ETCC Super Touring race 2: Giovanardi strikes back

Fabrizio Giovanardi ended Gabriele Tarquini's winning streak in the FIA European Touring Car Championship in the second race at Zolder, Belgium

ETCC Super Touring race 2: Giovanardi strikes back

First race winner Tarquini was forced to start from the pits as his JAS team had to change his Honda Accord's power steering box between races. After getting stuck behind a stalled car, he was already 24secs behind the leader on the opening lap and, despite setting a sequence of fastest laps, went off into the Sterrenwacht gravel, ending his hopes of a points finish.

"I lost 10secs because Symanzick stalled in front of me and it's forbidden to overtake in the pit lane," said Tarquini. "Maybe I pushed too hard after that because I spun, it was my mistake."

Giovanardi made a great start from his slot near the back of the reversed grid and, more by luck than judgement, managed to keep Roberto Colciago's fast starting Audi Quattro behind him into the first corner. They were third and fourth by then, with Giovanardi grabbing second from Paolo Zadra's BMW at the chicane, where Colciago took the gravelly route but soon followed suit and up to third.

"The start was really important for this race," said Giovanardi. "To be third by the first corner was really good."

Pole sitter Sandro Sardelli, who was delayed with a puncture in the first race, managed to lead for a lap and a half in his PRO Motorsport Nissan Primera, but Giovanardi found a way past exiting the chicane on lap two. Colciago then passed the Nissan at Kanaal 2 bocht a lap later, and was closing on Giovanardi when his Audi suddenly lost power on lap four, forcing him into the pits and out of the race.

With Giovanardi out on his own, attention turned to a brilliant battle for second between Sardelli, Nicola Larini (Alfa Romeo 156) and Matt Neal (Nissan Primera). Although Neal hadn't cured his rear brake problem from race one, which caused a lurid slide and accidental contact with Larini at the Jacky Ickx chicane, he went on to outbrake both Larini and Sardelli to snatch a well-earned second place.

"The locking rears were still catching me out," admitted Neal. "To finish second with such a problem was very pleasing. I was being very gentlemanly towards Larini - I didn't want to hit another Alfa after the first race!"

Fabrice Walfisch (Honda Accord) just held on to fifth place from a charging Gianluca de Lorenzi (BMW).


1 Fabrizio Giovanardi (Alfa Romeo 156) 13 laps
2 Matt Neal (Nissan Primera) +4.502s
3 Nicola Larini (Alfa Romeo 156) +5.499s
4 Sandro Sardelli (Nissan Primera) +7.015s
5 Fabrice Walfisch (Honda Accord) +8.356s
6 Gianluca de Lorenzi (BMW 320I) +8.866s

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