Saturday 18 February 2012


After missing the first outing of SEAT's new 1.6-litre turbo engine because of the snowfall that hit Italy, Gabriele Tarquini was finally able to drive the Lukoil Racing Team's León car at Valencia last Monday.
The Italian driver was then replaced by his team-mate Aleksey Dudukalo who tested on Tuesday.
"Although we are rather behind with the timing, I have to say that I was impressed by the test," the 2009 World Champion said. "This was only the second time the engine ran on track, and yet it showed an interesting potential. Reliability is there - as we completed the test without suffering from the least technical issue - the power is already comparable with that of the SUNRED unit we used last year. But the big step forward is a wider range of power that was our main issue last year. Now, in order to fully exploit it, we have to fine-tune the engine management that is brand new and very sophisticated."
The team is now heading to Portugal for further testing at Estoril (Saturday and Sunday) and Portimão.

Gabriele Tarquini tested the León with SEAT Sport's new 1.6-litre engine

The Team Aon spent a few days testing between Guadix (Spain) and Estoril. Tom Chilton and James Nash took turns at the wheel of the team's two Ford Focus cars, one in British Touring Car Championship specs and the other a brand new WTCC machine.
"So far everything is going well as we had planned," team principal Mike Earle said to Eurosport TV crew. "Our aim for this first WTCC season is to gain experience; we expect to be competitive next year and fight for the world title in three years. I think we have a great potential, especially because we may count on two young and fast drivers like Tom and James. I'm sure they won't have problems in learning the tracks they don't know. It will be more difficult for the team because of the lack of data. However, we haven't ruled out the possibility to add a third car during the season."

Chilton and Nash shared driving duties in Team Aon's Ford Focus at Estoril

ROAL MOTORSPORT HIT TRACK AT VALENCIAThe ROAL Motorsport team made his first outing of the season at Valencia, for a two-day test on Monday and Tuesday."We really needed it, to wake up from hibernation!" Team principal Roberto Ravaglia said.Both drivers of the Italian team, Tom Coronel and WTCC newcomer Alberto Cerqui, had the opportunity to spend long time at the wheel of their BMW 320 TC cars."Tom completed about 500 laps and Alberto about 400," unveiled Ravaglia, adding: "It was a very important occasion for Alberto: his first proper test in a WTCC car. All in all he did very well and showed a good potential that I'm confident we will be able to exploit from the first event at Monza."The age difference between Coronel and Cerqui is twenty years. "This is not going to be a problem," Ravaglia commented. "Tom has a much younger spirit than his forty years and is a very easy person. For now they have a few communications problems as Alberto is not very familiar with English. But he will learn fast and I'm sure that he will benefit a great deal by racing alongside Tom."LADA SPORT CONFIRM THOMPSON FOR WTCCLADA Sport confirmed to have signed James Thompson for driving the new LADA Granta Sport in the two outings they will to do in 2012 WTCC, at Budapest's Hungaroring and Estoril in Portugal."The agreement we have with him includes all the testing we will do in 2012 to develop the WTCC Granta," unveiled LADA Sport programme manager Viktor Shapovalov, who added: "We have also a pre-agreement with him for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 in the case that LADA Sport will decide in favour of a WTCC works programme after these two exploratory events.""I'm really pleased to have this deal. They have a brand new racing structure at LADA Sport and this gives me a lot of confidence that this can go somewhere," said Thompson who had raced for the Russian manufacturer in the 2009 WTCC, claiming two sixth places with a Priora car at Imola.The LADA Sport team is due to start testing the WTCC Granta car in April.D'ASTE RETURNS TO WIECHERS-SPORTStefano D'Aste and Wiechers-Sport will be reunited once again for the 2012 season. The Italian driver had first raced for the German outfit back in 2007, when together they claimed the WTCC Yokohama Trophy title; then he was back with the team in 2009 and again last year for three events that culminated in a Yokohama Trophy race win at Oschersleben. "I'm very happy to be back in WTCC and to Wiechers-Sport. I missed the championship a lot as racing with Lotus in the Gt4 was nice, but WTCC is another world. I know it will be tough and that I will need some races to be back on top. We will arrive at Monza without any testing and it won't be easy, but we have a good car, a great technical support and I trust the team," D'Aste declared.Team manager Dominik Greiner commented: "We have worked hard to fix our 2012 programme in the WTCC. And I'm really happy that we managed to find a deal with Stefano once again. He has a lot of experience and we have been very successful together. I think we have a very strong package for the season.


Fabio Ravaioli - FIA WTCC Media Delegate

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