ROUTE TO: PORTIMÃO, PORTUGAL
The second half of the WTCC season will kick off next week in Portugal, when rounds 13 and 14 take place at the Portimão’s Autódromo Internacional de Algarve on June 3. This is the second time the FIA World Touring Car Championship visits this modern and demanding racetrack, located in Southern Portugal, which was inaugurated in 2008.Among the many possible layouts offered by this impressive, state-of-the art venue, the WTCC cars will run on the 4.6km racetrack for two 11-lap races.During the 2010 event, WTCC driver treated the Portuguese fans to two exciting races, thanks to the undulating layout of the circuit that also offers the possibility to choose different racing lines at every corner. The SEAT León TDi cars dominated both races with local hero Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini claiming one victory apiece.In previous seasons the WTCC Race of Portugal was also hosted by Porto’s Boavista street circuit (in 2007, 2009 and 2011) and the Estoril permanent track (in 2008).
LADA SPORT TEAM REJOIN IN PORTUGAL
James Thompson and the LADA Sport team rejoin the championship in Portugal, for their second and, likely, last appearance of the season.
At the wheel of his Granta Sport car, the English driver had already taken part in the WTCC Race of Hungary at Budapest, where he was stopped by mechanical failures in both races after setting encouraging lap times in the Saturday sessions.
LADA Sport plan for the current season was to make only two appearances in the world championship and focus on the technical development of the new car in view of joining for the whole season in 2013.
"Although racing is great for showcasing, it's not always the best for developing. At Budapest the Granta showed a lot of potential, but we just had a lot of new car maladies. We had the pace over one lap, which is all you can ask when you never turned a wheel! Our pace was somewhere around the top ten, and it was good!" said Thompson who added:
"It will be interesting to see what happens at Portimão, we will treat it as two races and two test sessions, then it’s up to the team to decide whether we want to do a little more development and maybe race again or just keep on developing for the rest of the year."
The LADA Sport team is testing today at Magny-Cours.
SEAT AND FORD ARE 10 KILOS LIGHTER
Both the SEAT León WTCC and the Ford Focus S2000 have lost ten kilos after the latest event at the Salzburgring.The Chevrolet Cruze remains the reference car according to the calculation based on the lap times set in the three previous events (Slovakia, Hungary and Austria) and will be laden once again with the maximum 40kg ballast. Just like the BMW 320 TC that has been only three tenths slower on the average of the three race meetings aforesaid.In Portugal the SEAT León WTCC will carry 30 extra kilos instead of 40, while the Ford Focus will benefit from a 20kg reduction of its minimum weight (it was 10 in Austria), just like the SUNRED León 1.6T.
Compensation weight Portimão+ 40 kg : Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T, BMW 320 TC+ 30 kg : SEAT León WTCC± 0 kg : LADA Granta Sport- 20 kg : Ford Focus S2000, SUNRED León 1.6T
NEW ENGINE FOR TOM BOARDMAN
Special Tuning Racing’s Tom Boardman will switch to SEAT’s 1.6-litre turbo engine from the Portuguese event, replacing the old 2.0-litre turbo diesel on his SEAT León.The Englishman commented: “It has been a frustrating first half of the season. Knowing that my car has been significantly slower than the rest has made it a tough time for me. This has been accentuated by the faster circuits of Marrakech, the Hungaroring and the Salzburgring. However, now is the time to look forward and in my mind it is the start of a new season for me. I can see the potential the new SEAT engine has, and if I can get some solid finishes under my belt going forward I can quickly move up in the Yokohoma Trophy." Boardman’s switch marks the end of the SEAT TDi engine’s long and successful career in WTCC that spanned over six seasons, resulting in two World Championship titles (Yvan Muller in 2008 and Gabriele Tarquini in 2009) and 32 race wins.
TEAM ENGSTLER STOP AT ULM MINSTER
On their way back home from Austria, the Liqui Moly Team Engstler stopped in Ulm, historical city of the Baden-Württemberg region to take some family pictures with the impressive Minster in the background.
A Lutheran Church, with its 161.5-metre steeple the Ulm Minster remains the tallest church in the world and the fourth tallest structure built before the 20th Century.
The foundation stone was laid in 1377 and in 1392 Ulrich Ensingen was appointed master builder. The works to build the Gothic Minster lasted until the 19th century.WTCC drivers Franz Engstler and Charles Ng posed for the pictures together with their BMW 320 TC cars and the team personnel.
Fabio Ravioli/Media press delegate.
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