Fabrizio Giovanardi has narrowed the gap between him and
Championship leader, BMW's Dirk Muller, after both drivers
won a race each in Saturday's (30 July 2005) thrilling round
at the legendary Spa track in Belgium. Giovanardi's result
was even the more impressive considering his Alfa Romeo 156
was carrying the biggest weight penalty.
In an action packed pair of races, Alfa's young gun, Augusto
Farfus was disqualified after an accident, robbing him of
fourth place, while in race two BMW's Stefano D'Aste though
he had race two in the bag, when he over took race leader
Giovanardi by cutting the chicane to avoid an accident on
the very last lap. But stewards, even after taking into
account the fact that had he not cut the chicane he would
have hit the cars of Garcia, Tarquini an Muller, penalised
him by three seconds, put the Alfa driver back on the podium
"When it started to rain between the races I was happy
because with the ballast in my car and a good setup I was
fast in the wet conditions in one of the practice sessions,"
said Fabrizio Giovanardi at the finish - and before he was
gifted first place with D'Astre demotion. "I had a lot more
power than García and I thought it would be possible for me
to win the second race. I was careful at the end because I
had the lead and the Bus Stop corner was wet but these
things happen and second place is good."
Andy Priaulx claimed the race lead off the starting line in
race one. At the first corner Dirk Müller overtook team-mate
Jörg Müller. SEAT Sport driver, Gené and Alfa man Tarquini
made contact which resulted in the former spinning and
rejoining in 19th position. Funke rolled his Ford Focus car
as he was pushed wide at Combes, which meant one lap was
completed under safety car conditions.
Priaulx got a good start as the safety car entered the pits
while Dirk overtook Farfus to move up to second. Another
BMW/Alfa Romeo battle was taking place as Jörg and Tarquini
fought for fourth spot. Lap 4 saw Plato overtake Giovanardi
for 8th. However, the latter reclaimed the final point
scoring position while the SEAT driver had a battle with
García for 7th.
Dirk overtook Priaulx on lap 5 to take the lead but the
Briton remained close and they entered lap 6 with just 0.541
seconds between them. The remaining laps were packed full of
action as Priaulx tried to attain his first race win of the
season, his challenge however did not come into fruition.
Jörg made a move on Farfus at the last corner of the final
and the two crossed the line side by side with smoke
billowing out of Jörg's rear right tyre. It was a BMW 1-2-3
as the front of Jörg's car was just 0.022 of a second ahead
of Farfus's Alfa.
Coronel kept hold of his 14th place start to win the
As the cars lined up on a damp track for race two, the
reverse grid meant Giovanardi started on pole, and took the
lead at the start chased by García, Tarquini and Thompson.
As the field dived down to the Eau Rouge, Priaulx, Farfus
and Dirk Müller were involved in an accident. Priaulx's car
was so damaged that he had to retire, whereas Farfus and
Dirk were able to rejoin.
Stewards investigated the collision between Augusto
Farfus and Jörg Müller's BMW at the end of the first
race, deciding then to exclude the Alfa Romeo Racing
Fabrizio Giovanardi is closing in on FIA WTCC leader, Dirk Muller, after both drivers
won a race each in Saturday's thrilling WTCC rounds at the
legendary Spa track
Also in the first lap, Jörg Müller overtook Thompson for
fourth and Tarquini drifted wide at a corner losing three
places as he rejoined in fifth. Jörg proceeded to suffer
problems and had to pay a visit to the pits. More action
occurred as Hennerici and Rydell made contact, both came off
the track: the Swede retired while Hennerici rejoined.
Thompson pitted on lap 2 after being overtaken by many
Giovanardi looked set to secure his third victory of the
season when on lap 3 Klenke was touched by Larini's
Chevrolet, which caused the Ford to skid through the Bust
Stop chicane and collect Gene's SEAT. The damage to both
cars was extensive and the safety car made its second
appearance of the day, this time for three laps.
The race resumed with just one lap remaining, with
Giovanardi closely chased by García, Tarquini and Dirk
Müller. While trying to outbrake each other at the Bus Stop,
García and Tarquini clashed, involving Dirk Müller. D'Aste,
who was fighting for fifth position with Coronel and Menu
across the chicane to avoid the three spinning cars, and
rejoined the track well ahead of Giovanardi.
Which eventually cost him a 3-second penalty, meaning that
Giovanardi scored his third win of the year, from D'Aste,
Coronel and Farfus. Dirk Müller obtained an important fifth
place, while Alain Menu finished sixth and scored his first
STEWARDS EXCLUDE FARFUS
penalised by three seconds Stefano D’Aste in the second
race, the Stewards investigated the collision between
Augusto Farfus and Jörg Müller at the end of the first race.
The two drivers crossed the finishing line while clashing
door-to-door; the German driver managed to squeeze between
his rival’s Alfa Romeo and the pit wall, claiming third
position. The Stewards decided to exclude Farfus for
dangerous driving, and also to penalise Jörg Müller for
having caused an avoidable collision; Müller will be dropped
ten places on the starting grid of the next race. The Alfa
Romeo Racing Team will appeal against Farfus’ exclusion.
CHALLENGES MULLER FOR THE WTCC TITLE LEAD
Belgian event worked in favour of Dirk Müller and Giovanardi.
Dirk managed to stretch his lead by two points ahead of
Giovanardi, which now stands at 4 points. However, the Alfa
Romeo driver is on the ball, with three victories in three
consecutive events. Priaulx has retained his third position,
but he is now 11 points off the lead.
SEAT was hit by vbad luck, as none of their works drivers
managed to finish within the points in either of the two
races. Only Coronel saved the Spanish Manufacturer’s honour.
Ford had even a darker day, with newcomer Michael Funke
going upside down at the start of Race 1, and Thomas Klenke
sent crashing into Jordi Gené’s car in Race 2. After Nicola
Larini and Robert Huff had scored Chevrolet’s first points
in the Drivers championship at Puebla, the team’s third
driver, Alain Menu, was able to do the same by finishing
sixth in Race 2.
FIA WTCC SPA: RACE 1
& 2 RESULTS