Fernando Monje won the first race of the day in Imola, also bringing home the European S2000 class title, which was won by Fabrizio Giovanardi last year.
The SEAT driver took a lights to flag win, immediately pulling away from SUNRED team-mate Igor Skuz, who also had a smooth race to claim a comfortable second. Stian Paulsen took third outright and also won in the Single Make Trophy class, which remains the only title still to be decided after this race.
The start was smooth and there were no major incidents, as Monje pulled away immediately from Skuz. Paulsen started a race-long fight with title rival Andreas Pfister. The Norwegian had a momentum on the second lap exiting Piratella but miraculously managed to keep his car on track – and his lead.
Meanwhile Peter Rikli started to attack Pfister in his Honda Civic FD, but the Swiss lost ground lap by lap, allowing Petr Fulín in the Krenek BMW to close in and pass him on lap 6.
The Super 1600 class saw Paolo Necchi pull away immediately, opening a huge gap from fellow Ford Fiesta driver Ronny Reinsberger and Chevrolet’s Diego Romanini. However the German, who was leading a close pack of five cars, was forced to retire when his engine blew up. The failure left Romanini defending his second place from the attacks of Ulrike Krafft in the Ravenol Ford Fiesta.
The fight allowed Wilson Borgnino to close in. The Argentinean, who had set the fastest lap in this morning’s warm-up in his Chevrolet Aveo, made a spectacular pass at Acque Minerali on Krafft as Monje was lapping the trio, fully exploiting the opportunity created by a hesitation from the Ravenol Team SAN driver.
Romanini ground to a halt however with three laps to go.
In the Super Production class, Fabiani had to surrender to already crowned class champion Nikolay Karamayshev on lap eight after desperately trying to resist and retain the lead.
Fernando Monje and Kevin Krammes, who came fourth in the S1600 class, are the new European Champions in their classes. The only title still open is the Single Make Trophy, where Stian Paulsen leads the standings with a four-point margin over Andreas Pfister. Finishing the race just behind his rival will be enough for the Norwegian to secure the European crown.