Pre-season newsletter 2006-02-17

INTENSIVE TESTING IN VIEW OF THE NEW SEASON The FIA World Touring Car Championship teams are committed to intensive testing programmes in view of the new season that will start at Monza on April 1 and 2. More testing will be done in the ...

INTENSIVE TESTING IN VIEW OF THE NEW SEASON

The FIA World Touring Car Championship teams are committed to intensive testing programmes in view of the new season that will start at Monza on April 1 and 2. More testing will be done in the forthcoming days:
21/22 February at Brands Hatch: Chevrolet
22/23 February at Monza: BMW Team Germany and BMW Team Italy-Spain
27/28 February at Albacete: SEAT Sport and Chevrolet

ALFA ROMEO AND BMW AT VALLELUNGA

Vallelunga hosted Alfa Romeo and BMW teams for a three-day test. Alfa Romeo Racing, BMW Team Germany and BMW Team Italy-Spain covered a great deal of laps around the circuit located near to Rome.

The Alfa Romeo team ran a single 156 car. Brazilian youngster Augusto Farfus who had claimed his first WTCC victory in Macau on last November took the wheel in the first two days and was then replaced by Gianni Morbidelli on the third one. The former F1 Italian driver is currently negotiating with Alfa Romeo to join the team in the 2006 FIA WTCC campaign.

BMW Team Germany and BMW Team Italy-Spain tested two brand new 320is E90 machines each. Dirk and Jorg Muller were driving the German team's cars, with the former focusing on suspension and aerodynamics whereas the latter was charged to test the 4-cylinder engine's latest step.

"It looks like the new car has a lot of potential. It is more precise compared to last year's model. It is quite an interesting challenge for us, because we are developing the WTCC version from scratch, whereas the S2000 E46 car was developed starting from the Super Production version," said Jorg.

BMW Team Italy-Spain lined-up Alessandro Zanardi in their first car and alternated two young Spaniards Marcel Costa and Ander Vilariño in the second one. During the next days the team will choose Zanardi's new team-mate from the two of them.

SEAT SPORT AT BARCELONA

SEAT Sport team tested for two days at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelò. Three SEAT Leon cars were driven by Peter Terting, James Thompson and Rickard Rydell on the first day, while Jordi Gene, Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini took over on day 2. The team spent both days working on engine, suspension and aerodynamics, also giving the three new drivers (Thompson, Muller and Tarquini) the chance to complete as many laps as possible and get familiar with the car and the team.

Jordi Gene said: "Most of the work focused on the tyres, which are probably the greatest change from last year. Therefore we have been working hard on suspension and shock absorbers."

Gabriele Tarquini was pleased with the two-days: "This has been my first real test, for both the track and the laps I put in. I like the car because it responds to the changes. It is very good in the slow bends, although we have to improve in the fast ones."

LARINI SHAKES RACING CAR DOWN

Chevrolet WTCC driver Nicola Larini shook his new Lacetti car down at Millbrook test track in England.

"It was a positive test as not a single problem spoiled it. Since we started the engine everything ran smoothly. I am very pleased that the driving seat has been moved to the left side of the car, while last year it was on the right. It's not only because my natural driving position is on the left, but also because we have a better view from inside the cockpit," the Italian driver said, adding.

"We have also done some aerodynamic tests, and I'm looking forward to drive the car again next week in Brands Hatch and a few days later at Albacete where we will have an important benchmark in the SEAT Sport team."

MORE HONOURS FOR ANDY PRIAULX

2005 FIA World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx was awarded with the BARC Gold Star Award. BARC President, the Earl of March, presented the award, a solid gold medallion in recognition of Andy's 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship title. "The past couple of years have been fantastic for me both on and off the track. It was great to win the back to back championships and receiving such awards makes it extra special. I am very proud and can only thank all the members of the BARC for this particular honour," said Andy.

Also, for the second successive year Priaulx was named the Total Oil CI Sports Personality of the Year. This award is voted for by fans from all the Channel Islands so is even more prestigious.

Andy, who is proud of coming from the Channel Islands, said: "It's great to win this as it was not just Guernsey residents who voted. There are an awful lot of talented sportsmen and women from the islands and when I see what they have achieved I feel it is a shame that there is just one winner. However, it really is an honour to be recognised by all the Channel Islands."

-wtcc-

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