ETCC: Record 17-Car Entry at Austrian A-1 Ring

The European Super Touring Cup is ready to cross the Italian borders. On the coming weekend, the famed A-1 Ring, home of the Austrian F1 Grand Prix, will host its 3rd race meeting and the series will finally declare its continental...

The European Super Touring Cup is ready to cross the Italian borders. On the coming weekend, the famed A-1 Ring, home of the Austrian F1 Grand Prix, will host its 3rd race meeting and the series will finally declare its continental ambitions.

For this occasion, the Euro STC will set a record entry of 18 Super Touring cars, as two new participants will join. German Oliver Mayer and Italian Gianluca Roda, are ready to contest their maiden race in the series; both, Mayer and Roda are expected to become regular competitors in the series.

Mayer will drive the same Audi A4 Quattro he entered in the two latest seasons of the German Super Tourenwagen Cup. At the wheel of that car, the driver from Ingolstadt proved a strong and consistent Privateer competitor. In 1999 he scored points in all the championship's rounds and almost classified in the final top-ten; his best results were 7th positions obtained at Norisring and Hockenheim.

Roda is a familiar face to Super Touring fans. Since the 2-litre tin-tops began to race, in 1993, he was there, driving a variety of cars: from BMW E36 to Alfa 155, from Ford Mondeo to Opel Vectra. He also achieved good results as a Privateer; in 1997 he switched from the Mondeo to the Vectra, clinching a good 11th position overall in the Italian championship and 3rd in the Privateers Trophy. The year after he claimed his best result ever, classifying 5th on scratch at Misano. In the Euro STC, Roda will drive his 1996 Opel Vectra.

As to the third newcomer expected, German Heinrich Symanzick, he has cancelled the entry of his Opel Vectra.

After Kox and Giovanardi, will it be Naspetti's turn?

At Zeltweg, Alfa Romeo's Fabrizio Giovanardi will defend the series' leadership he snatched to Honda's Peter Kox, thanks to his dominating double win at Pergusa. The reigning Italian champion has never seen the A-1 Ring, while the Dutchman knows very well the track, where he raced the powerful McLaren-BMW on the 1997 FIA GT round. Indeed, most of the Euro STC drivers are newcomers for the Austrian F1 circuit's actual shape (it was shortened and modified in 1996), but Gianni Morbidelli and Andrej Studenic. In the 1997 Austrian Grand Prix, at the wheel of the Ferrari powered Sauber, Morbidelli finished a good 9th. Studenic raced twice at the A-1 Ring, for the Central European Super Touring; in 1998 the young Slovak was 2nd in qualifying and 3rd in race-two.

Certainly, the Euro STC's Austrian round it's not going to be a mere Giovanardi vs. Kox duel. Other drivers have great ambitions to join the fight for the series' lead. Nicola Larini, Giovanardi's teammate at Nordauto, is ready to score his first win of the season. He finished on the podium three rounds out of four and he's actually third on points, despite some bad luck on race-two at Pergusa. And don't forget Alfa Romeo's raising star Gianluca De Lorenzi, who claimed in Sicily his first Super Touring podium.

At the wheel of his AGS Motorsport Audi A4, Roberto Colciago will definitely be a serious contender at Zeltweg. The driver from Saronno knows very well how to master his four-wheel-driven car and, if the weather will turn to variable and rainy (not an unusual situation for the A-1 Ring), he will be the man to beat.

But there's another man who firmly wants to turn the Euro STC's 3rd meeting in a personal triumph: Emanuele Naspetti. The BMW man - Morbidelli's teammate at CiBiEmme - is pretty confident after his solid performance at Pergusa, where he stepped on the podium, climbing to 4th in the points. After a tough start at Mugello, Naspetti is now pushing very hard and he wishes to be the third man in the fight for the title. Eurosport will televise the Euro STC's 3rd round live on Sunday afternoon.

<pre> EURO STC, ROUNDS 5 and 6 - FACTS & FIGURES Date: May 13/14, 2000; Venue: A-1 Ring, Sonnenring 1, 8724 Spielberg, Austria; tel. +43 3577 75311, fax 753107 website: www.a1ring.at Track: 4,319 m; Super Touring qualifying record: 1:37.925, Josef Venc (Audi A4 Quattro), May 16, 1998; Super Touring lap record: 1:38.060, Josef Venc (Audi A4 Quattro), May 17, 1998;

Timetable:      
        Saturday 08.00-08.15    warm-up
                 10.25-11.10    practice
                 14.00-14.20    qualifying
        Sunday   11.10-11.25    warm-up
                 14.30          start of race-one (12 laps)
                 15.30          start of race-two (12 laps)

Supporting races: Austrian F3 and Touring Car Championships, Western and Central European Ferrari Challenges TV coverage: Sunday afternoon live on Eurosport, 14.00 Central European Time

A-1 RING ENTRY LIST

team driver car 1 Alfa Romeo Team Nordauto Fabrizio Giovanardi (I) Alfa Romeo 156 Twin Spark 2 Alfa Romeo Team Nordauto Nicola Larini (I) Alfa Romeo 156 Twin Spark 3 BMW Team CiBiEmme Emanuele Naspetti (I) BMW 320i E36 4 BMW Team CiBiEmme Gianni Morbidelli (I) BMW 320i E36 5 AGS Motorsport Roberto Colciago (I) Audi A4 Quattro 6 AGS Motorsport Stefano Bonello (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 12 Team Isert Sandro Sardelli (I) BMW 320i E36 14 Soli Racing Team Moreno Soli (I) Alfa Romeo 156 Twin Spark 15 P.S.G.R. Guido Lucchetti Cigarini (I) Audi A4 Quattro 16 National Team Slovakia Andrej Studenic (SK) Audi A4 Quattro 18 Alda Motorsport Andrzej Dzjurka (PL) Audi A4 Quattro 19 Mayer Motorsport Oliver Mayer (D) Audi A4 Quattro 20 Greyhound Racing Gianluca Roda (I) Opel Vectra 16V

EURO STC PROVISIONAL POINTS - AFTER 4 ROUNDS OUT OF 20

Drivers                                 Teams
1.      Fabrizio Giovanardi     62 pts  1.      Alfa Romeo Nordauto     116 pts
2.      Peter Kox               55      2.      BMW Team CiBiEmme       57
3.      Nicola Larini           48      3.      JAS Engineering         55
3.      Emanuele Naspetti       31      4.      Christy's Team          26
5.      Gianluca De Lorenzi     28      5.      AGS Motorsport          21

WEIGHT HANDICAPS 40 kg Giovanardi 30 kg Naspetti 20 kg De Lorenzi 10 kg Larini

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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Peter Kox , Emanuele Naspetti , Gianni Morbidelli , Nicola Larini , Josef Venc , Roberto Colciago , Oliver Mayer , Stefano Gabellini , Gianluca Roda
Teams Sauber