Zandvoort replaces Puebla
The FIA World Touring Car Championship event in Puebla, Mexico, has been withdrawn from the 2007 calendar and replaced with an event at Zandvoort, Netherlands, on May 6.
On October 18, 2006, the World Motor Sport Council set a deadline of December 31 for the completion of remedial works at the Puebla track and for an FIA circuit safety inspection to be undertaken. The requirements of this deadline have not been met by the organisers of the event.
The FIA hopes that these requirements will be fulfilled in future and that the event may be considered for inclusion in the 2008 WTCC calendar.
THOMPSON BACK TO ALFA ROMEO
James Thompson will rejoin Alfa Romeo for the 2007 FIA WTCC season. The Briton raced with the Italian Manufacturer in the 2005 WTCC after making some guest appearances for them in the 2003 and 2004 European Touring Car Championship. Last year Thompson raced for SEAT Sport and was classified 8th in the drivers' championship. "This is a great move for me," said Thompson. "I've always worked well with N.Technology and the Alfa Romeo is a beautiful car."
Team boss Mauro Sipsz commented: "In the past James proved to be at the same level of his high-rated team mates like Giovanardi and Tarquini. Therefore as soon as he became available, we snatched him up. It's great to have him back in the family." The team are yet to announce who will drive their second Alfa Romeo 156 in 2007.
RANGONI TO STAY WITH PROTEAM
Proteam Motorsport and Luca Rangoni will continue together in the FIA WTCC. The team owned by Valmiro Presenzini and the driver from Bologna signed the agreement for the 2007 season last week. "We are quite happy, because having Luca in the team again gives us a lot of expectations for the Independents' Trophy," commented team manager Samuel Francalanci.
In 2006 Rangoni managed to obtain two overall podium results (2nd and 3rd in Valencia) and eventually classified second in the Independents' Trophy, behind Tom Coronel and ahead of his own team-mate Stefano D'Aste.
Rangoni will drive a brand new 2007 BMW 320si, while his identical car from last year will be updated to 2007 specs. "We are currently in negotiations with a number of drivers for it. On top of our wish list is Ryan Sharp," unveiled Francalanci. In 2006 Sharp starred at the wheel of a JAS Motorsport Honda Accord during the first half of the WTCC season and then claimed the FIA European Touring Car Cup at Estoril in a GR Asia SEAT Leon.
D'ASTE TESTED FOR WIECHERS-SPORT
Germany based Wiechers-Sport team tested their new BMW 320si, for the first time at Oschersleben. The car was driven by Stefano D'Aste, who completed a great deal of laps in both, wet and dry conditions; outside temperature remained cold, around 4 C. "We found a very good rain set-up, and Stefano managed to clock some fast laps that were very good compared to those set during last year's race," team manager Dominik Greiner unveiled.
"We were very impressed by him. Driving in the low 1:35s in the wet, the first time he was driving the new BMW, was a great performance," said team principal Dieter Wiechers.
The 32-year old Italian, who took part in last year's WTCC with a BMW 320i run by Proteam Motorsport, and the German team are negotiating to join forces for the 2007 season.
"I'm happy with the test. The car is really fast and the whole team is very professional. We have done a good job together and I immediately found a good feeling with them," commented D'Aste.