320i, emerging as the fastest of the BMW drivers. Ten minutes into the session, Huisman jumped into the second position with a time of 1:46.297, which he immediately improved to 1:46.192 on the following lap. He lost some positions as the other drivers improved, but eventually he struck back with a time of 1:45.823 that enabled him to grab third position on the grid from CiBiEmme driver Gianni Morbidelli. The Italian had set his best time halfway through the session, with a lap of 1:46.140, failing to improve afterwards. The top six drivers in the session were covered by only 0.8 seconds, with Tobia Masini's Bigazzi Alfa Romeo 156 and Simone Di Luca's RJN Motorsport Nissan Primera in fifth and sixth positions respectively.

There was disappointment at Ravaglia Motorsport, whose drivers, Norman Simon and Peter Kox, usually occupy the front positions of the grid. Plagued by unidentified technical problems, the two BMW 320is of the Italian team were well off the pace. Eventually Simon qualified seventh, 1.057 seconds behind the pole. Kox, who is chasing Huisman in the championship classification, set his worst qualifying result of the season, and will start from ninth position on the grid. Newcomer Salvatore Tavano nearly repeated his free practice time, but could not achieve any better than twelfth position.

Tommy Rustad (NOR) - nr 3 RJN Motorsport Nissan– 3rd consecutive pole position : "I’m very happy to be on pole position again. The car was excellent. I did only one run which allowed us to save the tyres for the race. We are on a good stream at the moment. I pushed very hard to make a good time very early. When the track temperature is right, the tyres warm up very quickly. I was very happy it was not raining as Luis Villamil is very quick in the wet. "

Luis Villamil (ESP)– nr 18 Club Jarama RACE Alfa Romeo 156– 2nd on the grid : "I am very motivated as this is my hometrack. This result has been achieved thanks to the good work of the Scuderia Bigazzi, which prepares the car, all through the season. I was three seconds a lap faster than the other cars. The Italian tracks are my second home tracks. I tried my best at Monza but until Austria, my car was not very competitive. Since then, the car improved a lot and now we can compete to win races ! Tomorrow, I shall do my best and I hope that I shall be back here for the race press conference ! My sponsor, Alfa Romeo Spain, will be here tomorrow and I definitely want to keep my sponsor and my job for next year !"

Duncan Huisman (NED) - nr 14 Carly Motorsport BMW– 3rd on the grid: "First of all, I would like to thank my team, Carly Motorsport, as we had the best BMW today. Luis did a great job. I was one tenth behind him, I think. My car was OK. I think this was the maximum for us today. I had some problems in finding the right set-up, but on the new tyres you have the grip anyway, so I pushed really hard because I wanted to be on the first or second row. As Peter was struggling all day, it was important for me to be on the first row. I think the second row is OK and we should have a nice race tomorrow. I don’t think we are really having problems– the Nissan is just too quick for us. But I did a lot of laps in free practice on old tyres to work on the race set-up. I think we have a very good car for tomorrow, and I will have a good fight with Gianni (Morbidelli) and Luis for second place."

Peter Kox (NED)– nr 1 Ravaglia Motorsport BMW– 9th on the grid : "We had a lot of problems today. We tried many different solutions from the free practice onwards, but we never managed to sort them out. It’s strange, because we have tested in Varano last week, setting very good times. We are really puzzled because we can’t understand what exactly is going wrong on our cars. We will make other changes tomorrow for the warm-up, and will have to hope for the best."


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Series General
Drivers Peter Kox , Duncan Huisman , Gianni Morbidelli , Salvatore Tavano , Tommy Rustad