ROUTE TO: SALZBURGRING, AUSTRIA
The first half of the WTCC season will be over next week in Austria, when rounds 11 and 12 take place at the Salzburgring on May 20.This super fast and old-fashioned circuit that is located 15 km East of the beautiful city of Salzburg, offers a breathtaking set up, lying at the bottom of an Alpine valley and surrounded by high mountains.Although the Salzburgring has hosted the FIA European Touring Car Cup three times in recent years – 2008, 2010 and 2011 – it receives the FIA World Touring Car Championship for the first time. And this also marks the first visit of an automobile world championship to this venue that was home to the Austrian Motorcycling Grand Prix until 1995.Only a bunch of WTCC drivers have had previous experiences on this racetrack. Franz Engstler more than everybody else, having raced there many times in the German Supertourenwagen and Production cars championships.Both Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini had a one off experience at the Salzburgring in the Super Touring years: in 1997 and 1999 respectively. Since then the track was significantly upgraded in terms of safety and facilities, but the layout has remained the same.Surprisingly, the only WTCC driver who has won a race there is Pepe Oriola, who claimed victory in the 2011 FIA ETCC.
AUSTRIAN EVENT LAUNCHED WITH LOCAL PRESS
The FIA WTCC and ETCC joint event at the Salzburgring was officially presented to the Austrian press in two different press conferences at Vienna and at the racetrack.More than thirty representative of Austria’s most important media attended on Monday the first press conference at Vienna, where they had the occasion to meet Salzburgring’s General Manager Alex Reiner, Chevrolet Motorsport Director Eric Nève, Rainer Fillitz Head of Chevrolet Austria and Chevrolet driver Alain Menu. The day after was devoted to Salzburg’s press. Twenty-five journalists of local and regional newspapers, magazines, websites and TV stations gathered at the track to meet Nève and Menu, who offered them the opportunity to experience a lap on board his Cruze racing car.
CHEVROLET, BMW AND SEAT ON EQUAL WEIGHT
For the second consecutive event the WTCC winning cars – BMW 320 TC, Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T and SEAT León WTCC will be on equal weight.Like last week at Budapest’s Hungaroring, the three models will be laden by the maximum 60-kilo compensation weight next weekend at the Salzburgring.The Chevrolet remains the reference car according to the calculation based on the lap times set in the three previous events (Morocco, Slovakia and Hungary), however the BMW and SEAT are only slower by one and three tenths of a second respectively.The other cars will benefit from reductions of their minimum weights: 10 kilos for the Ford Focus S2000 and 20 kilos for the SEAT León TDi and SUNRED León 1.6T.
Compensation weight Salzburgring+ 40 kg : Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T, BMW 320 TC, SEAT León WTCC- 10 kg : Ford Focus S2000- 20 kg : SEAT León TDi, SUNRED León 1.6T
HUFF GUEST STAR AT THE TOUR DE CORSE
Chevrolet driver Rob Huff appeared as guest star at the IRC Tour de Corse rally. The Briton, who is currently third in the WTCC Drivers’ Championship, enjoyed a unique experience in Corsica.“My father was a massive rally fan and I remember for many years as a child growing up going to lots of rallies. It’s always been a dream of mine to come along and experience it and it’s nice to be here for a weekend with no pressure, as a spectator just to see what’s going on,” he said.Huff’s day began with a ride through the first special stage on board the Peugeot RCZ course car driven by local rallyman Robert Vantaggi.“I’d love to have a go in a rally. Obviously it’s massively different to what we do. Everyone is telling me I can use gravel and grass in rallying but that’s something we need to stay away from in the WTCC. Of course I’m a driver and I’m quite happy driving just about anything. To take part would certainly be a dream come true,” Huff said while standing on the edge of an hairpin to cheer at the rally cars.
VAILLANTE’S WTCC RACING CAR UNVEILED !
Dupuis Éditeur and Studio Graton have unveiled the Vaillante WTCC racing car that will soon make its maiden appearance in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, driven by Michel Vaillant himself.The fiction driver created by celebrated French artist Jean Graton and his new, gorgeous saloon car will star in the first comic book of the character’s new series the setting of which will be the FIA World Touring Car Championship and that will be on sale in November 2012.The Vaillante WTCC is due to hit the track by the first days of June.
To be continued…
EUROSPORT TV PROGRAMMES FROM SALZBURGRING *Saturday, 19 May - 15.45/16.30 : WTCC Qualifying – LIVE, Eurosport 2
Sunday, 20 May - 08.30/08.45 : WTCC Qualifying, Eurosport 1Sunday, 20 May - 08.45/09.15 : WTCC Warm Up – LIVE, Eurosport 1
Sunday, 20 May - 13.00/14.00 : WTCC Race 1 – LIVE, Eurosport 1
Sunday, 20 May - 14.00/15.00 : WTCC Race 2 – LIVE, Eurosport 1
Tuesday, 22 May - 17.00/18.30 : ETCC Race 1 and 2, Eurosport 2 Tuesday, 22 May - 23.00/23.30 : Inside WTCC, Eurosport 1
* all times CET
81 BROADCASTERS TO SHOW WTCC IN 2012
Eurosport Events, promoter of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, announced an increased TV distribution over five continents, with a majority of coverage on terrestrial stations. 81 broadcast agreements are in place for the current season, 50 of which are with free-to-air broadcasters, 26 with cable or pan-regional networks and five with worldwide news agencies. So far in 2012 each WTCC event has benefited from full domestic free-to-air coverage of both races, including live broadcast of the last three events on market-leading stations such as 2M in Morocco, SVT in Slovakia and M2 TV in Hungary. The next events are also on course to receive domestic terrestrial coverage in Austria, Portugal, Brazil, Japan, China and Macau. Only the WTCC Race of USA is still to be confirmed in addition to the regular TV coverage on Speed 2.Besides the domestic coverage, Eurosport Events also secured free-to-air coverage in Europe around F1 programmes: on RTL in Germany, RTL7 in the Netherlands and RTBF in Belgium. Asia Pacific is the area where most efforts have been made. Out of the 1237 hours of WTCC coverage in 2011, 46% was aired in Asia. In 2012 an upgraded coverage is currently being finalised in Japan - besides Gaora Sports – with TV Osaka, TV Tokyo and TXN network. Five agreements are already in place in China with CCTV5, CSPN Beijing, Guangdong TV, TDM Macau and TVB Hong Kong, as well as live streaming on leading sport website www.yuku.com. Uli Lacher, managing director of IFM Sports Group, commented: "We monitor WTCC international distribution since 2007. We have seen it going from strengths to strengths, tactically placing programmes in existing motoring shows, short highlights around F1 broadcast and more and more live races on national channels besides Eurosport's comprehensive coverage. We can expect the WTCC audience in 2012 to carry on a steady growth path."Antonios Argyropoulos, WTCC head of media distribution, said: "WTCC is formatted for live TV, HD quality and entertaining bumper-to-bumper action on track. As the series progressively expands outside Europe in emerging automotive markets, is no coincidence that at the same time we are increasing TV distribution."
ETCC PROMISES TOUGH FIGHTS IN ALL CLASSES
The Salzburgring will also host the fifth and sixth rounds of the FIA European Touring Car Cup; a field of 26 cars will race in Austria split over the series’ four categories.Fernando Monje (SEAT León TDi) and Peter Rikli (Honda Civic) share the lead in the Super 2000 class. However, they have to face the Czech duo of Michal Matĕiovský (SEAT León TDi) and Petr Fulín (BMW 320si) who claimed one race apiece in the previous event at the Slovakia Ring and are joint in third place, seven points off the leaders.In Austria Monje, the winner of the two opening races at Monza, will start with the handicap of a ten-place drop on the grid for the first race, consequence of an incident in Slovakia.In the Super 1600 class, German driver Kevin Krammes has won all the four races held so far, but he is followed by Italian Piero Necchi who lies 13 points behind. It will be interesting to see if the Maurer Motorsport Chevrolet Aveo cars – that first appeared at the Slovakia Ring – will be able to compete with the dominant Ford Fiesta cars.The Super Production class will revive the fight between the Honda Civic cars of Russia’s Nikolay Karamyshev and Serbia’s Aleksandar Tošić. They equally shared victories in the two previous events and Karamyshev leads by 12 points.Finally, Norwegian Stian Paulsen and German Andreas Pfister are due to fight again in the Single-Make Trophy with their SEAT León Cup cars. Paulsen won both races at Monza, Pfister responded with a double victory at the Slovakia Ring and they are separated by only two points.
Fabio Ravaioli/Media Delegate.