ETCC: Vallelunga qualifying

Vallelunga - Sept. 23, 2000 Weather: sunny, track: dry, temperature 27°C. The duellists will start side to side. Peter Kox claimed another pole in the Euro STC last-but-one round, edging rival Fabrizio Giovanardi by 83 thousandths of a...

Vallelunga - Sept. 23, 2000

Weather: sunny, track: dry, temperature 27°C.

The duellists will start side to side. Peter Kox claimed another pole in the Euro STC last-but-one round, edging rival Fabrizio Giovanardi by 83 thousandths of a second. It's been the Dutchman's seventh pole of the season and might prove decisive for the championship's final result. "For me it was the best of them all, because it was totally unexpected. I was pretty sure that Giovanardi should have been faster than me here", Kox commented. And indeed the Alfa Romeo point man was really upset. "I wanted this pole - Giovanardi said - and I pushed very hard to obtain it. I was so sure of my chances that I voluntarily missed free practice to save the tyres. Unfortunately the temperature grew hotter and totally changed the grip conditions; suddenly my car proved a lot understeering and in the end I was happy to clinch the front row on my last attempt". Nicola Larini and Gabriele Tarquini will fill the second row of the grid. It will be interesting to watch them at the start, as they are asked to play the important role to help their team-mates (Giovanardi and Kox respectively). "We are going to crash into each other at the first bend" Larini joked.

As usual the BMWs of Emanuele Naspetti and Gianni Morbidelli were outpaced in qualifying, but they are expected to be competitive in the races. "I should have been more comfortable not lose the second row by just two tenths, but I'm confident we will be on the pace" Naspetti declared. Roberto Colciago set the 6th time and he will line-up sandwiched by the BMW men. His new team mate Fabrizio De Simone, on his first race of the year, qualified a promising 9th, behind Gianluca De Lorenzi, despite he never drove a four-wheel-driven car before. But to overshadow all these happenings, Johnny Cecotto surprisingly came to join the series at the wheel of the Isert Team BMW. On saturday morning the German squad was on the point to pack its bags and leave the track, because regular driver Sandro Sardelli has ran out of budget. Frantically, series organisers ISC looked for an emergency solution, not to lose the orange BMW for the meeting. In a couple of hours the problems has been solved, by convincing the South American driver to take over Sardelli. An executive jet took of from Milan and landed in Treviso to pick up Cecotto and to deliver him at Ciampino, Rome's second airport, where a car was waiting to drive him to Vallelunga, where he arrived just 20 minutes before the qualifying session. Cecotto, who was twice German and once Italian Touring Car champion, made just few races in 1999; he set the 12th time, 2.2 seconds slower than the fastest BMW. "You couldn't expect me to do better - he said - because I haven't driven the car before and the also because I accepted to came here just to meet my old friends and rivals. Anyway we will work on the car's set-up and hopefully I will be a bit more competitive in the races".

<pre> QUALIFYING RESULTS

1.      Peter Kox (NL)  JAS Engineering Honda Accord    1:14.075 156.58 kmh
2.      Fabrizio Giovanardi (I) Nordauto Engineering    Alfa Romeo 156 1:14.152 + 0.077
3.      Nicola Larini (I)       Nordauto Engineering    Alfa Romeo 156 1:14.197 + 0.122
4.      Gabriele Tarquini (I)   JAS Engineering Honda Accord    1:14.371 + 0.296
5.      Emanuele Naspetti (I)   CiBiEmme Engineering    BMW 320i E36 1:14.596   + 0.521
6.      Roberto Colciago (I)    AGS Motorsport  Audi A4 Quattro 1:15.043 + 0.968
7.      Gianni Morbidelli       CiBiEmme Engineering    BMW 320i E36 1:15.330   + 1.255
8.      Gianluca De Lorenzi (I) Nordauto Engineering    Alfa Romeo 156 1:15.404 + 1.329
9.      Fabrizio De Simone (I)  AGS Motorsport  Audi A4 Quattro 1:15.917 + 1.842
10.     Stefano Gabellini (I)   Christy's Team  BMW 320i E36    1:16.075 + 2.000
11.     Massimo Pigoli (I)      Christy's Team  BMW 320i E36    1:16.075 + 2.000
12.     Johnny Cecotto (YV)     Team Isert      BMW 320i E36    1:16.722 + 2.647
13.     Gianluca Roda (I)       Greyhound Motorsport    Opel Vectra 16V 1:17.377        + 3.302
14.     Guido Lucchetti Cigarini (I)    Nath Racing     Audi A4 Quattro 1:17.883        + 3.808
15.     Romana Bernardoni (I)   Nordauto Engineering    Alfa Romeo  156 1:18.284        + 4.209
16.     Moreno Soli (I) Soli Racing Team        Alfa Romeo 156  1:18.546 + 4.471                        

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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Peter Kox , Johnny Cecotto , Emanuele Naspetti , Gianni Morbidelli , Gabriele Tarquini , Nicola Larini , Roberto Colciago , Stefano Gabellini , Gianluca Roda