Monje Dominates ETC Cup Races In Preparation For WTCC Bow

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Fernando Monje - Photo Credit:

Monje celebrates a successful debut weekend in touring cars - Photo Credit:

Former single-seater racer Fernando Monje set himself up perfectly ahead of his World Touring Car Championship debut with a dominant double victory in the two European Touring Car Cup races at Monza.

After taking pole position by a margin of more than one second in his diesel-powered SEAT Leon, the 19-year-old Spaniard took victory in race one. He was classified as finishing 18 seconds ahead of the next best finisher, thanks to the exclusion of his main rival for the weekend Petr Fulin.

The Czech BMW driver was penalised for being out of line at the rolling start, but failed to serve his drive-through penalty and the black flag that followed.

The man in second place was Stian Poulsen, who came out on top in the battle for the single-make trophy honours against fellow SEAT Leon Supercopa driver Andreas Pfister.

The reverse grid meant that Monje began the second race from eighth position, but he was in the lead of the race come the first chicane on the second lap. This time his lead would only stand at just under ten seconds at the checkered flag, with Poulsen this time taking a more comfortable win in his class.

“I really enjoyed both races, although obviously in the second race I was starting from P8 and so it took a little time until I could pass the others,” said Monje. “It was very important for me that I had a good weekend here in Monza because in Valencia I will switch to the WTCC and so my confidence is high ahead of those races.”

Pfister battled with one-time WTCC backmarker Urs Sonderegger for third place overall and second in class, but Sonderegger's challenge came to an end when he received contact from Alfa Romeo driver Ferenc Ficza on lap seven.

In Super Production, Aleksandar Tosic began the defence of his title well with victory in race one, but gearbox failure in race two handed the win and the category points lead to his only rival in the category, Nikolay Karamyshev. In S1600, Kevin Krammes won both races.

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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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