ETCC Super Touring race 1: Tarquini steers clear

Gabriele Tarquini made a quantum leap in his bid for the FIA European Touring Car Championship by winning the opening race at Zolder, Belgium, on Sunday while his title rival Nicola Larini retired

ETCC Super Touring race 1: Tarquini steers clear

Tarquini's JAS-run Honda Accord had no answer at the start to Roberto Colciago's four-wheel drive Audi, however. The silver machine, which started fourth, jinked to the left and outdragged pole man Tarquini and both works Alfa Romeo 156s of Nicola Larini and Fabrizio Giovanardi.

Colciago led for a lap and a half but, as soon as Tarquini began to apply pressure, Roberto locked up and ploughed across the gravel at the Gilles Villeneuve chicane. He rejoined in second, just ahead of Giovanardi and Matt Neal (Team Dynamics Nissan Primera).

Series leader Larini was out by this stage, though, as his electrics packed up and sent him pitward. After his Nordauto team completed repairs he went out again, but stopped soon after out on the circuit, giving Tarquini even more reason to keep up his pace at the head of the field.

The battle for third was decided when Neal lost his battle with grabbing rear brakes and slammed into the back of Giovanardi at Bolderbergbocht, sending the Alfa up the escape road. Matt held his position but was soon black flagged for the collision.

"It wasn't the brakes themselves but there was something amiss with the car," said Neal. "Whatever I did to wind the bias to the front, the rears just kept locking. It was a shame, because the car was really sweet."

Like his winning team mate, Fabrice Walfisch steered his JAS Honda through the carnage to finish third, just staying clear of the recovering Giovanardi, who passed the impressive Gianluca de Lorenzi on the penultimate lap at Kanaal 2 bocht for fourth.

1 Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Accord) 13 laps
2 Roberto Colciago (Audi A4 Quattro) +2.992s
3 Fabrice Walfisch (Honda Accord) +12.298s
4 Fabrizio Giovanardi (Alfa Romeo 156) +15.640s
5 Gianluca De Lorenzi (BMW 320i) +23.552s
6 Angelo Lancelotti (Alfa Romeo 156) +36.535s
7 Gianluca Roda (Opel Vectra) +43.830s
8 Romana Bernardoni (Alfa Romeo 156) +48.532s
9 Paolo Zadra (BMW 320i) +50.355s
10 Sandro Sardelli (Nissan Primera) +1 lap


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