DOUBLE TRIUMPH FOR ALFA ROMEO, AS THOMPSON GRABS THE LEAD Alfa Romeo cars clearly dominated the FIA WTCC Mexican weekend. N.technology's three drivers claimed two 1-2 finishes for the Italian manufacturer, results that propelled Augusto Farfus...
DOUBLE TRIUMPH FOR ALFA ROMEO, AS THOMPSON GRABS THE LEAD
Alfa Romeo cars clearly dominated the FIA WTCC Mexican weekend.
N.technology's three drivers claimed two 1-2 finishes for the Italian manufacturer, results that propelled Augusto Farfus back in the fight for the title. The Brazilian driver is now on equal points with Andy Priaulx, and they are only three points behind James Thompson, who grabbed the lead thanks to a couple of fifth places. The Championship is still wide opened with six drivers, representing three manufacturers (SEAT, BMW and Alfa Romeo) covered by only 9 points.
In the first race the limelight shone on two young drivers, Salvatore Tavano who claimed his first WTCC victory, and Ryan Sharp, third overall in the JAS Motorsport independent Honda Accord.
The second race saw Farfus jumping ahead of his team-mate Gianni Morbidelli to clinch his second win of the season; while another independent, Tom Coronel, seemed able to challenge Rickard Rydell for third before being slowed down by a technical problem.
Dirk Muller and Priaulx saved BMW's honour on a track which is clearly more favourable to the front-wheel-drive cars. As for Chevrolet, they had a black weekend. The only consolation was that Robert Huff, hospitalized in Puebla after his Race 1 crash, was discharged a few hours later after being given a clear bill of health.
The FIA WTCC will resume in Brno, Czech Republic, on September 2nd and 3rd.
WARM-UP RYDELL DEMOTED, TAVANO ON POLE
After qualifying first yesterday, Rickard Rydell blew his engine during the warm-up session, he was therefore demoted 10 grid positions thus handing pole to Salvatore Tavano.
RACE 1 A DOUBLE FOR ALFA ROMEO
Alfa Romeo claimed a 1-2 victory in Race 1 with Salvatore Tavano leading all the way. Augusto Farfus came from 4th on the grid to finish second. The podium was completed by Ryan Sharp of JAS Honda who had to defend hard to keep fourth placed and fellow independent driver Tom Coronel at bay. Rickard Rydell crossed the finish line 8th and started Race 2 from pole.
The opening lap saw a severe accident involving Rob Huff and Duncan Huisman. Huff crashed hard into the wall of the new banking, Huisman then hit the rear left side of the Chevrolet. With the car stranded on the track and Huff unable to get out, the race was suspended after two laps. After Huff was put in an air- ambulance and his car was towed away, the rolling re-start took place behind the safety car.
On the re-start Farfus and Sharp fought for 2nd position and Tom Coronel and Yvan Muller fought for 4th. Lap 5 saw Alessandro Zanardi and Yvan Muller make contact which resulted in the Italian drop down to 21st. Despite escaping the incident, Yvan was soon to drop down the field as on lap 8 he had to observe a drive through penalty for a jump start; this left him to finish 14th. It was also on lap 8 that Farfus overtook Sharp for 2nd on the banking of the new section of the track.
Jordi Gene, who was lying 5th, was clearly losing grip and his team-mate James Thompson was able pass him on the inside of the banking on lap 11. With the Spaniard struggling in his SEAT, Dirk Muller also went through, for 6th. Over the final four laps, Tarquini and Morbidelli were fighting. After some shuffling of position, Tarquini went wide on lap 15th and eventually finished 10th. Morbidelli faired better, finishing 7th.
Alain Menu achieved the best result from the Chevrolet team, he passed the chequered flag 12th overall.
RACE 2 ALFA ROMEO DRIVERS ENCORE
It was double success again for the N.technology Alfa Romeo team as Race 2 saw another 1-2 finish. Augusto Farfus was the man who claimed victory after starting 7th on the grid. He was followed across the line by Gianni Morbidelli while Rickard Rydell came home 3rd for SEAT Sport.
Rydell and Morbidelli got good starts and did not let the BMW of Dirk Muller squeeze through off the line. By lap 2 Farfus was already 3rd. On lap 5 he overtook Rydell for 2nd and it was on the next lap that he secured the lead. Just as in the first race, Alessandro Zanardi and Yvan Muller were involved in an incident. It happened on lap 3 and both cars spun off the track, unable to continue. Similarly, neither of Chevrolet drivers were able to finish; Alain Menu retired on lap 4 and Nicola Larini on lap 7.
In amongst the action was a battle to be the victorious independent. Tom Coronel was leading Ryan Sharp in 6th position but the Scotsman was hot on his tail until lap 5 when the JAS Honda went out at turn 1. The race was to provide even more challenges for Coronel because on lap 13, when he was lying 4th after some competent overtaking, he suffered suspension problems. The GR Asia man drifted down to 6th but still claimed the independent victory.
Dirk Muller crossed the finish line 4th and secured the best result out of the BMW drivers. Despite starting at the back of the grid due to neutralisation of parc ferme in-between the races, Andy Priaulx worked through the pack to salvage 7th position and 2 championship points.