PRIAULX CROWNED WORLD CHAMPION BY THE FIA
Andy Priaulx has been officially titled 2006 FIA World Touring Car Champion, during the traditional FIA prize giving gala last night in Monaco. In the sumptuous setting of the Sporting d'Ete's Salle des Etoiles, the FIA honoured all its champions. In a progression from Karting Racing to Formula 1, the FIA World Touring Car Championship's prize giving took place between those of the FIA GT and the World Rally Championship. On the stage, where the BMW Team UK winning car was exhibited, the first three drivers classified Andy Priaulx, Jorg Muller and Augusto Farfus received their trophies, while BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen collected the Manufacturers' champion trophy. "It's lovely to be back. To win two in a row is very special but in fact it is three in a row with the 2004 European Touring Car title as well. I'm enjoying this very much. It does get harder because everybody is after you and I think this year is a vintage year with so many drivers up for the title going into the last race," Priaulx said.
WTCC DRIVERS IN THE RACE OF CHAMPIONS
Andy Priaulx and Yvan Muller will represent WTCC at the Race of Champions that will be held at Paris-St. Denis' Stade de France on December 16th; the third edition of the event, which gathers drivers from every area of motorsport.
Two different titles will be awarded: the "Champion of Champions" (won by Heikki Kovalainen in 2004 and Sebastien Loeb in 2005) and the "Nations Cup" (won by France in 2004 and Scandinavia in 2005). Priaulx will represent England, alongside Formula One race winner Jenson Button, while Muller will be paired in the French team with triple WRC champion Loeb. Among the other drivers who will take part in the event are Formula One star David Coulthard, 7-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, WRC aces Colin McRae and Marcus Gronholm and DTM multi-champion Bernd Schneider.
"The chance to take part in the ROC was something I jumped at as I have watched it in the past and reckoned it would be a lot of fun," said Priaulx. "I have already raced with my national flag on the car in the FIA WTCC, so to be able to represent England alongside Jenson Button was an opportunity I just couldn't turn down. I know I shall be pitted against many motor racing heroes, but this gives me a great opportunity in a totally different kind of motor sport environment."
PRIAULX WINS THE GREGOR GRANT AWARD
Andy Priaulx was awarded with a Gregor Grant Trophy at the Autosport Awards last Sunday in London. The Briton was presented with his award by Jean Alesi and Eddie Jordan. Looking back on his success, which earned him an Autosport front cover as the 'Schumacher of touring cars', Priaulx said: "That meant a lot to me - firstly for Autosport to give me a front cover especially in touring cars. But to be the Schumacher of touring cars is special. If I can't be in F1, then I wanted to be the Schumacher in whatever I could do. You are only as good as your weakest link in motorsport, so this is down to a lot of good people."
The Gregor Grant Trophy - named after Autosport's founding editor - is given in recognition of outstanding achievement in motor sport. In the two previous years it was awarded to multiple rally world champion Carlos Sainz and to Bernie Ecclestone.
BOLOGNA MOTOR SHOW: ZANARDI'S HOME RACE
Tomorrow Bologna's motor sport fans will have the privilege to cheer for their home boy Alessandro Zanardi during the Euroturismo trophy that will be held during the Bologna Motor Show. Zanardi and his BMW 320si will face a bunch of WTCC drivers and famous bike riders in a pursuit tournament along a track that winds among the pavilions of the fair district. Gabriele Tarquini, freshly crowned Italian Superturismo champion Roberto Colciago and Moto GP ace Luca Capirossi, will be all at the wheel of SEAT Leon cars; WTCC vice-champion Jorg Muller will be the other BMW representative, while Augusto Farfus will drive the N.technology Alfa Romeo 156, with which he classified third in the WTCC, for the last time before moving to BMW Team Germany for the next season. The field will be completed by Nicola Larini's Chevrolet Lacetti and by a DB Motorsport Alfa Romeo 156 in the hands of another Moto GP celebrity: Marco Melandri.
WIECHERS-SPORT PRESENT NEW BMW IN ESSEN
German WTCC independent team Wiechers-Sport have presented their new BMW car at the Essen Motor Show; exhibited in the Hall 12, among the Wiechers-built roll cages and bars.
At least one BMW 320si will be campaigned by the team during the next World Touring Car Championship season; the name of the driver still has to be unveiled. In the meantime, the team have opened negotiations with a number of other drivers in order to race a second car.
OSCHERSLEBEN MOVED ONE WEEK FORWARD
Today in Monaco, the FIA World Motor Sport Council confirmed the 2007 FIA World Touring Car Championship's calendar, with only one change.
The German event at the Oschersleben Motorsport Arena has been moved one week forward, from the 2nd of September to the 26th of August.
<pre> 2007 FIA World Touring Car Championship 11 March Brazil Curitiba ** 15 April Mexico Puebla ** 20 May Spain Valencia 3 June France Pau * 17 June Czech Republic Brno 8 July Portugal Porto * 29 July Turkey Istanbul 26 August Germany Oschersleben 23 September Great Britain Brands Hatch 7 October Italy Monza 18 November Macau Macau
* Pending the homologation of the circuit ** Pending the homologation of the circuit prior to 31 December 2006