ETCC: Silverstone: Round two preview

LG Super Racing Weekend Round 2 - Silverstone Great Britain 2nd - 5th May 2002 Less than two weeks after the successful start to the 2002 season at the French track of Magny Cours, the teams and drivers taking part in the LG Super Racing Weekend...

LG Super Racing Weekend
Round 2 - Silverstone Great Britain
2nd - 5th May 2002

Less than two weeks after the successful start to the 2002 season at the French track of Magny Cours, the teams and drivers taking part in the LG Super Racing Weekend series will be crossing the English Channel for another weekend of competition at Silverstone. Sunny, spring-like weather attracted the crowds to Magny Cours, and over 58,000 watched the inaugural rounds of the 2002 season of the FIA GT Championship, the FIA European Touring Car Championship, the Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup, the Renault Sport Clio Trophy and the Lamborghini GTR Supertrophy. At Silverstone, they will be joined by two leading national series : the British GT and Formula Three Championships. Silverstone is situated approximately 100 km north of London, between Northampton and Milton Keynes. Built on the site of a former airbase, the 5.14 km Grand Prix circuit is therefore relatively flat, with fast, challenging corners and is generally popular with drivers.

The FIA European Touring Car Championship was a regular visitor to Silverstone between 1970 and 1988. On its return in 2001, Gabriele Tarquini (JAS Honda Accord) won both the rounds of the FIA European Super Touring Championship, while Peter Kox won the Super Production race. With the new Super 2000 cars racing in a single Championship this season, GTA Racing Team Nordauto will be hoping to continue their run of success after their double victory in Magny Cours.


The first round of the 2002 season of the FIA European Touring Car Championship saw Fabrizio Giovanardi win both Magny Cours races in an Alfa Romeo 156, followed by his GTA Racing Team Nordauto team-mate Nicola Larini. In both races, Dirk Müller, driving for BMW Team Deutschland, finished in third place, in his BMW 320i E46, with Rickard Rydell fourth in the Volvo S60 entered by Volvo S60 Racing Team.

After the close racing at Magny Cours, the teams are now preparing for the second race of the season, to take place at the British track of Silverstone

GIOVANARDI CONFIDENT FOR SILVERSTONE (1st in Drivers Championship, 20 points)
Fabrizio Giovanardi, current leader of the FIA European Touring Car Championship, is confident that the Alfa Romeo domination seen at Magny Cours will continue at Silverstone. "There is not enough time to make significant changes to the cars between these two meetings. Therefore, I hope that Silverstone will be see a repeat of the results we had last weekend. It might be even better for us, because the British circuit is faster, and our car has an advantage in terms of acceleration and top speed. I expect the situation will change by Brno, and I am sure that Volvo and BMW will be competitive by then." Giovanardi is also leading the Michelin Trophy, a classification determined by the fastest laps set by each driver during every race. The Italian was fastest in race one, and second fastest in race two, and also claimed an additional point for pole position, giving him a one-point lead over Larini going into the second meeting of the season.

RYDELL RETURNS TO GREAT BRITAIN (4th in Drivers Championship, 6 points)
A former British Touring Car Champion, Swedish driver Rickard Rydell is pleased to be competing at Silverstone. "I am really happy to race in the FIA European Touring Car Championship, because I think it is a great series with a lot of good drivers," Rydell explained. "But I am also happy to return to the United Kingdom, where I spent seven years competing in the British Touring Car Championship. I have a lot of fans there, and I am looking forward to see them supporting me rather than my Italian and German rivals." Driving a Prodrive-built Volvo S60, Rydell finished in fourth place in both Magny Cours rounds. "Alfa Romeo is clearly a step ahead of us. Hopefully in Silverstone we will find more speed and be closer. We will try very hard, but honestly, I do not see much hope for anything better than third place behind Giovanardi and Larini - unless they have problems."

The two young British drivers who are competing in this year's FIA European Touring Car Championship are looking forward to the Silverstone round. "I cannot wait for qualifying to start," 20-year old Tom Ferrier said. "After my Magny Cours performance, when I qualified fifth, I have high hopes. My goal is third place, behind the factory Alfa Romeo cars of Giovanardi and Larini." Ferrier is driving a Dart Racing Alfa Romeo 156 Gta this season; he retired from both round one and two with gearbox problems. "That will not happen again," he explained. "The Alfa Romeo technicians have managed to fix the problem. I am sure we will finish the races in Britain."

The other British driver is James Hanson, aged 24, who will be behind the wheel of a Volvo S60, built by Prodrive. "My handicap is that I have not had enough time in the car," Hanson said. "At Magny Cours, I was only able to complete nine or ten laps before qualifying, due to technical problems. But I know the Volvo will be better in Silverstone, because it likes the long, high-speed corners. I like the track, and I am aiming for a top ten qualifying position. In the races, I would like to score my first points, but I know it will not be an easy task."

Cibiemme Team has received the first of two Super 2000 Honda Civic cars from JAS Motorsport, enabling Italian driver Salvatore Tavano to drive it at Silverstone, instead of the Super Production car he used at Magny Cours. "Although we will not have the full Super 2000 engine yet, I am happy because we will be able to work on the set-up of the new chassis," said Tavano. His team-mate, Sandro Sardelli, should receive his new car for the third meeting at Brno. "We know we have a lot of work to make the Civic competitive, and even after we receive the new engine, we will have to spend two or three races on the development. But I am very confident, because I realised while driving the Super Production model that the car has great potential," Tavano explained.

After missing the opening rounds of the FIA European Touring Car Championship in Magny Cours, the second RJN Motorsport Nissan Primera will race at Silverstone. "As originally planned, we will run the car for Chris Buncombe", said team manager Bob Neville. Buncombe, a 22 year-old from Somerset, Great Britain, will be racing alongside Norwegian driver Tommy Rustad: "We shared an RJN Nissan Primera at the 2000 24 Hours of Spa," Buncombe explained. " I am happy to have the opportunity to work with him and the team again, and I am really looking forward to this new challenge. However, I know it will take me some time to get used to the car. I will have to use the two free practice sessions on Saturday morning to learn how to handle it. Furthermore, despite being English, I also have to learn the track because I have never raced on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit before." Buncombe, who drove Formula Renault and Formula 3 last year, hopes to remain with the team for the rest of the year. "We missed Magny Cours because of some unexpected problems with my sponsors, but I'm still planning to do the whole season. Hopefully we will be able to fix everything in Silverstone."

Having won the FIA European Super Production Championship in 2001, Carly Motors - Team Isert is one of the leading teams taking part in the 2002 Championship. However, none of the team's three drivers managed to score points in the first two rounds at Magny Cours. With the BMW 320i E46 cars of Gianni Morbidelli and Tom Coronel backed by BMW UK, the team is hoping for improvement. "Obviously, we would like to be competitive to please BMW UK, and the team is working hard to improve the cars," Morbidelli explained. "But to be realistic, I would say that time is against us. Despite this, I think we could score some points in Silverstone. I am pleased be racing there again, as I spent a large part of my career in Great Britain, and have good memories of my Formula One years with Arrows, and my British Touring Car Championship season with Volvo."


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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Dirk Müller , Tom Coronel , Peter Kox , Rickard Rydell , Gianni Morbidelli , Salvatore Tavano , Chris Buncombe , Tom Ferrier , Tommy Rustad