The Alfa Romeo 155
Introduction
The year was 1994, the place was Donington, the race was part of the BTCC (British
Touring Car Championship), Tarquini was chasing fourth place. For consecutive laps
the ex-Grand Prix driver lifted the offside wheels coming around the Esses. Each time
the car was pushed higher and higher, an increasing amount of daylight revealed
underneath to match the increased risks being taken for tenths of a second.
Eventually, Tarquini launched his 285bhp, 2.0 16v, 155 through the corner and came
out the other side on two wheels, at a 45? angle, displaying the black aerodynamic
undershield as the crowd gasped. If you own a copy of the 1994 Season Review
(DUKE video), fast forward to about two minutes fifty seconds on the video counter
and listen for the crowd. The Hollywood style stuntwork is worth seeing again?.and
again.
1994 BTCC Season
An Alfa Romeo last won the BTCC in 1983 when Andy Rouse, four times outright
BTCC Champion, was at the wheel of a GTV6. Ironically, Andy retired at the end of
the 1994 season when Alfa were triumphant again.
Alfa Romeo arrived the UK, led by team manager Ninni Russo, determined to be
successful on their return to UK touring car racing. Speculation put the factory team
budget at six million pounds. This was to be a serious assault on the BTCC title after
success in the European series. Tarquini was a works Alfa driver in the Italian
Supertourismo series in 1993, finishing the season in third.
Gabriele Tarquini
(partnered by
Formula 3000
driver Giampiero
Simoni) and Alfa
Romeo were
dominant in 1994,
taking poll in the
first round at
Thruxton. After
fighting with
Radisich in the
Ford Mondeo all race long Tarquini was victorious, setting the standard for the
following races. Tarquini went on to win a further seven races in the season and took
other podium places on six occasions. Simoni took one win and also climbed the
podium six more times.
For the next five rounds at Thruxton, Brands Hatch, Snetterton and Silverstone,
Tarquini was untouchable, winning all but one of the pole positions and all the races.