ROUTE TO: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
The WTCC competitors won’t have a break after this weekend’s race meeting at the Slovakia Ring, as the next event takes place at the Hungaroring on May 6.
This spectacular racetrack that is located 20 km North-East of Budapest, Hungary’s capital city, is home to the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix since 1986.
The FIA World Touring Car Championship returns to the Hungaroring for the second time, after it visited it for the first time last year. That maiden appearance turned into a great success, also thanks to local hero Norbert Michelisz, whose popularity attracted an impressive crowd of Hungarian fans.
Unfortunately Michelisz did not achieve the results he was aiming for, and although he claimed a brilliant second place in the first race, he spoiled his chances with a crash at the start of the second race and had to pit for repair. The fact that he set the fastest lap, despite his BMW car had suffered from extensive damage, proved that he could win that race. And this year he wishes to make up for that disappointment.
In 2011 Chevrolet team mates Alain Menu and Yvan Muller shared race victories.
THE LADA GRANTA IS READY TO RACE
The WTCC Race of Hungary will mark the comeback to the world championship of Avtovaz, Russia’s leading car manufacturer, with one LADA Granta Sport car driven by James Thompson.
Three years after their first participation in the WTCC – back in 2008 and 2009 with the 110 and Priora models – the LADA Sport team will take part in this year’s events at the Hungaroring and Portimão with the aim of evaluating a possible full season programme in 2013.
The WTCC Granta Sport car has been designed and built at LADA Sport and is powered by a 1.6-litre turbo engine developed in France by ORECA.
Thompson, twice a British Touring Car Champion and winner of four WTCC races, rejoins the team after he scored LADA’s first WTCC points with the Priora at Imola in 2009.
The team are currently based at ORECA workshop in Magny-Cours, preparing the car for the first test just before leaving to Hungary.
Team Principal Victor Shapovalov said: "We are all very excited at the eve of the first test and the first races. We are pleased to return to WTCC. The car looks nice and we expect it to be competitive. ORECA have just finished testing the engine on the bench and it looks strong and powerful. Unfortunately the project kicked off only in January; we work in a very tight schedule, and don't have the possibility to make a proper test programme prior to the first races."
LADA Sport’s face a double commitment at the Hungaroring, because the Granta Cup makes its international debut appearing as a support series to the WTCC event. The Granta Cup car is the little sister of the WTCC machine, both are powered by a 1.6-litre turbo engine that delivers 240 and 310 bhp respectively.
THE RETURN OF MICHEL VAILLANT
Michel Vaillant, the fiction driver created in the Fifties by celebrated Belgian artist Jean Graton, is ready to go back to action!
In November, five years after the publication of his latest adventure (24 Heures sous influence – 2007), the publishing house Dupuis will launch the news season of one of their most famous characters that was introduced to the WTCC drivers at Marrakech.
Under the guidance of Jean Graton’s son Philippe, a trio of artists has been charged to face the huge task of renovating the look of Michel Vaillant and the other players of the saga.
This mission accomplished, story writer Denis Lapière and artists Marc Bourgne and Benjamin Benéteau who will draw characters and cars respectively, will now focus on creating the first comic book of the new series that will be set in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
To be continued…
TUTUMLU TO SKIP SLOVAKIA RING
Isaac Tutumlu will miss this weekend’s event at the Slovakia Ring, because his BMW 320 TC car suffered from extensive damage at Marrakech ten days ago.
During Morocco’s first race the Spanish driver clashed with Aleksei Dudukalo and then hit the wall. The incident sidelined him for the second race and, due to the long trip back home, Proteam Racing had no time to repair the car before the trucks left for the Slovak Republic.
“It´s a shame; the Slovakia Ring is new for everyone and I should have used a new engine from BMW. I have no doubts we would have improved there, maybe it was a chance for repeating my results in Spain,” said Tutumlu and then added: “Now our target is to be back for Hungary, one week later. But this schedule does not help, as the team will go straight from Slovakia to Hungary, without going back to Italy. Anyway I hope my car will be repaired for Hungaroring, as I know the track from my Porsche Supercup days.”
SUCCESS BALLAST FOR ETCC CARS
As the FIA European Touring Car Cup competitors face their second event of the season at the Slovakia Ring, they have also to cope with the Success Ballast system that has been calculated on the basis of the results obtained in the season’s opening at Monza.
The top five drivers classified in the Super 2000 and Single-Make Trophy classes are given 20, 15, 10, 5 and 5 kilos respectively; in addition all drivers receive one kilo per each point they have scored, while those who entered on a race-by-race basis are given an extra 15. As a result Fernando Monje’s SEAT León TDi (S2000) and Stian Paulsen’s SEAT León Cup (SMT) are the heaviest cars, both at 43 kilos.
In the Super 1600 and Super Production classes, ballasts are cut by half. The top-three in the standings are given 10, 7.5 and 5 extra kilos, plus one per each two points scored. Race-by-race entries are laden by 7.5 kilos. In S1600 Kevin Krammes’ Ford Fiesta will carry 21 kilos of ballast, while Nikolay Karamyshev’s Honda Civic in SP will have 25 extra kilos on board.
Fabio Ravaioli/Media Press Delegate.