Trio To Fight It Out For European Honours At Franciacorta

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Three top touring car drivers will fight it out to be named European champion on Sunday as the FIA European Touring Car Cup reaches its third and final round of the season. The two races will be held at the Autodromo di Franciacorta in Italy.

Britain's James Thompson currently leads the standings, driving for the Danish Hartmann Honda outfit. The two-time BTCC champion and reigning European Cup champion won the opening race at Braga, Portugal in March before picking up two second place finishes at the Salzburgring, Austria in July.

Swedish driver Tomas Engstrom began the season with the Hartman team before running his own Honda Accord from Salzburgring onwards. He lies 10 points behind Thompson, having scored three podium results from four races.

Denmark's Michel Nykjaer is the final contender for Super 2000 glory. The WTCC regular only joined the competition for the Salzburgring round but won both races in his Sunred Engineering SEAT Leon TDI. He lies 12 points behind Thompson, and will be looking to win the European Cup for a third time, having won it in both 2007 and 2008.

A total of ten S2000 cars have been entered for the Franciacorta event. In addition to the three title contenders are Thompson's Hartmann teammate Wolfgang Treml, the Borusan Otomotiv BMWs of Aytac Biter and Ibrahim Okyay, the two Rikli Motorsport Hondas driven by Peter Rikli and Jorg Schori and two new entries in the form of Promotor Sport with their older BMW 320i driven by Massimo Zanin and Mariano Bellin.

It is not only the S2000 title that is up for grabs, with Super Production and Super 1600 categories also running. In Super Production, Serbia's Vojislav Lekic currently leads the way having picked up both class wins in Austria in his Honda Civic. He has a four point lead over occasional WTCC driver Fabio Fabiani, the only other competitor in the Super Production class.

In S1600, Carsten Seifert leads fellow German and Ford Fiesta driver Jens Lohnig. Lohnig has won three of the four races so far, but failed to finish the first race in Austria, giving Seifert the initiative. Three other S1600 drivers will be present at Franciacorta, with Sergey Krylov and Charlie Geipel driving Fiestas along with Croatian Zeljko Markovic in a Citroen C2.

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Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
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