Monza: Series preview

MONZA TO CLOSE THE EUROPEAN SEASON The 19th and 20th rounds of the FIA WTCC will take place next week at Monza, Italy. This will be the last European event before the big leap to the Far East for the two final events in Japan and Macau. The ...

MONZA TO CLOSE THE EUROPEAN SEASON

The 19th and 20th rounds of the FIA WTCC will take place next week at Monza, Italy. This will be the last European event before the big leap to the Far East for the two final events in Japan and Macau.

The Autodromo Nazionale is a traditional venue for the FIA Touring Cars having hosted the European Touring Car Championship in 2003 and 2004, before being the stage for the revived World Touring Car Championship's first race in 2005. Known worldwide as the "temple of speed", the Italian circuit is one of the fastest track still in use and here the 2-litre saloons reach their top speed of the season, completing the 5.8km lap at the considerable average of nearly 180 kmh.

After BMW and Alfa Romeo shared glory and victories at Monza for years, the 2007 edition was dominated by the turbo diesel SEAT Leon Tdi that won both races with Yvan Muller and Jordi Gene.

The WTCC meeting in Monza is also one of the fans' favourite, therefore it's easy to predict that a large crowd will attend, especially after last week's successful event in Imola that attracted 37,000 people.

MAXIMUM BALLAST FOR MULLER, RYDELL AND HUFF

Three drivers will carry the maximum 70kg success ballast on board in the next race meeting at Monza: Yvan Muller, who won the first race in Imola and is leading the Drivers' Championship, Rickard Rydell, poleman at Imola and second in Race 1, and Robert Huff, third in Race 2.

As for Muller, it is important to point out that SEAT Sport's Frenchman will now keep the maximum ballast until the end of the season, having already collected 80 points.

Gabriele Tarquini, currently second in the championship, will be laden with 68 extra kilos, while Jorg Muller is the heaviest of the BMW drivers with a ballast of 62.

Following its dominant victory in Imola's second race, James Thompson's Honda Accord will receive a significant amount of ballast for the first time: 49 kilos.

A total of twenty-three drivers will have success ballast in Monza, including the race-by-race entries Tanev, Ladygin, Poulsen, da Costa, Orido and Taniguchi who will receive 30 kilos each according to article 79 c) of the Sporting Regulations.

Success ballast - Monza
70 kg Y. Muller, R. Rydell, R. Huff
68 kg G. Tarquini
62 kg J. Muller
55 kg A. Priaulx
50 kg F. Porteiro
49 kg J. Thompson
46 kg A. Farfus
43 kg J. Gene, N. Larini
40 kg A. Menu
30 kg G. Tanev, K. Ladygin, K. Poulsen, F. D. da Costa, M. Oribo, Y. Taniguchi
29 kg A. Zanardi, T. Monteiro
24 kg T. Coronel
3 kg S. Hernandez
2 kg S. D'Aste

FIRST HONDA TEST FOR TANIGUCHI

Following the successful weekend in Imola where they claimed the first WTCC victory for Honda, N.technology is ready to run a second Accord car in Monza and Okayama.

Japanese driver Yukinori Taniguchi, who will join James Thompson in the team for the two events, had his first test in the car built in cooperation with JAS Motorsport. Taniguchi spent two days at Adria to get accustomed to the Accord Euro R.

"We completed 62 laps on Wednesday and 92 on Thursday," said Taniguchi. "The test went very well and I am learning the car's limits and behaviour with every lap. The team is extremely professional and is a pleasure to be working with them. Although I don't expect to match someone of James' calibre, who already holds so much touring car racing experience, I hope to be competitive in Monza for the team's home rounds and then in Okayama for my national race meeting."

DA COSTA FROM SEAT EUROCUP TO WTCC

Duarte Felix da Costa has won a one-off participation in the WTCC event at Monza. The 23-year old from Cascais, Portugal, is the fifth SEAT Eurocup driver during the current season who is being given the opportunity to show his talent to the World Touring Car Championship at the wheel of a SUNRED SEAT Leon TFSI.

After obtaining a number of successes in karting, da Costa raced in the British Formula BMW and the North European Formula Renault championships. In 2007 he moved to the Spanish SEAT Eurocopa (9th in the final classification) and he is currently 7th in the Eurocup after claiming second position in Oschersleben's Race 2.

He is the second Portuguese to win a chance to participate in a WTCC race following his fellow countryman Lourenco Beirão da Veiga in Brands Hatch.

WIECHERS AND POULSEN JOIN FORCES

After they were forced to skip Imola, the Wiechers-Sport team will come back in force at Monza. The German outfit will compete with two cars again like they did at Oschersleben.

Takayuki Aoki, from Japan, will replace Olivier Tielemans until the end of the season, also taking part in the meetings at Okayama and Macau.

The team's second BMW 320si car will be driven in Monza by Kristian Poulsen from Denmark who competed in three of the previous WTCC meetings (Estoril, Brands Hatch and Oschersleben) with his own team. Poulsen will be at the wheel of the car driven by Duncan Huisman in Oschersleben.

DRIVERS ON A GOLF COURSE

Gabriele Tarquini, Robert Huff and Nicola Larini will take part this weekend in a 36-hole Stableford golf tournament at the San Valentino golf club in Castellarano, Italy.

The event counts as the first round towards the Green Golf Tour promoted by Eurosport Events.

Among the other competitors are KSO General Manager Marcello Lotti, BMW Team Italy-Spain owner Aldo Preo, WTCC Race of Mexico promoter Julian Abed and former Formula One driver Andrea Montermini. Alessandro Zanardi will also make a guest appearance to award prizes to the winners.

EUROSPORT COVERAGE FROM MONZA

Saturday, 4th:
Qualifying - LIVE Eurosport 2, 14.50/15.30

Sunday, 5th:
Warm up - LIVE Eurosport International, 09.00/09.30
Race 1 - LIVE Eurosport International, 12.00/13.00
Race 2 - LIVE Eurosport International, 15.30/16.30

Times are CET (Central European Time)

COUNTDOWN: - 9 DAYS

-credit: fiawtcc.com

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Jorg Muller , Yvan Muller , James Thompson , Andrea Montermini , Takayuki Aoki , Duncan Huisman , Rickard Rydell , Gabriele Tarquini , Jordi Gene , Nicola Larini , Olivier Tielemans , Yukinori Taniguchi , Marcello Lotti