Okayama: Series preview

ONCE UPON A TIME. IN JAPAN The penultimate meeting of the 2009 FIA WTCC will take place on October 26th at the Okayama International Circuit in Japan. Although this is the first time the championship goes to Japan, this event won't be the ...

ONCE UPON A TIME. IN JAPAN

The penultimate meeting of the 2009 FIA WTCC will take place on October 26th at the Okayama International Circuit in Japan. Although this is the first time the championship goes to Japan, this event won't be the first ever for the FIA Touring Cars in the country of the rising sun.

Twenty-one years ago, on November 15th, 1987, the first edition of the World Touring Car Championship (and also the last one before the series was revived in 2005) came to a dramatic end at Fuji Speedway.

A few days after their exclusion from the previous round at Bathurst, Australia, due to technical infringements, Klaus Ludwig and Klaus Niedzwiedz drove their Eggenberger Ford Sierra RS500 to victory in the Inter Tec 500km. However, the world championship went to Roberto Ravaglia (today principal of BMW Team Italy-Spain) at the wheel of a Schnitzer Motorsport BMW M3. Together with fellow Italian countryman Emanuele Pirro, Ravaglia was classified third overall and won Divison 2, scoring the points he needed to clinch the title.

In 1996, the FIA International Touring Car Championship also visited Japan, ending its only season before being cancelled at Suzuka; Mercedes drivers Dario Franchitti and Bernd Schneider took one win apiece.

MAXIMUM BALLAST FOR SEAT MEN

Three SEAT Sport drivers will carry the maximum 70kg success ballast in the next race meeting at Okayama: Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini, who shared victory at Monza and are first and second in the Drivers' Championship, plus Jordi Gene.

Four other drivers have success ballast in the 60kg range, from the 68 of Nicola Larini to the 62 of Rickard Rydell, with Andy Priaulx and Robert Huff at 66 and 64 respectively.

Among the top drivers, N.technology's James Thompson went down from 49 to 19 extra kilos after Monza's unsuccessful weekend.

A total of twenty-four drivers will have success ballast in Okayama.

Success ballast - Okayama

70 kg Y. Muller, G. Tarquini, J. Gene
68 kg N. Larini
66 kg A. Priaulx
64 kg R. Huff
62 kg R. Rydell
52 kg J. Muller
50 kg F. Porteiro
47 kg A. Farfus, T. Monteiro
44 kg A. Menu
32 kg A. Zanardi
30 kg K. Ladygin, M. Orido, Y. Taniguchi, M. Kano, M. Choo, M. Marsh, N. Michelisz
24 kg T. Coronel
19 kg J. Thompson
3 kg S. Hernandez
2 kg S. D'Aste

CHEVROLET TEST 2009 WTCC CAR

The Chevrolet WTCC team started testing their 2009 WTCC car: the new Chevrolet Cruze; they will continue testing throughout the remainder of the current season and the coming winter.

The Chevrolet Cruze will make its maiden appearance on March 8th, 2009 at Curitiba, Brazil, in the opening round of the 2009 WTCC.

"The new Cruze will be the next milestone in Chevrolet Europe's motor sporting history. So far, we have achieved every goal we set in 2005, step by step: challenge the competition, score points, prove we can win and then become regular frontrunners against competition with an established motorsporting resume. With the Cruze, we will put the bar even higher and firmly aim at winning the World Championship," said Chevrolet Europe Motorsport Director Eric N

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Dario Franchitti , Bernd Schneider , Klaus Ludwig , Yvan Muller , James Thompson , Rickard Rydell , Gabriele Tarquini , Jordi Gene , Nicola Larini , Roberto Ravaglia