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Fabrizio Giovanardi departs Romeo Ferraris with immediate effect

Fabrizio Giovanardi has parted ways with Team Mulsanne ahead of this weekend’s FIA World touring Car Cup (WTCR) meeting in Japan, blaming a deterioration in results in China for leaving the team.

Giovanardi struggled for pace in both of the recent rounds in China, culminating in the 51-year-old qualifying last for both races on the Wuhan Street Circuit.

The Italian had earlier in the year raced the team’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta to its first points finish in the first race in Slovakia, but the points scored at the Central European circuit in July remain the only points to Giovanardi’s name this year after 24 races.

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Romeo Ferraris Operations Director Michela Cerruti said it was a shame that Giovanardi had decided to step down from driving, meaning that the team will end the year with an entirely different driver line-up to which it started the season, with Kevin Ceccon having replaced Gianni Morbidelli in the summer.

“We accepted Fabrizio’s decision with great respect, for what he represented in our project and for the whole world of touring car competition,” said Cerruti. “We looked for it during the winter to try to develop a new product, but we obviously were not able to accommodate and understand the requests that came from him to meet his needs.

“Fabrizio’s work was fundamental for the growth of this car and thanks to his contribution we managed to score points in the world series for the first time with our cars in Slovakia, something for which we will always be grateful.”

Three-time European champion Giovanardi admitted that it had been a difficult decision for him to make.

“It was not a decision to be taken lightly,” said Giovanardi. “There is certainly a lot of disappointment for not being able to get the results we wanted.

“I returned to the track to win, and I accepted this challenge together with Romeo Ferraris because I believed in this project and in the team.

“Unfortunately, in China the results have plummeted, due in part to technical problems that cannot be solved outside the factory.

“I have the pride of having won the first points in the FIA ​​WTCR with the Giulietta and of having made several ‘Piedone’ races during the year.

“Despite the unhappy conclusion of this adventure I want to thank the team, both on the track and at home. They put their heart and I wish them the best for the rest of the season and beyond.

“I am still so hungry for victories and I want to tell my many fans that I will do my best to find a project that will allow me to continue to show and fight again for the positions that count.”

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