EU Series - Battistuzzi is new champion... France - Opel is champion in French Formula 3... Intl. Gp N - Opel strengthens lead after Dijon... Britain - Disappointing finale for Vectras... Ireland - Loughrey wins title after ...
EU Series - Battistuzzi is new champion... France - Opel is champion in French Formula 3... Intl. Gp N - Opel strengthens lead after Dijon... Britain - Disappointing finale for Vectras... Ireland - Loughrey wins title after Mondello... =09=09=09=09=09=09=09=09=0922.9.97
EU Series - Battistuzzi is new champion...
Brazilian Marcelo Battistuzzi (Vergani Racing) is the 1997 Formula Opel EU Series champion after he and Britain's Adam Wilcox (Wilcox Motorsport) dominated Mondello Park's Leinster Trophy in Ireland at the weekend, taking one victory each in the showpiece events.
"I'm really, really happy to win the championship with a race victory," explained a delighted Battistuzzi. "I know how important the Leinster Trophy is and the big names that have won it before like Senna, Lehto and Hakkinen. Now I can go to Germany next week for the final rounds supporting the Grand Prix and really enjoy myself without any pressure."
For Saturday's 33 lap race, Wilcox qualified on pole and made a superb start away from fellow front-row man Sepp Koster (AR Motorsport) with rapid Austrian Walter Thimmler (WT Motorsport) and Portuguese driver Ricardo Teodosio (AR Motorsport) just behind. Andrea Piccini (Penker Racing Academy), from fourth on the grid, was well down the order with series leader Brazilian Marcelo Battistuzzi (Vergani Racing) starting from a lowly fifth on the grid also trailing behind.
A storming charge from Irishman David Collier (Cliff Dempsey Racing), from 10th on the grid, saw the youngster soon carving his way through the field to catch Thimmler, but despite several attempts Collier could make no further progress.
By just over mid-distance a titanic battle between the two championship protagonists, Battistuzzi and Portuguese driver Goncalo Gomes (Campos Racing), had developed which saw the pair collide at the Coca Cola Hairpin on lap 26, pitching the unfortunate Gomes into a spin. Battistuzzi was able to momentarily maintain his fifth place, while Gomes rejoined in 9th. A lap later and Battistuzzi, with a badly damaged front wing, was hauled in by Stuart Saggers (Motaworld) and his Vergani team-mate Alessandro Marelli who held fifth and sixth places to the flag.
Sunday's 25 lap race for the prestigious Leinster Trophy was the one every driver wanted to win. In qualifying it was Koster who set the pace, putting his AR Motorsport car on pole position just ahead of Battistuzzi, but at the lights the Brazilian rocketed away into first place quickly establishing an advantage over the chasing pack.
A fantastic start from Saggers saw him soon up into second place with a hard charging Wilcox chasing. It all ended in tears at the Hairpin when, inevitably, the pair collided sending Saggers into a spin and enabling Koster to move into second place ahead of a recovering Wilcox.
Battistuzzi took the victory and with it achieved his year-long quest by clinching the Formula Opel EU champion's title. His is the 10th name on the Formula Opel roll of honour, joining a group of drivers who have now established themselves at the highest level of the sport.
1 Adam Wilcox (GB) 2 Sepp Koster (NL) 3 Walter Thimmler (A) 4 David Collier (IRL) 5 Stuart Saggers (GB) 6 Alessandro Marelli (I)
1 Marcelo Battistuzzi (BR) 2 Sepp Koster (NL) 3 Adam Wilcox (GB) 4 Giovanni Montanari (I) 5 David Collier (IRL) 6 Donal Loughrey (IRL)
Formula Opel EU Series - after 10 rounds (of 13):
1 Marcelo Battistuzzi (BR) 154 points 2 Sepp Koster (NL) 93.5 3 Goncalo Gomes (P) 86.5 4 Giovanni Montanari (I) 73 5 Adam Wilcox (GB) 72 6 Walter Thimmler (A) 58
France - Opel is champion in French Formula 3...
Patrice Gay (GRAFF Racing) became the 1997 French Formula 3 champion on Sunday when he took fifth place in the 17-lap race at his team's home circuit, Le Mans, driving a Dallara/Opel - exactly a year to the day that former GRAFF team-mate Sohei Ayari became the record breaking 1996 champion for Opel.
This 17th and final race of the championship was won by Franck Montagny (Martini/Opel) who became the most successful driver of the year with four victories to his credit and giving the Martini chassis its fifth victory in France.
Stephane Sallaz (Dallara/Opel) took pole, his first, but Montagny swept through into the lead at the first chicane from third on the grid followed by Fabrice Walfisch (Dallara/Opel) and the leading trio held that position to the chequered flag.
1 Franck Montagny Martini/Opel 2 Fabrice Walfisch Dallara/Opel 3 Stephane Sallaz Dallara/Opel 4 Sebastien Philippe Dallara/Opel 5 Patrice Gay Dallara/Opel 6 Steve Heisse Dallara/Fiat
French Formula 3 - final positions after 17 rounds:
1 Patrice Gay Dallara/Opel 151 points 2 Stephane Sarrazin Dallara/Fiat 141 3 David Saelens (B) Dallara/Opel 131 4 Franck Montagny Martini/Opel 129 5 Fabrice Walfisch Dallara/Opel 126 6 Sebastien Philippe Dallara/Opel 117
Intl. Gp N - Opel strengthens lead after Dijon...
The Opel Astra (M=FChlner Motorsport) of Wolfgang Savelsbergh strengthened its lead of the FIA International Group N Series after winning at Dijon in France last weekend. Co-driven by Eric Neve, Savelsbergh won the 2.0-liter section of the first, 60 minutes race on Saturday to take maximum points, while Neve did the same in the Sunday hour-long race.
This now means that Savelsbergh can afford to finish second in the final races at Vallelunga in Italy next month and still take the champion's title for the second year running for Opel and M=FChlner Motorsport.
FIA International Gp N - after 7 rounds (of 8):
1 Wolfgang Savelsbergh (D) Opel 80 points 2 Graham Elliott (GB) Honda 74 Brian Stillwell (GB) Honda 74 4 Stefan Van Dyke (B) BMW 72.5 5 Ian Khan (GB) BMW 71 6 Michel Luxen (B) BMW 58
Britain - Disappointing finale for Vectras...
John Cleland and Derek Warwick finished the 1997 British Touring Car Championship in 12th and 14th places despite failing to claim any points from the final pair of races at Silverstone on Sunday.
Warwick and Cleland both made good starts from 14th and 16th on the grid in the first, 17-lap race, to hold 12th and 13th places. Then Warwick's throttle stuck open and after a few laps controlling the car on the ignition switch, he pitted for repairs, leaving Cleland to finish 12th.
In the second, 20-lap race Cleland started from the back of the grid after his qualifying time was disallowed due to a ride-height discrepancy, but jumped up from 21st to 14th by the first corner, with Warwick ahead in 13th. Then a fuse came loose in Cleland's car and as he suddenly slowed, he was hit from behind by John Bintcliffe (Audi) sending him spinning to the rear of the field once more. In true Cleland style, he recovered to storm through to finish in 11th place. Warwick's drive was cut short by a sticking throttle problem again.
1 Alain Menu (CH) Renault 2 Anthony Reid Nissan 3 Jason Plato Renault 4 Gabriele Tarquini (I) Honda 5 Kelvin Burt Volvo 6 David Leslie Nissan
1 Jason Plato Renault 2 Alain Menu (CH) Renault 3 Gabriele Tarquini (I) Honda 4 James Thompson Honda 5 Paul Radisich (NZ) Ford 6 David Leslie Nissan
British Touring Cars - final positions after 24 rounds:
1 Alain Menu (CH) Renault 281 points 2 Frank Biela (D) Audi 171 3 Jason Plato Renault 170 4 Rickard Rydell (S) Volvo 137 5 James Thompson Honda 132 6 Gabriele Tarquini (I) Honda 119
Ireland - Loughrey wins title after Mondello...
Donal Loughrey has won the Irish Formula Opel championship for the second consecutive year, despite a second place finish in the 21-lap race at Mondello Park on Sunday. Vivion Daly dominated the race, but was under pressure from David Collier during the early stages, but when Collier slowed with fuel feed problems, Loughrey swept past to take second place and clinch the champion's title.
1 Vivion Daly 2 Donal Loughrey 3 David Collier 4 Ken Grandon 5 Jonathan Fildes 6 Mark Kershaw
Irish Formula Opel - final positions after 10 rounds:
1 Donal Loughrey 142 points 2 Vivion Daly 138 3 Ken Grandon 121 4 Adrian Pollock 70 5 Jonathan Fildes 70 6 Mark Kershaw 64