20.11.2005 Fabrizio Giovanardi's valiant title hopes ended with a crash in Macau as Augusto Farfus took his first win for Alfa Romeo in his final race with them

Fabrizio Giovanardi's valiant FIA World Touring Car Championship title hopes ended with a crash in Macau as Brazilian youngster Augusto Farfus Jr salvaged the team's pride and took his first WTCC win for Alfa Romeo in his final race with them. The inaugural world title thus went to BMW's Andy Prilaux - the reigning FIA European Touring Car Champion - but not after a long and honourable fight all season by the Alfa Romeo Racing Team, who pitched the front wheel drive Alfa 156 against the rear wheel drive BMW 320i, and kept a car - that has come right to the end of its racing life - in winning mode until the very final rounds.

The era of the Alfa Romeo 156 'SuperTourer' racing car now draws to a close. With the production Alfa 156 having been recently superseded by the new Alfa 159, continuing to race it would make no logical marketing sense, and so the Alfa 156 now bows out of the touring car arena with a clutch of titles and countless race wins to its name, a car that can now rest easily in company with all the other Alfa Romeos that have proved themselves, on the race track against bitter competition, that literally litter the Milanese marque's fabulous racing history.


Augusto Farfus won his first FIA WTCC race at the wheel of his Alfa Romeo 156. Second place went to Andy Priaulx while Rickard Rydell completed the podium. The results meant that Priaulx was leading the championship with 93 points - a margin of 7 ahead of Dirk Müller. At the start Priaulx got away well but was overtaken by André Couto at the first corner. Jörg Müller went wide entering Lisboa bend. He hit the wall, bounced back, collected Robert Huff and they in turn collected Tom Coronel. The all of the cars were extensively damaged and blocked the track resulting in the race suspended and then restarted under safety car conditions for one lap. New regulations meant that one extra lap was added and the race began after a rolling start. On the straight Dirk Müller overtook Chevrolet’s Alain Menu for fourth. André Couto lost control of his car at Lisboa and handed Priaulx the lead with Augusto Farfus close behind. Lap three saw Fabrizio Giovanardi stray wide at Lisboa but he did continue.

Augusto Farfus

Brazilian youngster Augusto Farfus Jr celebrates winning his first FIA WTCC race at the  wheel  of  an  Alfa  Romeo  156

Augusto Farfus

Race One action from Macau earlier today: Alfa Romeo's Augusto Farfus Jr fends  off  the  BMW  320i  of  Andy  Prilaux

On the next lap Priaulx was overtaken by Farfus and a tight battle began for the rest of the race, with Priaulx putting the Alfa man under great pressure; while Rickard Rydell was closely chasing them in third position. The Briton mounted many attacks at the Lisboa bend but without success. Meanwhile, title contender Dirk Müller, was placed fourth. Giovanardi, the third man within reach of the championship, lost all chances of victory when, at turn 16, he crashed due to a broken suspension. His car was able to move despite the fact it was without its front right left wheel but the Italian soon ground to a halt. The final lap saw more drama as Dirk Müller fell from 4th to 10th after an incident. In spite of suffering for an aching back, after he was involved in the pile up at the start, Stefano D’Aste won the independent race with 11th position overall. However Marc Hennerici of Weichers-Sport won the Independent Trophy following the retirement of rivals Coronel and Giuseppe Cirò.


Andy Priaulx claimed the FIA WTCC. Dirk Müller, who was the only other driver in a position to become champion, crashed into the Lisboa bend on lap three of the second race and did not finish. Giovanardi did not start the race due to the damage obtained in Race 1.

In the race, Duncan Huisman came from third to first off the start and held onto pole for the entire race while Priaulx came from 7th to 2nd. Alain Menu claimed 3rd position and achieved Chevrolet’s first podium. The Lacetti’s durability was tested however as Menu scraped the wall at Lisboa for two consecutive laps in the opening of the race. The corner was not as forgiving for Stefano D’Aste however, because on lap 2 he crashed and did not continue. James Thompson also had problems during the second lap and retired to the pits shortly afterwards.

Lap three saw Carl Rosenblad’s crash, handing the independent lead to Adriano De Micheli but this was short lived as the JAS Motorsport man was involved in an accident with Peter Scharmach, Robert Huff and Marc Hennerici at Fishermen’s bend. Following this incident, Giuseppe Cirò was the only independent driver to complete the race. The safety car was deployed for a period of 4 laps while the four cars and their debris were cleared. On the penultimate lap Nicola Larini went straight at Lisboa losing fourth position. Menu was later excluded by the Stewards because only one litre of fuel was left in his car’s tank, compared to the minimum three required by the regulations.

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Fabrizio Giovanardi will have it all to do if he is to snatch the inaugural FIA WTCC title in Macau on Sunday as he will be lining up in 9th place on the grid with his title rivals - Andy Prilaux on pole and Dirk Müller in 9th - better placed

Race reports & Photos: FIA WTCC