FROM RUSSIA WITH. LADA
KSO, promoter of the FIA WTCC, and Russian car manufacturer AVTOVAZ, signed a letter of intent today in Moscow to promote the participation of LADA in the championship. The agreement also includes the commitment of both parties to organise a WTCC event in Russia from 2010.
KSO, general manager Marcello Lotti commented: "This deal is a great honour for us and we are ready to support AVTOVAZ in the preparation and homologation of their new Priora racing car. Welcome, LADA!"
Boris S. Aleshin, president of the AVTOVAZ Group added: "We sell now 160,000 cars per year and we intend to increase these figures; motorsport is a good mean to promote our products. Our goal is to be in the middle of the pack during our first WTCC season, and then we will be working to improve. We are really ambitious!"
As for the possibility to bring WTCC to Russia, Lotti said: "We will be working together with the FIA and RAF (Russian National Sporting Authority) to identify a suitable street circuit and a date for the 2010 season. Our priority is to race in Moscow."
LADA was represented in the 2008 WTCC by independent team Russian Bears Motorsport that entered three 110 2.0 cars for Jaap van Lagen, Viktor Shapovalov and Kirill Ladygin.
MARRAKECH RACETRACK UNVEILED
MGP, promoter of the WTCC Race of Morocco, have unveiled the layout of the non-permanent racetrack in Marrakech that will host the third meeting of the 2009 World Touring Car Championship on May 3rd.
The circuit was designed by D3 Motorsport Development, MGP's partner in Morocco, and one of the world's leading motorsport development companies. D3 is responsible for the construction of four of the most competitive and successful racetracks in motorsports, such as Surfers' Paradise in Australia.
The 4.54-km circuit has already been subjected to several tests and inspections, pending final FIA homologation. Its construction, along Boulevard Mohammed VI and Route de l'Ourika, is already under way under the supervision of Groupe MENARA. An exotic backdrop between the red city's legendary wall and snow-capped Atlas Mountains in the distance, will quickly make it one of the most attractive circuits in the world.
"The circuit layout will allow for fast and challenging driving, giving fans and TV audiences an exciting performance," commented MGP president Ali Horma.
FIA DECLARE FINAL THE CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
Following the report of the Technical Delegate concerning the technical checks of the wheel hubs of Augusto Farfus' BMW and Gabriele Tarquini's SEAT, which had been sealed after the races in Okayama, the FIA declared final the results of the 2008 World Touring Car Championship. Yvan Muller and SEAT will be officially crowned winners of the Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championships during the FIA Gala, at Monaco on December 12th.
FRANCE CELEBRATE SIXTH WORLD CHAMPION
Yvan Muller's World Touring Car title received large media coverage in France. TV news and major newspapers have all reported about him claiming France's second motorsport world championship of the season after Sebastien Loeb's fifth consecutive World Rally Championship.
Muller is the sixth French driver to be crowned world champion after Alain Prost (Formula 1), Didier Auriol and Loeb (Rally), Yannick Dalmas and Jean-Louis Schlesser (Sportscars).
The season is not over yet for SEAT Sport's new WTCC champion. He will take part in the Race of Champions at Wembley, on December 14th, forming a two-world-champion team with fellow regional Loeb (they both are from Alsace and licensed by the same club, ASACAR du Bas Rihn).
Muller will then participate in the Dakar Rally at the wheel of a buggy prototype built by Philippe Gache.
MULLER AND TARQUINI, RIVALS AND TEAM MATES
'The first competitor is your own team mate' states a popular motorsport's saying. However, Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini proved to be a remarkable exception.
Although fighting each other until the last event for the WTCC crown, the SEAT Sport drivers never lost fair play and mutual respect. On the contrary, they lived the last days before the final confrontation in a kind of symbiosis: travelling together, eating together and going for shopping together.
"It all started when I asked Gabriele about his travelling plan. I told him: I will take the same flight, so if the plane crashes, I will be posthumously crowned champion." explained Muller. "And when he offered me a pill to sleep during the flight I said: you take it first."
Jokes apart, the newly crowned world champion pointed out that team work played a crucial role in helping him to clinch the title: "We have established a fantastic cooperation. We have all progressed together and worked together during the season. And even on Saturday in Macau Gabriele and I were sharing some information. We have a real team spirit at SEAT Sport!"
BMW MOTORSPORT BOSS CONGRATULATES SEAT
For the first time the FIA World Touring Car Championship was not won by BMW. After Roberto Ravaglia's success in 1987 and Andy Priaulx's three consecutive titles in 2005, 2006 and 2007, the Munich-based manufacturer had to settle in 2008 for six race wins and second place in the Manufacturers' Championship.
However, BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen, sportingly congratulated the winners: "Our heartiest congratulations to Yvan Muller and SEAT. With their turbo diesel engine our opponents dominated proceedings this year.
Naturally we are disappointed not to have successfully defended either title. Nevertheless we are proud of our results during the season. To have scored six victories in a tightly-contested series is still a respectable achievement. All the same, things must change for next year.
The basis is a set of regulations which offer all the manufacturers the opportunity of competing in a balanced and fair competition. This basic principle is absolutely crucial to the future of the WTCC."
COUNTDOWN to the 2009 FIA WTCC Race of Brazil: 107 DAYS