Newsletter 2005-10-07

LADA AVTOVAZ ANNOUNCE FIA WTCC PROGRAMME Russia's biggest automaker LADA Avtovaz announced their participation in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The programme will be officially launched in a press conference at the Moscow ...

LADA AVTOVAZ ANNOUNCE FIA WTCC PROGRAMME

Russia's biggest automaker LADA Avtovaz announced their participation in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The programme will be officially launched in a press conference at the Moscow Sport-Motor-Tuning Exhibition on November 3.

The official press release reads: 2006 is the 40th anniversary of LADA Avtovaz. In conjunction with this milestone anniversary, LADA will campaign a motorsport programme in the FIA WTCC from 2006. To participate at this premier international level is a logical extension for LADA, who desire to show their technical expertise and a new open marketing strategy supporting the brand image campaign.

"Our objective is to improve our brand image in European and international export markets with the assistance of this ambitious motorsport programme," said Vitaly Vilchik, President-General Director of Avtovaz. "LADA have a 35-year tradition in motorsport, mostly concentrated in the home market and not visible for international audiences; but that will change now and the three-year commitment to the FIA WTCC will allow LADA to promote this campaign aggressively."

The two-car LADA WTCC Racing team will be operated by MTEC Sport in Germany together with the motorsport division of LADA, which already have extensive experience in Touring Car racing in Russia. "We are extremely proud that Avtovaz will start this campaign with our team," commented Racing Director Norbert Ruths.

The LADA factory team will face the first year in the FIA WTCC as a testing period before they will start racing the the new LADA Priora in 2007. Drivers for the programme are being reviewed in Europe and in the US; announcements will be made by next winter.

HARRISON IMPRESSED IN VALENCIA TEST

On Monday, JAS Motorsport remained in Valencia to give Simon Harrison, who will join Adriano De Micheli in Macau, the chance to get familiar with the Honda Accord and the team. The Briton completed 30 laps around the Spanish track, with impressive times; he was clocked in 1:43.9 with very used tyres, equivalent to a potential 1:42:5 with new tyres, which would have been good for a top-five position on the starting grid.

"I am very much pleased with the car," Harrison commented. "This is the first time I drive a competitive Super 2000, and one of the few drives this year at all, as I have only done some races in the Asian Porsche Cup. The Accord is very sensitive to set-up changes, and very effective in any part of the circuit. I do look forward to a highly competitive race in Macau."

ATCC LEADER TO RACE IN MACAU

Franz Engstler, who is comfortably leading the Asian Touring Car Championship (ATCC), will take part in the FIA WTCC final meeting in Macau. The first of the two races on the Guia track will also count as the ATCC final round.

At the wheel of an Engstler Motorsport BMW 320i, the 41 year old German has claimed 8 victories out of the 10 ATCC rounds held so far, which gave him a solid 55-point lead ahead of Malaysian driver Farique Hairuman, with 60 still to be awarded. ATCC last-but- one meeting will take place in Zhuhai, China, on October 23.

Engstler and his team will enter three BMW cars in the WTCC Race of Macau, with Ratanaul Prutirat from Thailand and Paul Poon from Hong Kong alongside their team principal.

MAN OF THE WEEK: XAVIER SERRA

This week we got an insight about what it is like to work for a racing team. Xavier Serra, 31 years old from Barcelona, has worked in motorsport for nine years and is now a Race Engineer for Jordi Gené at SEAT Sport. There are two good reasons for him being nominated man of the week: Gené's victory in Race 1 at Valencia and the fact that he will get married tomorrow.

What does your job involve? "During the week I work in the factory developing the cars and I am also responsible for the chassis. The week before the event we prepare the cars. Saturday is a busy day because the cars go out on the track three times and we have to make sure the set-up is good enough to be competitive on race day."

How difficult has it been to change car from the Toledo to the León during the season? "Extremely difficult and hectic because we were operating both models. We tested the Toledo, we raced the Toledo, we tested the León and now finally we are racing with the León. It's been a challenging process but Jordi's win at Valencia was a great reward." Did you have to plan your wedding around the racing calendar? "For sure, the first thing I did was looking at the racing calendar and then we decided on an available date. My fiancé doesn't get too involved in motorsport, but she is slowly taking an interest."

FLASH NEWS

MEDIA AT THE WHEEL: BMW gave German journalist Dieter Serowy the chance to spend one day as an FIA WTCC works driver. This week at the Salzburgring racetrack in Austria, Serowy tested Jörg Müller's BMW Team Deutschland race car in order to publish a story on German magazine Auto Zeitung. The journalist successfully completed the test under the very eyes of a rather worried Jörg.

THEY SAID: QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Andy Priaulx commenting of his race in Valencia: "This is the time of year that the aggressive and determined Andy Priaulx has to come out to play. I think I proved that in my battle with Dirk for third position in Valencia."

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Jorg Muller , Franz Engstler , Simon Harrison , Farique Hairuman , Jordi Gene , Paul Poon