Brno: Friday test notes

TESTING FASTEST TIME FOR GENE The test session got underway at Brno with grey clouds threatening rain. Jordi Gene posted the best time of 2:12.547 behind the wheel of his SEAT Leon with a few minutes remaining. The next two best times were set...

TESTING FASTEST TIME FOR GENE

The test session got underway at Brno with grey clouds threatening rain. Jordi Gene posted the best time of 2:12.547 behind the wheel of his SEAT Leon with a few minutes remaining. The next two best times were set by BMW drivers. Jorg Muller was 0.229 of a second slower than Gene and Andy Priaulx 0.088 of a second more adrift.

Alain Menu completed the fastest lap out of the Chevrolet team. His time of 2:12.897 placed him fourth on the timesheet while Robert Huff was not far behind as 7th fastest. Nicola Larini was unable to complete a single lap before his car was towed away after engine problems forced an early finish.

From the N.technology Alfa Romeo squad it was Augusto Farfus who was quickest. His time of 2:13.995 was only 13th fastest overall. His team-mates Salvatore Tavano and Gianni Morbidelli who, along with Farfus himself, have a lot of ballast, were 15th and 19th.

Ten minutes into the session there was a red flag because Vincent Radermecker's Chevrolet broke down. The cause is thought to be either engine or transmission problems. Both the JAS Motorsport Honda cars were also unable to finish the session.

Ryan Sharp had to stop on the grass before turn 5 with fuel pressure problems and Pierre-Yves Corthals came to a halt seconds later after his engine cut out. Philip Geipel suffered similar fate in his Toyota Corolla T-sport after clutch problems only allowed him to complete 4 laps.

WTCC DRIVERS STAGE IN AUTOGRAPH SESSION

The people of Brno were properly introduced to the FIA WTCC yesterday when an autograph session took place at the city's Olympia shopping mall. Rob Huff, Jorg Muller, Peter Terting, Diego Romanini and Ryan Sharp were the drivers who took part in the promotional activities signing posters and the fans' own memorabilia.

On static display was a Chevrolet Lacetti as well as the exhibition of motorsport photos from renowned Czech photographer Martin Straka. The activities were rounded up when Jorg Muller signed the photo of himself on the podium after his victory in Oschersleben.

CZECH DRIVER TO RACE FOR WIECHERS-SPORT

Jan Vonka is the latest driver to be named as a competitor for rounds 13 and 14 of the WTCC that take place in Brno this weekend. He will be at the wheel of a Wiechers-Sport BMW 320i.

Vonka is in fact from the Czech Republic, he was born in Slaný 43 years ago and now resides in Modrice. "It's a little bit different racing at home," Vonka said, "I hope the people don't expect too much of me however because it is my first time in the WTCC."

Vonka owns his own team which competes in the FIA GT Championship. In 2004 and 2005 he finished 9th and 6th overall in the drivers' championship in a Porsche 996 GT3. He is one of the few drivers who have experience of the Brno track and his hopes of the weekend? "To finish!"

As usual, a 20kg weight handicap will be issued as Vonka is a newcomer to the championship.

RADERMECKER: "A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR US"

Among the new-comers to the WTCC this weekend is Vincent Radermecker from Swiss based team Maurer Motorsport. Born in Liège, Belgium, the 39 year old has a wealth of experience at the wheel of a touring car. In the past ten years Radermecker has competed in British, French and Belgian championships. His most recent championship win came last year in the Belgian Touring Car Series and he currently leads the ADAC Procar Series.

"It is a good feeling to be in one of the three world championships in car racing." Radermecker stated. "I have taken an interest in the series for many years and it's a great opportunity for me and the team to be here. It is good for us that not everyone has knowledge and experience of the track because it makes it more of an equal start." Both Radermecker and his team-mate Rainer Bastuck will be racing at the wheel of Chevrolet Lacetti cars.

GEIPEL EXCITED ABOUT HIS MAIDEN WTTC APPEARANCE

Philip Geipel is a new face in the paddock and his Toyota Corolla T-Sport a new car in the WTCC line-up. At just 19 years old Geipel is the youngest driver to compete in this tough championship but the challenge does not intimidate him.

"I am experiencing a lot of emotions," commented the German, "but I am not scared, excited is a better description."

The young man who enjoys clubbing and won the Junior Trophy of the 2005 German Toyota Yaris Cup went on to say, "This is the first time for me here and I want to show what I and the car are capable of, as well as learning a great deal. I have watched every race on television and have a good idea of how hard each of the drivers push!"

-credit: fia

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Jorg Muller , Augusto Farfus , Peter Terting , Rob Huff , Gianni Morbidelli , Jordi Gene , Salvatore Tavano , Nicola Larini , Ryan Sharp , Jan Vonka , Diego Romanini , Pierre-Yves Corthals , Vincent Radermecker , Rainer Bastuck , Alain Menu , Philip Geipel