Formula 1 star Giancarlo Fisichella's one-off return to touring cars in this weekend's ETCC finale at Monza ended in disaster when his car was virtually written-off in qualifying
Brazilian GP winner Fisichella, drafted in to support Alfa Romeo's title push for Gabriele Tarquini, only added to the marque's disastrous Saturday, when three of its five drivers crashed without setting a flying lap in qualifying.
"I desperately wished to race," said Fisichella. "I'm very upset. My ETCC debut couldn't be more unlucky. I went out for qualifying with only a few laps in the practice on new tyres, and I lost the car at the Ascari. I oversteered, but the car swung and hit the barrier. I'm so sorry for me and for Alfa."
While Fisichella's car was irreparable, Nicola Larini's has been fixed after he too shunted heavily at Ascari. The 156 Gta of Tarquini, who also went off at the same corner, was undamaged in his crash.
Team manager Monica Sipsz said: "It was a real nightmare. We lost Fisichella right at the beginning and the Larini and Tarquini at the same time as soon as the session resumed. The team did their job, preparing the cars in the proper way. Then when they are out of the garages, it's up to the drivers... Luckily Tarquini's car is unscathed, but Fisichella's car was nearly broken in two."
It hasn't been plain sailing for BMW on raceday morning, either. Pole sitter Jorg Muller set only the 18th fastest lap in warm-up: "When I tried to push a bit I had a flat tyre. But the car was OK, and there were no reasons to take risks."
Title rival Tarquini was third fastest in the warm-up but starts today's first race from the back of the grid.
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