ETCC: Novo Mesto preview

The first title of the European Super Touring Cup will be awarded on sunday, after the two final rounds that will take place at Novo Mesto, in Slovenia. Alfa Romeo's Fabrizio Giovanardi and Honda's Peter Kox are sharpening their knives for the...

The first title of the European Super Touring Cup will be awarded on sunday, after the two final rounds that will take place at Novo Mesto, in Slovenia.

Alfa Romeo's Fabrizio Giovanardi and Honda's Peter Kox are sharpening their knives for the ultimate duel. They arrive at Novo Mesto with a 15-point difference in favour of Giovanardi, who reclaimed the series leadership by winning both races on the occasion of the latest Euro STC race-meeting at Vallelunga, ten days ago. As a result, he has to carry a 40-kg ballast on board, which means that his Alfa 156 will be 20 kg heavier than Kox's Honda Accord.

Actually, it's impossible to say how much that handicap will affect Giovanardi's performances, because nobody knows the track, that hosts its maiden race-meeting and it was completed only few days ago. The Mobitrack circuit has been realized on the tarmacs of an acient air base, very close to the thermal village of Cerklje ob Kirki, which is mid way between Novo Mesto and the Croatian border.

Because the circuit is brand new, even though the prohibition to test before the saturday morning warm-up will be observed, series organizer International Sport Communication has given a special permission to Giovanardi and Kox, as well as to Gianni Morbidelli (Bmw) and Roberto Colciago (Audi), to make reconnaisance of the track on thursday afternoon, at the wheel of road-going cars.

LESLIE TO DRIVE THIRD WORKS HONDA

Alfa Romeo and Honda will face each other with impressive line-ups: four red 156s entered by the Nordauto Engineering vs. three red-white Accords run by the JAS Engineering.

As in the previous rounds of the series, Giovanardi can count on precious help from Nicola Larini and Gianluca De Lorenzi, who were both capable to steal points to Kox during the season.

As to JAS, after having entered a second car for Gabriele Tarquini at Vallelunga, decided to triple its efforts, bringing at Novo Mesto a third Accord for Scotsman David Leslie.

Leslie, 47 years old, is one of the most experienced and successful drivers on the international Touring Car scene. His really impressive CV, reveals that he was works driver for Vauxhall, Mazda, Honda and Nissan, scored 11 BTCC outright wins and finished runner-up in the 1999 British champion, behind team-mate Laurent Aiello.

As Nissan pulled out from BTCC at the end of last year, he remained without a drive, but, because his skill and experience, he has been called several times during the season. Honda already used him in the BTCC race-meeting at Thruxton, to replace an injured James Thompson, and in the Spa 24 Hours.

As a new-comer to the series, Leslie has to carry a 60-kg ballast: 30 for its maiden race and 30 for driving a 2000 spec car; while Tarquini, who carried 60 kg at Vallelunga, will be allowed to pull out half of them, maintaining the 30 kg because of his 2000 spec car.

For Kox, who raced all alone for most of the season, being flanked . by such good drivers will be a big boost for the final rush At Novo . Mesto, Euro STC will also welcome back German privateer Heinrich . Symanzick, who took part in the Czech race-meeting at Brno, three weeks. ago. Symanzick, who will race again his Opel Vectra, is the only driver. not eligible to score championship points, because his team did not . enter in the series since the beginning of the season .

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EURO STC, ROUNDS 19 and 20 - FACTS & FIGURES Date: October 7/8, 2000 Venue: Mobitrack - Circuit Cerklje ob Kirki, Novo Mesto Contact: Matjaz Tomlje, Auto Sport Slovenia Tel. +386-611-339538, fax +386-612-301562 Track: 2.005 km Super Touring qualifying record: not exsisting Super Touring lap record: not exsisting

TIMETABLE Saturday 7 09.00-09.15 Euro STC warm-up

11.15-12.00 Euro STC free practice

14.00-14.20 Euro STC qualifying session Sunday 8 10.30-10.45 Euro STC warm-up

14.00 Start of Euro STC race-one (25 laps)

10-minute pause

Start of Euro STC race-two (25 laps)

Supporting races: Slovenian Touring Car Championship, Czech Skoda Octavia Cup, Slovenian Fiat 600 Trophy TV coverage: highlights on Eurosport

NOVO MESTO ENTRY LIST

team driver car 1 Nordauto Engineering Fabrizio Giovanardi (I) Alfa Romeo 156 Twin Spark 2 Nordauto Engineering Nicola Larini (I) Alfa Romeo 156 Twin Spark 3 CiBiEmme Engineering Emanuele Naspetti (I) BMW 320i E36 4 CiBiEmme Engineering Gianni Morbidelli (I) BMW 320i E36 5 AGS Motorsport Roberto Colciago (I) Audi A4 Quattro 7 Nordauto Engineering Romana Bernardoni (I) Alfa Romeo 156 Twin Spark 8 Nordauto Engineering Gianluca De Lorenzi (I) Alfa Romeo 156 Twin Spark 9 Christy's Team Massimo Pigoli (I) BMW 320i E36 10 Christy's Team Stefano Gabellini (I) BMW 320i E36 11 JAS Engineering Peter Kox (NL) Honda Accord R 15 Nath Racing Guido Lucchetti Cigarini (I) Audi A4 Quattro 16 National Team Slovakia Andrej Studenic (SK) Audi A4 Quattro 20 Greyhound Motorsport Gianluca Roda (I) Opel Vectra 16V 23 Raceline Racing Team Heinrich Symanzick (D) Opel Vectra 16V 24 JAS Engineering Gabriele Tarquini (I) Honda Accord R 25 AGS Motorsport Fabrizio De Simone (I) Audi A4 Quattro 27 JAS Engineering David Leslie (GB) Honda Accord R

EURO STC PROVISIONAL POINTS - AFTER 18 ROUNDS OUT OF 20 Drivers 1. Fabrizio Giovanardi 243 pts; 2. Peter Kox 228; 3. Gianni Morbidelli 179; 4. Nicola Larini 168; 5. Emanuele Naspetti 160; 6. Roberto Colciago 134; 7. Gianluca De Lorenzi 106; 8. Massimo Pigoli 55; 9. Stefano Gabellini 53; 10. Andrej Studenic 24. Teams 1. Nordauto Engineering 437 pts; 2. CiBiEmme Engineering 339; 3. JAS Engineering 232; 4. AGS Motorsport 150; 5. Christy's Team 111.

WEIGHT HANDICAPS AT VALLELUNGA 60 kg # 27 David Leslie JAS Engineering 40 kg # 1 Fabrizio Giovanardi Nordauto Engineering 30 kg # 24 Gabriele Tarquini JAS Engineering 30 kg # 2 Nicola Larini Nordauto Engineering 20 kg # 11 Peter Kox JAS Engineering 10 kg # 5 Roberto Colciago AGS Motorsport

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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Laurent Aiello , Peter Kox , David Leslie , James Thompson , Emanuele Naspetti , Gianni Morbidelli , Gabriele Tarquini , Nicola Larini , Roberto Colciago , Stefano Gabellini , Gianluca Roda