WTCC DRIVERS RECEIVED BY THE MAYOR Official proceedings to the WTCC Race of Japan got underway today when the Mayor of Mimasaka City, Toshirou Miyamoto, received the drivers during a welcome dinner at the Junogou Grand Hotel. "I wish to ...
WTCC DRIVERS RECEIVED BY THE MAYOR
Official proceedings to the WTCC Race of Japan got underway today when the Mayor of Mimasaka City, Toshirou Miyamoto, received the drivers during a welcome dinner at the Junogou Grand Hotel.
"I wish to congratulate the organisers for bringing the World Touring Car Chempionship to the Okayama International Circuit. Mimasaka, the birthplace of Musashi Miyamoto a samurai of the 16th century, welcomes all the competitors, officials and race enthusiasts and I hope they will have time to enjoy the local points of interest and fine products of Mimasaka City and its region," said the Mayor.
Marcello Lotti, general manager of KSO responded. "We are honoured to bring WTCC to Japan, as this was one of our priority targets since when we revived the championship in 2005. A Japanese event is nearly an obligation for a championship like ours, whose racing cars are closely derived from those on sale to the normal public. And when we speak about production cars we cannot forget that Japan, the home to many of the major manufacturers, is one of the world's greatest powers."
NICOLA LARINI'S RETURN TO OKAYAMA
Everything is ready at the Okayama International Circuit to host the penultimate round of the 2008 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The Japanese racetrack opens its doors again to an international event, thirteeen years after the 1995 Formula One Pacific Grand Prix. The venue was known at the time as Aida Tanaka International Circuit and hosted the Pacific GP twice in 1994 and 1995; Michael Schumacher won both races in the Benetton car.
Chevrolet's Nicola Larini is the only WTCC driver who took part in one of those Grand Prix. In 1994, called in by Ferrari to replace Jean Alesi who had injured his neck during a test, Larini qualified in a brilliant seventh position. However, his race did not last long as he was involved in a first lap collision between the Williams of Ayrton Senna (who was on pole) and Mika Hakkinen's McLaren.
"I could not avoid them and found myself pushed onto the gravel trap. It was a shame, because we had the potential to finish on the podium," recalls the Italian.
TEST SESSION FOR WTCC TOMORROW
The WTCC Race of Japan will get underway tomorrow afternoon, when the competitors will have the chance to make contact with the racetrack during a 30-minute test session.
The session, will take place from 16.00 to 16.30 local time (9.00 to 9.30 CET).
COUTO TO TEST WITH N.TECHNOLOGY
Macanese driver Andre Couto will have his first test in the N.technology Honda Accord car on Monday, October 29th, at the Okayama International Circuit.
The Italian team have booked the Japanese circuit on Monday morning after the race day, in order to give Couto the chance to get used to the car that he will drive in the next World Touring Car Championship meeting at Macau, on November 15th and 16th.
CORTHALS SIDELINED FOR THE FINAL MEETINGS
Independents' Trophy contender Pierre-Yves Corthals has been forced to miss the championship's two final meetings in Okayama and Macau.
Corthals is currently third in the points, 36 behind the leader Sergio Hernandez; a gap that, with 60 points still at stake (as double points are awarded in the two final rounds at Macau), was keeping the title within his reach.
However, budget reasons have forced SEAT Belgium and the Exagon Engineering team to end their season prematurely, depriving Corthals - who has claimed four victories during the season - of the chance to win the Trophy.