Pre-season newsletter 2008-02-01

HONDA READY TO TEST IN VALENCIA N.Technology will take part in the 2008 FIA World Touring Car Championship with a Honda Accord Euro R, designed and built by JAS Motorsport and driven by James Thompson who classified third in the 2007 FIA WTCC....

HONDA READY TO TEST IN VALENCIA

N.Technology will take part in the 2008 FIA World Touring Car Championship with a Honda Accord Euro R, designed and built by JAS Motorsport and driven by James Thompson who classified third in the 2007 FIA WTCC. The team will start their test programme next week in Valencia.

"It's an exciting project," said N.Technology chief Mauro Sipsz. "I have always had a lot of respect for JAS as competitors and I'm now looking forward to working together on this programme."

JAS Motorsport, Honda's official partner for customer support in competition, will be responsible for the design and building of the car as well as its continued development. N.Technology will run the racing programme.

"Finally we have the chance to be in the FIA WTCC with a winning car and a winning driver," added Alessandro Mariani, JAS Managing Director. "This programme is a great opportunity for JAS to show how good our car is."

James Thompson commented: "I have always said how good the N.Technology team is. The whole outfit works very well together; it feels like a family. I was offered other drives for next year but what I wanted most was to stay, which I am with a three year contract. I'm lucky to have also worked with JAS and Honda in the past, so knowing what we achieved this year, who knows what we can do next season with a partnership like this one!"

So far the best result achieved by a Honda car in the FIA WTCC was third position in the 2006 Race of Mexico, at Puebla, claimed by Ryan Sharp in a JAS Motorsport Accord Euro R.

CORONEL IN A SUNRED-RUN SEAT

For the fourth consecutive year Dutch driver Tom Coronel will be racing a SEAT in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. With the backing of the Dutch SEAT importer, Pon Car, Coronel will drive a Leon run by the Spanish team SUNRED. The team has close links to SEAT Sport and are based nearby SEAT's factory in Martorell.

"I am delighted that, thanks to the Dutch SEAT organisation, I am able to race again in the WTCC this year," said Tom Coronel. "For me, this is the best championship around and this year I have the best package I have ever had."

After three successful seasons with the GR Asia team, with which Coronel claimed the 2006 Independents' Trophy title, he has now switched to SUNRED and he is optimistic about his chances for the coming season: "First of all because I will be taking part in the official FIA test sessions this season, which wasn't the case in the previous years. Then I see extra opportunities because recent changes in the technical regulations enhance the competitiveness of the petrol-powered Leon car. SEAT will also continue to develop the petrol engine, so it looks quite promising!"

TIELEMANS JOINS WIECHERS-SPORT

The 23-year old Dutchman Olivier Tielemans will drive a BMW 320si car for the Germany-based Wiechers-Sport team in the 2008 FIA World Touring Car Championship.

Team owner Dieter Wiechers, commented: "We have chosen Olivier because of his personality and his talent. We can see that he is a potential winner."

Wiechers-Sport twice claimed the FIA WTCC Independents' Trophy with Marc Hennerici in 2005 and Stefano D'Aste in 2007. During the winter break they stripped and rebuilt the ex-D'Aste car. Tielemans will drive it in Curitiba and Puebla before switching to a brand new BMW from Valencia onwards.

In a few days the team will conduct a test session and immediately afterwards the car will be sent to Antwerp, from where it will be shipped to Brazil.

Tielemans, who raced for the Alfa Romeo N.technology team last year, said: "I'm looking forward to the next season. I learned a lot last year from my ex team-mate James Thompson and now I will try to benefit from that experience."

-credit: www.fiawtcc.com.

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Tom Coronel , James Thompson , Stefano D'Aste , Ryan Sharp , Olivier Tielemans