Imola: Saturday notes

Weather: sunny and hot, with a dry track. FORMER FOOTBALL ACE MASSARO PATRON OF IMOLA RACES Daniele Massaro, former football ace, is the patron of the FIA WTCC at Imola.44 year old from Monza, Massaro was one of the most successful Italian ...

Weather: sunny and hot, with a dry track.

FORMER FOOTBALL ACE MASSARO PATRON OF IMOLA RACES

Daniele Massaro, former football ace, is the patron of the FIA WTCC at Imola.44 year old from Monza, Massaro was one of the most successful Italian players in the Eighties and Nineties. A midfielder for Fiorentina and Milan, with the latter team he won the Italian Championship four times and the Champions League twice. He also achieved 15 caps with the Italian National Team.

Since the end of his football career, Massari competed in a number of rallies and races, and in Imola, he will take part in the Trofeo Maserati race in a Sportitalia- backed car. He then will join the drivers for the autograph session in the paddock at 10.30 am.

PRACTICE 1: GIOVANARDI IS FASTEST

Within the first five minutes Priaulx, Dirk Müller and Giovanardi had set a fastest lap. The latter remained at the top and improved his best lap three times, with the fastest being 1:59.406. Rydell's last lap was his fastest, promoting him to second spot (0.730 seconds slower than Giovanardi) while Farfus and Gené set the third and fourth fastest times lately in the session. BMW's Dirk Müller, García and Jörg Müller were fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. Positions 2 (Rydell) to 12 (Thompson) were all within 9 tenths.

Nicola Larini was the best of the Chevrolets in 16th place, 2.405 seconds off the pace, and Klenke headed the Ford's - 22nd best overall. His team-mate Jäger only managed to complete 4 laps due to engine problems. Tavano looked set to secure the quickest of the Independents' times until, with four minutes remaining, De Michelli completed a lap of 2:00.987 in his Honda Accord. This was also the best time out of the Superturismo competitors, demoting Zanardi to second. De Micheli's performance matched his team-mate Colciago's (eighth overall), proving that JAS Motorsport Hondas can compete with the works cars.

PRACTICE 2 DRASTIC IMPROVEMENT FOR FORD

Tarquini started as fastest but was demoted to second by team-mate Giovanardi half way through the session. In the opening minutes, Tarquini had set a time of 2:00.444 which remained at the top until Giovanardi posted a 1:59.880, half-a- second faster than the rest of the field. Subsequently Tarquini spun at Rivazza and was unable to rejoin.

SEAT Sport's Plato was among the quickest for the entire session with his best lap being just 0.641 seconds behind the top time, he claimed third spot. García was sixth fastest overall and best of the BMW cars while team-mate Zanardi set his best time with three minutes remaining, topping the Italian Superturismo field for a brilliant 9th place overall.

Ford just missed out on a top ten slot with Jäger posting the 11th fastest lap of the session, 1.415 seconds behind the best lap, a drastic improvement in performance after an engine change that solved the problems of the first session. Coronel emerged as the fastest independent and ranked 12th overall.

QUALIFYING ALFA ON POLE, AHEAD OF BMW AND SEAT

Fabrizio Giovanardi proved the fastest man in Imola, claiming his second consecutive pole position after that in last year's FIA ETCC. In all the sessions the Alfa Romeo man was half a second faster than the rest of the field, and in qualifying he went to top of the timesheet in the early stages, clocking a time of 1:59.132 and demoting his team-mate Augusto Farfus who had set a provisional pole with a lap in 1:59.577.

He managed to drastically improve his time within the final five minutes to ensure he remained there. His best lap was 1:58.573 over half a second ahead of Antonio García's best time for second place.

Jordi Gené looked as though he would begin tomorrow's first race in second place until the BMW Team Italy-Spain driver, García set a time just 0.158 seconds quicker on his last lap. The qualifying session ended with drivers from three different Manufacturers Alfa Romeo, BMW and SEAT at the top.

Andy Priaulx spun at Villeneuve half way into the session but rejoined and jumped from twelfth to sixth on his last lap. Farfus and Gabriele Tarquini occupy fourth and fifth places respectively. However the latter will be dropped by ten places on the grid, due to the penalty for the incident with Terting at Silverstone.

Roberto Colciago continued to impress by qualifying seventh in his JAS Motorsport Honda Accord, while his team-mate Adriano De Micheli was the fastest of both, the Independents Trophy and the Italian Superturismo Championship, as well as qualifying 12th overall.

Alain Menu qualified 17th, the best of the Chevrolet drivers and 1.977 seconds slower than Giovanardi. Ford drivers, Thomas Klenke and Thomas Jäger were 26th and 27th quickest. However, the latter will start from the back of the grid due to an engine change occurred in the morning, between the free practice sessions.

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Andy Priaulx , Antonio Garcia , Dirk Müller , Jorg Muller , Thomas Jäger , Augusto Farfus , Gabriele Tarquini , Jordi Gene , Nicola Larini , Thomas Klenke , Roberto Colciago , Alain Menu