European Touring Car Championship, round one

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Brands Hatch, March 18th.

The opening round of the European Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch on March 19th proved one thing at least. Even though the series had diminished in stature since the demise of the works Jaguars, a Group a race could still produce a very exciting finish, even when it was in effect only a two-car race.

From the beginning of practice it was obvious that the only entries with any realistic chance of winning were the four BMW CSLs, the big 3.2litre winged coupes that went out of production over a year ago. However, both the Luigi team’s CSL, entered for Belgians Jean Xhenceval and Pierre Dieudonne, and the similar machine of Raijmond van Hove/Eddy Joosen failed to make the race after destroying their engines during practice. So that left only two big BMWs to head the 28-car grid. The veteran Italian Carlo Facetti put the emerald ex-Alpina CSL he was sharing with its new owner Martino Finotto on pole, while Tom Walkinshaw was second quickest at the wheel of a Luigi-prepared CSL owned and co-driven by the wealthy Italian, Umberto Grano.

Right from the rolling start these two cars were the only ones in contention. For a few laps Walkinshaw hung on grimly to Facetti, but then the Italian’s forceful style and slightly quicker, more powerful car took him away into a big lead. He had over a minute in hand on Walkinshaw when a heavy and prolonged shower brought the leaders into the pits for wet weather tyres after 46 Of the race’s iao laps. Walkinshaw’s stop was much quicker than Facetti’s, the latter handing over to team-mate Finotto and leaving the Scotsman with a long lead. However, the track then began to dry, and when Walkinshaw made way for Grano and took on fresh slick tyres after 70 laps, Finotto inherited the lead. Seven circuits later it was Finotto’s turn to change tyres, passing the initiative back to Grano, but Finotto drove far faster in the tricky conditions, catching the leader hand over fist and passing him on lap 91.

Within four laps Finotto was in the pits again after a spin, passing the wheel to Facetti, who rejoined behind Grano again. It took Facetti only eight laps to make up a half minute leeway and recapture the lead and then it began to rain again. With it laps to go, both the BMWs were in the pits together, and again the all-Italian driven car lost valuable time changing wheels; so much so that Walkinshaw regained the track only seven seconds behind Facetti. After a thrilling chase through the pouring rain, the Scotsman took the lead for the last time two laps from the finish and beat his Italian adversary to the flag by exactly a second.

After an exciting tussle with the rival VW Scirocco of Willi Bergmeister and Jorg Siegrist that did much to enliven the, first hour, England’s Richard Lloyd and Switzerland’s Anton Stocker took a class-winning third place in the latter ‘s 1,600-c.c. Scirocco. Bergmeister and Siegrist were fourth, only 19 sec. behind, regaining ground fast after delays to change a damaged wheel and a failing half-shaft. The other classes fell to a 2-litre BMW 320i driven by Germans Kurt Koenig/Heinz Weltrowski, the 3-litre Group 1 Capri of Jeff Allam/Stuart Patterson, and the nimble little 1.3-litre Fiat 128 of Lella Lombardi/Carlo Giani, which proved a shade too quick for a pair of Alfasud Sprints and a brace of works Skoda 13oRSs. Sixth Overall, Tony Dron and Jac Nelleman took the Group award in Rob Potter’s elderly 5.7-litre Chevrolet Camaro. – J.C.T.