Brands Hatch: Friday test day notes

THOMPSON FASTEST IN TODAY'S TESTING James Thompson emerged as fastest of the field in the 30 minute test session that took place ahead of the FIA WTCC race meeting on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix track. The Yorkshire man posted a rapid 1:33.744...

THOMPSON FASTEST IN TODAY'S TESTING

James Thompson emerged as fastest of the field in the 30 minute test session that took place ahead of the FIA WTCC race meeting on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix track. The Yorkshire man posted a rapid 1:33.744 at the wheel of his SEAT Leon, ahead of Alfa Romeo driver, Augusto Farfus' 1:33.936. Yvan Muller, also a SEAT driver, set the third fastest time which was 0.387 off the pace and behind him were two further SEAT cars driven by Rickard Rydell and Peter Terting.

The best of the BMW troop was Jorg Muller, 6th fastest overall, while Alex Zanardi completed a lap just 0.001 seconds slower (1:34.583) placing him an impressive 7th. Alain Menu, at the wheel of his Chevrolet Lacetti, achieved the 8th best time overall. Below him on the time sheet was independent driver Tom Coronel who hit the track in his new GR Asia SEAT Leon for the first time, posting a 1:34.779. The top ten times were covered by only one second, and were completed by Andy Priaulx of BMW Team UK who shot from 18th to 10th on his final lap by completing it in 1:34.812. The session was red-flagged after eight minutes, when Diego Romanini's BMW spun at the Surtees bend; the session resumed early afterwards.

RACE DISTANCE INCREASED BY 2 LAPS

The race distance for FIA WTCC rounds 5 and 6 in Brands Hatch has been increased by 2 laps. Recent checks of the racetrack have set its actual length to 2.301 miles or 3.703 km, meaning that each of the Sunday's 50-km races will consist of 14 laps instead of the scheduled 12.

AN FIA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AT BRANDS AFTER 17 YEARS

The FIA WTCC marks the return of an FIA World Championship to Brands Hatch after 17 years. Many times in the past until 1986 the circuit was home to the British Formula One Grand Prix. Later it hosted rounds of the World Sportscar Championship until 1989.

WTCC DRIVERS MET FANS IN CENTRAL LONDON

A selection of FIA WTCC drivers pleased British fans yesterday by taking part in an autograph session in the Alex Reade Motorsport memorabilia shop in Regent Street. Andy Priaulx, James Thompson, Robert Huff, Ryan Sharp, Pier-Yves Corthals and Stefano D'Aste all spent a total of 2 hours signing posters and merchandise.

NIGEL MANSELL PROVIDES EXTRA SHOW

As if the array of top class motorsport activities was not enough this weekend, spectators at the Kent circuit of Brands Hatch will be treated to some something extra special, courtesy of Nigel Mansell. The racing legend returns to the track where he achieved his first Formula 1 victory in 1982, to complete demonstration laps at the wheel of an infamous BMW M3 GTR which will take place on Sunday, during the luch break. Mansell has further reason to attend the WTCC event as his two sons, Greg and Leo, are competing in the Formula BMW UK support series.

STAMPS CELEBRATE ANDY PRIAULX WORLD TITLE Andy Priaulx, in conjunction with the Guernsey post, will be launching a set of six stamps to commemorate his outstanding international motor sport career that culminated in the 2005 FIA WTCC title. A media briefing will take place on Saturday, May 20th at 5.00 pm at the BMW UK hospitality in Brands Hatch, with Andy being joined by his family and Nigel Mansell to launch the collection.

ALEX ZANARDI INVITES AMPUTEE RALLY DRIVER

Alex Zanardi will be hosting a special guest this weekend after making contact with a British amateur rally driver who lost his legs in a motorway accident. Barry Pavey from Bridgwater received words of encouragement from the Italian legend when a Somerset paper informed him of Mr Pavey's desire to return to racing. Mr Pavey will visit Brands Hatch to watch Zanardi race as well as receiving a guided tour of his modified BMW.

CLASSIC TOURING CARS TO STAR ON TRACK

To pay homage to the classic cars that graced Brands Hatch in the `50s, `60s and `70s, event promoters have created the `Jack Sears Trophy', a two race competition involving historic Saloon and GT cars. Models such as the Ford Anglia, Mini and Jaguar Mk2 will take part in a handicap race. Jack Sears, who won the inaugural British Touring Car Championship in 1958 and again in 1963 will present the trophy named in his honour.

-wtcc

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Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Alex Zanardi , Nigel Mansell , Tom Coronel , Jorg Muller , Yvan Muller , James Thompson , Augusto Farfus , Peter Terting , Rickard Rydell , Stefano D'Aste , Diego Romanini , Alain Menu