Imola: Pre-race notes

ALFA ROMEO RACING TEAM WITHDREW APPEAL Alfa Romeo Racing Team did not confirm the appeal they had lodged on Sunday 15th May in Silverstone, against the decision taken by the Stewards on the incident that involved Gabriele Tarquini and SEAT...


Alfa Romeo Racing Team did not confirm the appeal they had lodged on Sunday 15th May in Silverstone, against the decision taken by the Stewards on the incident that involved Gabriele Tarquini and SEAT Sport's Peter Terting during the second race. That collision caused a chain reaction resulting in Tarquini's team-mate James Thompson being beached in the gravel trap.

The Stewards blamed Tarquini for having caused an avoidable accident and decided to impose on him a drop of ten places on the starting grid of the first race in Imola, and also an exclusion, suspended for the events in Imola and Puebla. Should Tarquini be involved in a similar incident, he will be excluded from that race.


The Touring Car Bureau has confirmed the decision, taken before Silverstone, to reduce the minimum weight of all front-wheel-drive cars by 20 kg. Having considered the lap times set during the races on the British racetrack, the Bureau has maintained the same weights for Imola.

The Bureau has also decided to reduce the minimum weight of Alessandro Zanardi's BMW 320i by 20-kg. The decision has been taken further to consideration of the lap times set by the Italian driver in Monza, Magny-Cours and Silverstone.


Bologna's Piazza Maggiore was a hub of activity yesterday as the FIA WTCC came to town. Ahead of rounds 7 and 8 of the championship fans got to see the cars close up as well as meet some of the drivers. These included Italian aces Alessandro Zanardi, Nicola Larini, and Fabrizio Giovanardi, as well as reigning FIA ETCC champion Andy Priaulx and Austrian driver Sascha Ploderl.

With a clear blue sky, the famous Neptune's fountain a striking background for the five racing cars, and large enthusiastic crowds, it was certainly a successful event for all. On Sunday the fans will gather at Imola to see the real show the bumper to bumper action of the races.


Alessandro Zanardi was presented with the Laureus World Sports Award for the Comeback Sportsman of the Year 2004, at Estoril. In addition to the 38-year-old racing driver who made a come back with BMW in the 2003 FIA European Touring Car Championship's final meeting at Monza, honours also went to tennis player Roger Federer (Sportsman of the Year), athlete Kelly Holmes (Sportswoman of the Year) and the Greek national football team, winner of the European Championship. "I am very proud to have received this award," said Zanardi. "It's like standing at the top of the podium after winning a race. With this award in my hands, I go to Imola with an even greater incentive."


Carlos Mastretta faces his FIA WTCC debut in Imola. The 21 year old Mexican, who is primarily competing in the Mexican Copa Corona this season, will be driving a GR Asia SEAT Toledo Cupra.

"I am very much looking forward to my first appearance," he commented. "This event is big, the organisation is great and all the competitors are of a very high level. I'm sure all of these things will result in a great show. This weekend is going to be a real challenge for me considering that I have just one hour to get used to the car and the circuit, but I am sure I will have all the support of the team. Here in Imola I am aiming to learn and progress so I have a chance of some good results at my home race in Puebla."


PRIAULX: On last Sunday Andy Priaulx made a guest appearance at the BMW Power Festival in Rockingham; he his own WTCC BMW 320i, a BMW Williams F1 car and the BMW V12 LMR with which BMW won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1999.

PLODERL: Before rejoining FIA WTCC in Imola in his RS-Line IPZ Racing Ford Focus, Sascha Ploderl took part in the German Production Car Championship's meeting at Hockenheim. The Austrian claimed two podium results: 2nd in Race 1 and 3rd in Race 2.

DAD GABRIELE: Congratulations to Gabriele Tarquini, father for the first time. A few days ago his partner Beatrice gave birth to Giulia, a gorgeous little girl of 3.7 kg. A pink bow is hanging from the Alfa Romeo Racing Team's hospitality to celebrate the birth.


Nicola Larini about Imola: "It is a track where it is very difficult to overtake. If you don't want a driver to pass you he just can't. If you want to pass a slower driver, all you can do is force him into a mistake, or wait until he runs wide at a corner."


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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Andy Priaulx , James Thompson , Peter Terting , Gabriele Tarquini , Nicola Larini , Sascha Ploderl , Carlos Mastretta
Teams Williams