Imola: Sunday race one, two notes

DIRK MÜLLER STRECHES HIS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD On a very hot day in both air temperature and action on the track Fabrizio Giovanardi for Alfa Romeo and Dirk Müller for BMW, claimed victories in rounds 7 and 8. All considered, it was an...

DIRK MÜLLER STRECHES HIS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD

On a very hot day in both air temperature and action on the track Fabrizio Giovanardi for Alfa Romeo and Dirk Müller for BMW, claimed victories in rounds 7 and 8.

All considered, it was an advantagous weekend (in favour of) for the German driver, who managed to stretch his championship lead to 6 points, and BMW, because Andy Priaulx (two podiums for him today) moved up to second in the classification.

With Gabriele Tarquini and Jörg Müller out of the points, Giovanardi climbed to 4th in the championship.

However, Alessandro Zanardi was the man of the day. Starting from pole position on the reverse grid for the second race, the Italian driver took the lead and for three laps resisted the pressure from Dirk, Priaulx and Thompson. A little mistake caused him to drop behind his fellow BMW colleagues, but he managed to defend the third position until a few corners to the end, when Farfus punted him into a spin at the Acque Minerali, depriving him of his first podium result since his comeback to racing. Despite this Zanardi finished sixth, topping the classification of the Italian Championship like he had done in the first race.

Inquiries after the races resulted in the following decisions: Colciago will lose ten grid position for the next race due to his incident with Gené in Race 1; Plato received a similar penalty due to his collision with Thompson in Race 2; as for the incident between Farfus and Zanardi in Race 2, the Brazilian youngster will also lose ten positions on the grid of the next race, but furthermore if he is involved in a similar incident during one of the two following events, he will also be excluded from that race.

The FIA WTCC will now take a one month break, before hitting the track again for Rounds 9 and 10 on 26th of June in Puebla, Mexico.

RACE 1 GIOVANARDI CLAIMS HIS FIRST WIN

An engine change resulted in Terting dropped by ten position on the grid. Tarquini also was demoted to 14th despite qualifying 5th due to the implementation of the suspended penalty he incurred at Silverstone.

The start of the race saw García overtake Giovanardi off the line and in quick succession Priaulx also overtook the Alfa on the inside of the first corner. Within the first lap Giovanardi claimed back second position from the BMW UK driver. Jörg Müller and Tarquini made contact at Tamburello. The latter rejoined the race behind the pack, the former went to the pits before rejoining, one lap behind.

In lap 2, Colciago braked extremely late and sent Gené's SEAT into the barriers at Tosa. Giovanardi claimed the lead from García for good, while fellow BMW drivers Priaulx and Dirk Müller both had the final podium position in their sights. Lap 6 saw Plöderl rolling his Ford Focus car, but escaping uninjured.

In the final laps, Dirk was closing the gap on Priaulx. The difference was reduced from over one second in lap eight to half a second and then just four tenths in laps nine and ten. Priaulx managed to hold on to third spot. Farfus finished fifth and Colciago was sixth, therefore scoring Honda's first points. Chevrolet's Larini and Menu were classified 13th and 14th, while Ford's Klenke was 17th. His team- mate Jäger had a puncture on the last lap. Balzan had maintained his 12th position for the entire race to be the best of the Independent drivers. Zanardi finished a brilliant 8th position overall and therefore won the Italian Superturismo race and also pole position for the second race.

RACE 1 ZANARDI SHINES BUT DIRK WINS

Alessandro Zanardi started from pole on the reversed grid. Jörg Müller began the race from the pit lane. Dirk Müller and Andy Priaulx had a great start as they both jumped from fifth and sixth positions to second and third respectively while Zanardi held on to the top spot. Antonio García also gained two places off the start, he went into the first corner in fifth position while Alfa Romeo man Augusto Farfus, and Roberto Colciago made contact. Robert Huff and Stefano Valli collided at the Tosa, and neither were able to continue.

A pack of four, consisting of the top three BMWs and the Alfa of James Thompson, edged away over the opening laps. On lap 2, Fabrizio Giovanardi overtook team- mate Farfus for sixth place. The leading pack had been caught by lap three due to the battle between the BMWs. Dirk made his move on Zanardi on the final corner of the lap and was successful in gaining the lead. The race was so close at this point that the first 12 drivers crossed the line within three seconds.

Zanardi lost another place in lap 4 as Priaulx demoted him to third. García and Giovanardi clashed, meaning the Spaniard fell from fifth to 11th. Giovanardi was overtaken by Farfus two laps later, while Jörg Muller continued to make great progress (having started from the pit lane) by overtaking Alain Menu and Jordi Gené to claim 14th place. He eventually finished 12th overall, one place behind Nicola Larini. The latter for the whole race was able to in touch with the leading pack, and claimed the best result so far for Chevrolet in the FIA WTCC.

Thompson came under siege from the SEATs on lap 7. Rickard Rydell passed him which forced the Briton off his line and as a result Plato pushed him off the track. He rejoined in 14th place but damage to his car meant he finished in 22nd. Lap 7 contained more breathtaking moments as Priaulx chased Dirk for his first race win of the season. As they began lap 8, the gap was just 0.323 of a second.

On the final lap, Farfus tried to overtake Zanardi for third place but was unable to do so cleanly. Contact was made at the Acque Minerali and after re-gaining control, Farfus finished fifth with Zanardi crossing the line sixth overall and first in the Italian Superturismo race his second of the day. Priaulx made a final attempt to take race victory but went wide and therefore had to settle for second. Balzan repeated the Independent victory he had in race 1. Thomas Klenke of Ford achieved exactly the same result as in race 1 by crossing the chequered flag 17th.

-fia-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Andy Priaulx , Antonio Garcia , Dirk Müller , Jorg Muller , James Thompson , Rickard Rydell , Gabriele Tarquini , Nicola Larini , Thomas Klenke , Roberto Colciago , Stefano Valli , Alain Menu