Newsletter 2005-09-02

NEXT STOP: ISTANBUL PARK The FIA World Touring Car Championship's 15th and 16th rounds will take place on 18TH September in Turkey. This will be the second event ever hosted by the brand new Istanbul Park, that was inaugurated only two weeks...

NEXT STOP: ISTANBUL PARK

The FIA World Touring Car Championship's 15th and 16th rounds will take place on 18TH September in Turkey. This will be the second event ever hosted by the brand new Istanbul Park, that was inaugurated only two weeks ago with the Formula One Turkish Grand Prix.

The championship arrives in Turkey with the title fight wide open.2004 FIA European Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx broke his duck in Oschersleben, claiming his first victory of the year. This, together with his second place in Race 2, enabled him to close in on Dirk Muller. The two of them are separated by only one point in the Drivers' Championship. However, despite not scoring in the German weekend, Alfa Romeo's leading man Fabrizio Giovanardi remains within striking distance, 12 points from the lead. With 20 points to be awarded in the Turkish meeting, four other drivers have good chances for reducing their gaps: Jorg Muller (24 points behind), Gabriele Tarquini, Rickard Rydell and Antonio Garcia who are all an equal further two points adrift.

Victories in Oschersleben for Priaulx and Alessandro Zanardi were a further evidence of how balanced the championship is, making nine different winners in the 14 races held so far.

HELSINKI AND BRANDS HATCH ARE IN THE FRAME

Two new racetracks are in the frame to host FIA WTCC rounds in 2006: Helsinki and Brands Hatch. "We had a meeting in Oschersleben with Jarno Mahonen, managing director of the WRC round Neste Rally Finland, who is working on a plan to establish a racetrack in the streets of Helsinki. At the moment he is waiting for the authorisation from the local Government. If this arrives in time to include Helsinki in the calendar that has to be submitted to the FIA, we'll race there in 2006. Otherwise it will be postponed to 2007," explained Marcello Lotti, General Manager of KSO. As for Brands Hatch, KSO have already had several meetings with circuit owner Jonathan Palmer. "Negotiations are going on, and I should say that we are getting closer and closer to signing a deal to move our British round to Brands Hatch Grand Prix," said Lotti.

THE MAN OF THE WEEK: ANDY PRIAULX

Since he joined the series in 2003, Andy Priaulx has been in contention for the drivers' championship. Last year he became the FIA European Touring Car champion and BMW Motorsport rewarded him by making him their third works driver along with the Mullers. As well as racing, Andy is a mentor for the young drivers in Formula BMW UK.

What is the key to your consistency? "It's a real mixture of elements. I always work the same way with the team whether it's a good or bad day, I have stability in my home life and I have learned a lot coming through other series. The new BMW 320i is also a factor. Things have often been tough but I have always managed to continue and improve because the combination of these things works for me."

What does your role with Formula BMW involve? "I am a general mentor really. I teach the lads to drive like I would and to adopt an effective working method. When things aren't going well and they need some advice I am there to help, as well as pointing out when they have succeeded and why it happened. It is rewarding seeing them progress and it is important for me to put something back into motorsport."

This is your third season in the FIA Championship; in 2003 you fought for the European title until the end, last year you won it at the final race. Will you succeed in becoming World champion? "I am feeling really positive for the remainder of the season. However, the fight is still wide open and I'm not ruling out an Alfa Romeo challenge, because Valencia will suit their cars much better than ours, and they might catch up."

FLASH NEWS

TELEVISION 1: Turkish terrestrial channel TV8 broadcast live the FIA WTCC races from Oschersleben. TV8 will broadcast live again from Istanbul, Valencia and Macau.

TELEVISION 2: For the first time the FIA WTCC was aired live on two major terrestrial channels in Germany and Spain. From Oschersleben, ZDF (Germany) broadcast live for two hours, while TVE2 (Spain) for 30 minutes. TVE2 will also broadcast live from Valencia, on October 2.

TELEVISION 3: Eurosport, in close collaboration with the promoter of the LG Race of Mexico, signed a new broadcasting agreement with Fox Sport Latin America and Speed Panam. These two pan-regional cable platforms will broadcast all the remaining races of season on a delayed basis.

THEY SAID: QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Alessandro Zanardi after his victory in Oschersleben: "We've finally found a set-up that works for my driving. On the slowing down lap I was already thinking about the next race in Turkey and what we found out in the set-up. But I'm old enough to tell my mind to enjoy the experience tonight."

-fia-

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