WTCC Race of Italy - 28-30/04/2017
TRACK GUIDE IN 100 WORDS
Built in 1922, Monza is not only the spiritual home of Italian motor racing but also the WTCC: the inaugural FIA World Touring Car Championship event took place at the track north of Milan in 1987, while the first race of the WTCC’s new era in 2005 was also held on Monza’s high-speed layout. With the legendary parkland venue missing from the WTCC schedule since 2013, its return for 2017 will be keenly felt when famous turns like the Curva Grande, Lesmo and Parabolica resonate to the sound of TC1 World Touring Cars for what will be the first time.
1: The inaugural WTCC season began in 1987 with the controversial Monza 500. BMW drivers, including eventual champion Roberto Ravaglia, filled the top six places but were excluded when their M3s were found to be underweight. Allan Moffatt and John Harvey (Holden VL Commodore SS) inherited the outright win but as they were not eligible for WTCC points, Italians Walter Voulaz and Marcello Cipriani top-scored in their Alfa Romeo 75.
2: German BMW driver Dirk Müller made history when he won the first WTCC race of the new era at Monza in April 2005, taking the honours in the first of two races. James Thompson won Race 2 for Alfa Romeo, while Andy Priaulx, who would go on to win the championship, came away with a fourth and fifth place.
3: Thompson was in the wars when the WTCC visited Monza for the last time in 2013 after his then LADA team-mate Aleksei Dudukalo missed his braking for the first chicane during qualifying and slammed straight into the side of the Briton’s car.
4: While Monza’s famous banking hasn’t been used by in race mode since 1969, it still gets an airing thanks to the annual Monza Rally Show, won in 2016 by MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi.
5: The 1971 Italian Grand Prix is famous for its dramatic finish when the top five were separated by sixth tenths of a second. Peter Gethin beat Ronnie Peterson to victory by 0.01s.