Imola: Series preview

ROUTE TO: IMOLA, ITALY The FIA World Touring Car Championship visits Imola for the third time after last year's successful event that marked the reopening of the glorious racetrack after a two-year closure due to extensive renovation works. On...

ROUTE TO: IMOLA, ITALY

The FIA World Touring Car Championship visits Imola for the third time after last year's successful event that marked the reopening of the glorious racetrack after a two-year closure due to extensive renovation works.

On the WTCC's first appearance on this track, in 2005, Alfa Romeo's Fabrizio Giovanardi and BMW's Dirk Muller shared victories.

The 2008 meeting saw Yvan Muller's SEAT Leon TDI claim an important win in Race 1, while the second race recorded the historical triumph of James Thomson in the N.technology Honda Accord. The first - and only so far - victory in WTCC for a Japanese manufacturer. A large crowd of 37,000 attended the event.

BMW AND SEAT ON MAXIMUM WEIGHT

Title contenders will run on the same weight next week at Imola. BMW drivers and their competitors in the SEAT turbodiesel cars will have the maximum 40-kilos compensation weight on board.

The SEAT Leon TDI emerged as the fastest model during the German weekend, especially due to the changeable weather that plagued the qualifying session on Saturday.

According to the calculation that took into account the lap times set in the three previous events (Porto, Brands Hatch and Oschersleben) BMW and SEAT remain on the maximum compensation weight, while the Chevrolet moves down to +20kg, 10 kilos less than in Germany.

Alessandro Zanardi's BMW 320si (equipped with a sequential gearbox), the SEAT Leon TFSI and the LADA Priora will have 20kg deducted from the minimum weight.

Compensation weights Oschersleben
+ 40 kg BMW 320si, SEAT Leon TDI
+ 20 kg Chevrolet Cruze LT
- 20 kg BMW 320si Zanardi, LADA Priora, SEAT Leon TFSI

THOMPSON AND BENNANI RETURN

James Thompson and Mehdi Bennani will rejoin the championship in Imola. The Briton will take back the wheel of his LADA Priora car from team principal Viktor Shapovalov, after missing the event at Oschersleben due to a previous commitment to race in the Australian V8 Supercars championship at Phillip Island.

Bennani and Exagon Engineering return to the WTCC with their SEAT Leon after skipping the latest two meetings at Brands Hatch and Oschersleben. Their best result so far is victory in the Independents' class on their maiden appearance at Marrakech.

A. LARINI AND FABIANI JOIN IN IMOLA

Andrea Larini, younger brother of Chevrolet driver Nicola, has won participation in the Imola event after emerging as the best scoring driver during the SEAT Eurocup meeting at Oschersleben last Sunday. Larini will drive a SUNRED Engineering SEAT Leon; however he is not a rookie, as he took part in a few races in 2005, when the Italian Touring Car Championship joined the World Championship at Monza, Magny-Cours and Imola.

Fabio Fabiani will team with Felix Porteiro at Proteam Motorsport in a BMW 320si. In 2008 Fabiani claimed the FIA European Super Production Cup at Salzburgring in a BMW 320i.

CHAT WITH TARQUINI AT EUROSPORT.IT

At the eve of his home race meeting at Imola, current championship leader Gabriele Tarquini will be a special guest at www.eurosport.yahoo.it, on Monday September 14th.

Like other sport stars before him, Tarquini will act as guest editor, taking part in the editorial meeting, selecting the news to be published on the home page and writing his own column.

Later on, from 15.00 to 16.00, he will host a chat session with the fans, answering their questions and talking about his racing season and his expectations for the races in Imola.

COUNTDOWN: - 9 DAYS to the 2009 FIA WTCC Race of Italy - 19th / 20th September, in Imola

-credit: wtcc

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Dirk Müller , Yvan Muller , James Thompson , Felix Porteiro , Gabriele Tarquini , Andrea Larini , Mehdi Bennani , Viktor Shapovalov , Fabio Fabiani , Phillip Island
Teams Proteam Motorsport