Macau: SEAT Sport preview

SEAT and Yvan Muller will be aiming to make it a double triumph in the 2007 FIA World Touring Car Championship, when they race for the Manufacturers' and Drivers' titles at the final meeting of the season on the Guia street circuit in Macau on ...

SEAT and Yvan Muller will be aiming to make it a double triumph in the 2007 FIA World Touring Car Championship, when they race for the Manufacturers' and Drivers' titles at the final meeting of the season on the Guia street circuit in Macau on November 16-18.

BMW has won five of the last six WTCC races at Macau, but on-form SEAT won both races last time out at Monza to reduce BMW's lead from 32 to just 10 points. The Spanish firm has entered three SEAT Leon TDIs for Yvan Muller, Gabriele Tarquini and Jordi Gene, and a trio of petrol-engined Leons for Tiago Monteiro, Michel Jourdain Jr and Rickard Rydell. It is hoped that this very strong six-car team will end BMWs good run at Macau and give SEAT the Manufacturers' title, while Yvan arrives in Macau, which is situated 70kms from Hong Kong, tied for the lead of the Drivers' Championship with Andy Priaulx.

Success in Macau would see SEAT become the first Spanish car manufacturer ever to win a circuit racing world championship and Yvan break a 14 year drought and become the first French circuit racing world champion since Alain Prost won the 1993 Formula 1 Championship.

A SEAT driver is also fighting for another world title. Pierre-Yves Corthals (SEAT Belgium Leon) heads to Macau sandwiched in 2nd place between the BMWs of Stefano D'Aste and Luca Rangoni in a three-way fight for the Independents' Trophy title -- and if he wins the title will go to the driver of a SEAT Leon for the second year running.

Erich Schmitt, the President of SEAT, will be in Macau to give his full support to the SEAT Sport team.

Technical analysis

Xavier Serra, SEAT Sport Race Engineer: "At 6.1kms, the Macau circuit is the longest track, the Melco hairpin is the slowest corner and the Mandarin corner is the fastest of the entire WTCC. On top of this the mountain section is more than six-five percent of the circuit, with an amazing amount of very tricky wall-lined corners. There is almost 2kms of flat out driving, only interrupted by a throttle lift in the Mandarin corner. It's necessary for a driver to have a mistake-free weekend to succeed in Macau, but there are plenty of other aspects that will affect the final result. Rain, heat, red flags, safety cars, qualifying, Lisboa corner and even the pit allocation could have something to say in the final result as well as some luck. In the past the Leon has performed very well in all the tricky sections, but suffered a lack of top speed down the long straights. This time the TDI should be better. But despite SEAT finishing on the podium several times since going there for the first time in 2004, BMW has always been the top manufacturer in the previous Macau races. Alfa and Chevrolet are currently setting the fastest top speeds of the field, as they did in Monza, and therefore they will play a key role on the championship's final result as they are in a very good position to win races in Macau. Owing to BMW's domination in Macau, for SEAT and Yvan the pressure is off. But it's time for SEAT to change the history and not allow BMW to clinch the fourth Drivers' and fifth Manufacturers' Championship in a row."

Driver quotes

Yvan Muller: (SEAT Leon 12): "I feel no pressure heading to Macau leading the Championship, for me it's the same feeling before any other race and I have prepared exactly the same. We did well at Macau last year, but it is a very particular circuit and anything can happen. The Leon TDI will be better on the long straights, but Macau is also very tight and twisty, so we will have to see how competitive we are. There will be a lot of lighter cars on the track, and with the maximum weight handicap it will be a challenge, especially in qualifying."

Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT Leon 11): "I am very positive that we can win the title, especially with Yvan. We showed in Monza that we can work very well as a team and help Yvan, and if we can do that again then we will score a lot of points in the Manufacturers' Championship also. With the TDI, we have the speed and the acceleration to fight with the others, but for sure it will not be easy because BMW especially are always very strong in Macau. But you know, I am very optimistic and have a very positive feeling about the final round of the World Championship."

Tiago Monteiro (SEAT Leon 18): "Macau is one of my favourite tracks because it's wonderful, crazy and unlike anything anywhere else in the world. It's a big challenge in a single seater, and I'm sure it will be a big challenge in a touring car. I want to finish the season on a high, but more importantly I want to help Yvan and SEAT win the two titles. We have a very good chassis and I think we can do well at Macau, but the World Championship is so close and competitive anything can happen."

Jordi Gene (SEAT Leon 9): "I am very excited about racing in Macau. The second half of the season has been very good for me, so I'm on good form, the SEAT Leon TDI is going well and I am very happy because SEAT and Yvan are still in contention to win the Manufacturers' and Drivers' titles. We are not sure yet how competitive we will be in Macau, or whether it will be a SEAT, BMW, Chevrolet or Alfa circuit, but there are lots of corners which should be good for the petrol engined Leon and long straights for the Leon TDI, so I think we should be strong at Macau."

Michel Jourdain Jr (SEAT Leon 10): "I have never raced in Macau and I'm really looking forward it. I've been practicing on the WTCC RACE game and watching videos to learn the circuit and it looks incredible. I really want to finish the season by scoring points; SEAT was good in Macau last year but many crazy things can happen there! But definitely the most important thing for Macau is for SEAT and Yvan to win the Manufacturers' and Drivers' Championship. I think the whole of the SEAT group deserves these titles after the tremendous job it has done this year."

Rickard Rydell (SEAT Leon 88): "I always felt very much at home in the SEAT Sport team, so I am really looking forward to rejoining them again in Macau. My main aim is to support the team and try to help Yvan and SEAT win the Manufacturers' and Drivers' Championship. The Leon was good there last year, especially around the tight corners, and even though I haven't raced it for twelve months I think we can do a very good job."

Ballast
Yvan Muller: +60kgs
Gabriele Tarquini: +60kgs
Tiago Monteiro: +15kgs
Jordi Gene: +55kgs
Michel Jourdain Jr: 0kgs
Rickard Rydell: 30kgs

Race details
Race: 2007 FIA WTCC Rounds 21/22
Venue: Macau, China
Lap distance: 6.117km

-credit: seat.es

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Alain Prost , Tiago Monteiro , Yvan Muller , Rickard Rydell , Gabriele Tarquini , Jordi Gene , Luca Rangoni , Stefano D'Aste , Pierre-Yves Corthals , Michel Jourdain