NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 20/11/96
TARQUINI JOINS HONDA FOR 1997 BTCC
The 1994 Champion, Gabriele Tarquini, is to return to the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship next year at the wheel of a Honda Accord. The ex-F1 star, 34, has signed a two-year deal with Team Honda Sport to partner James Thompson in Britain's premier motor sport series.
Tarquini, a veteran of 37 Grands Prix, said: 'Britain is the most competitive Super Touring championship in the world. The Accord is a winner and I can't wait for next season to start. I am very happy to be coming back to the UK.'
The Italian swept all before him in the BTCC in '94, winning eight races for Alfa Romeo on his way to the championship title, before leaving the series to spearhead Alfa's International Touring Car Championship effort.
Tarquini's return means that there are likely to be at least five BTCC champions contesting next year's series. Reigning title holder Frank Biela is expected to return with Audi, '95 Champion John Cleland is to partner ex-F1 man Derek Warwick at Vauxhall, 1991 titlist Will Hoy has just signed for Ford, and '92 Champion Tim Harvey is expected to remain with Peugeot.
Only two works team seats remain officially unfilled -- those alongside Alain Menu at Renault and Hoy at Ford.
Next year's Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship will feature 24 rounds at 12 UK meetings. Six races are to be televised live by BBC Grandstand, in addition to extended coverage of the other races.
-- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing