2005 newsletter 2005-02-18

WORKS IN PROGRESS AT PUEBLA Works are quickly progressing in Puebla in order to rebuild the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed that will host the ninth and thenth rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship on 26 June 2005. The circuit, located ...

WORKS IN PROGRESS AT PUEBLA

Works are quickly progressing in Puebla in order to rebuild the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed that will host the ninth and thenth rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship on 26 June 2005.

The circuit, located outside the village of Amozoc, 30 km East of Puebla (Mexico's fourth largest town, with more than 3-million inhabitants), was no longer in use since ten years. It lies 2200 metres above the sea, on a plateau surrounded by three volcanos.

The original 1.4-mile oval track is being extensively rebuilt, with the addition of an infield road course, control tower and grandstands that will accomodate up to 30,000 spectators. The track's layout has been finally modified after the latest FIA inspection, meaning that the total overall lenght will be increased to 3127 metres compared to the 2700 originally planned; the track will be 12-metre wide. The new layout includes part of the ancient oval: the North Curve, with a 9 percent banking, and most of the pit straight, for a total of about one kilometre. Works are due to be finished well before the date of the event, while the final FIA inspection for the homologation of the track should take place between the end of April and the first days of May.

ALFA DRIVERS vs SKI RACERS IN BORMIO

Alfa Romeo's former FIA European Touring Car champions Gabriele Tarquini and Fabrizio Giovanardi competed in an unusual race in Bormio, against the Alfa Romeo Ski Racing Team led by Kristian Ghedina.

On an icy track, in the village that has hosted the Ski World Championship, drivers and skiers fought each other at the wheel of some Alfa Romeo Crosswagon Q4s. Since a few years Alfa Romeo is sponsor and official car supplier of the Italian National Team, a partnership that is looking forward to the next Winter Olympics of Turin 2006.

Downhill racer Ghedina, who also has a good experience as an amateur racing driver, emerged among his fellow Italian National Team mates, including Giorgio Rocca, who had claimed the Slalom bronze medal a few minutes earlier. Ghedina finally met Giovanardi in a breathtaking duel.

24H RACE FOR THE MÜLLERS AND PRIAULX

BMW Motorsport's FIA WTCC drivers will compete again in the Nurburgring 24 Hours at the wheel of BMW M3 GTR cars. The race, to be held on 7th and 8th May on the 25.4- km Nordschleife, was dominated last year by the BMW Motorsport team led by Charly Lamm: Dirk Muller, Jorg Muller and Hans-Joachim Stuck drove the winning car, while team-mates Duncan Huisman, Pedro Lamy and Boris Said finished as runner-up. Both teams have been confirmed, with the runner-up reinforced by the addition of reigning FIA European Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said: "The Nurburgring 24 Hours is unique in terms of sport and atmosphere. We hope to be able to continue the BMW success story on the Nordschleife." With 17 victories -- including seven one-two results -- since the event was inaugurated in 1970, BMW has been by far the most successful manufacturer in the race.

FLASH NEWS

ALFA IN FIORANO: AutoDelta team spent four days testing on Ferrari's own circuit in Fiorano. The team's four drivers -- Tarquini, Giovanardi, Thompson and Farfus -- took turns at the wheel of the Alfa 156 cars. "Their indications make us optimist for the season," said Matilde Tomagnini, freshly named manager of the Fiat Group motor sport activities. "We are now looking forward to test again in the next weeks, when we will be facing for the first time some of our opponents in the championship."

SEAT IN JARAMA: SEAT Sport tested for two days at the Jarama circuit in Madrid, on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Rydell, Gene and Terting. The team focused on two aspects: intensive testing of the new brakes with the bigger front discs, and giving newcomer Peter Terting the chance of covering as many kilometres as possible in order to get used to the WTCC car.

TESTING IN MONZA: Four teams will test next week in Monza, from Tuesday 22 to Thursday 24. BMW Team Deutschland and BMW Team Italy-Spain will run one car each for the Mullers, and Zanardi-Garcia respectively; Patrick Bernhardt and Michael Funke will take turns at the wheel of a Team Hotfiel Sport Ford Focus; Proteam Motorsport will join on the third day with two BMW 320i cars for D'Aste and Cirò.

CIRÒ DEBUTS: Proteam Motorsport's new boy Giuseppe Cirò will make his debut at the wheel of an FIA WTCC car tomorrow in Magione. The Italian driver is due to complete only a few laps, to get used to his BMW 320i before testing next week in Monza.

BMW CAMP: BMW Motorsport touring car drivers for the 24 Hour Race and the FIA World Touring Car Championship will be meeting up at the BMW Fitness Camp in Principina Terra, Grosseto (Italy) from 25th February to 2nd March.

CHEVROLET: For its debut in the FIA WTCC, Chevrolet Europe will organise a 2-day trip to Monza for its employees. Participants will receive grandstand-paddock tickets and will have lunch at the Chevrolet hospitality together with team principals and drivers.

THEY SAID: QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Ski racer Kristian Ghedina, after the ice race with Giovanardi in Bormio: "I would have liked to be a racing driver, but because I could not drive when I was 13, I chose skiing. Should I decide to leave after next year's Olympic Games, I might switch to motor sport..."

-fia-

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