INTRODUCTION: The first round of this year's European Touring Car Championship has taken place in Monza, Italy.
INTRODUCTION: The first round of this year's European Touring Car Championship has taken place in Monza, Italy. The race, on Sunday (March 27), drew a lot of attention with British Leyland's return to the international motor racing circuits in their new Jaguar 5.3 litre coupe. But in the end the Jaguar could not match the strength of German rival BMW. Martino Finotto and Eddy Joosen, driving a BMW Luigi, took the race after the Jaguar dropped out with mechanical failure.
SYNOPSIS: The new Jaguar - nicknamed the "Big Cat" - has yet to establish itself in international competition. There is no such problem for BMW. One Formula One driver Vittorio Brambillo, was at the wheel of one of their cars - an Alpina.
The Jaguar was in pole position for the start of the race and went straight out into the lead. A number of engineering changes have been made to the Leyland car since it was first unveiled a year ago. Team spokesman Alan Zafer said before the race that the car was running with perfect reliability. Unfortunately, drivers John Fitzpatrick and Tim Schenken had to withdraw int he twentieth lap with engine trouble.
BMW's Martino Finotto and Eddy Joosen also made a pit-stop - but only for a routine service. They were soon back on the circuit where after some aggressive driving, they went into the lead in their Alpina and stayed there until they took the chequered flag.
Second place went to Arturo Merzario and Amerigo Bigliazzi in an Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT. Helmut Kelleners and Willi Bergmeister were third in a Volkswagen Scirocco.