Puebla: Pre-race notes

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MIGUEL E. ABED CIRCUIT WAS INAUGURATED TODAY In view of the FIA World Touring Car Championship first non-European event of the season, which will take place on Sunday, 26th June, the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed of Puebla Amozoc was inaugurated...

MIGUEL E. ABED CIRCUIT WAS INAUGURATED TODAY

In view of the FIA World Touring Car Championship first non-European event of the season, which will take place on Sunday, 26th June, the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed of Puebla Amozoc was inaugurated today, before the Governor of the state of Puebla, a number of other personalities and a large group of media.

The Governor Mr Mario Marin Torres and the Secretary of Sports Mr Salomon Jauli arrived at the track at 1.00 PM; they were welcomed by Mr Julian Abed Jimenez, president of the Organising Committee, and by Jose and Julian Abed Rouanet, promoters of the FIA WTCC event. After a short visit to the circuit, that has been extensively rebuilt in the last eight months, the Governor cut the ribbon and delivered a short speech.

Immediately afterwards Gabriele Tarquini had the honour of completing the first lap at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo 147 road car: "The first impression was good. Maybe the track is a bit narrow, but this will be good for the show, because it should keep the cars packed during the races." Tarquini was then imitated by Antonio Garcia, Jordi Gene, Nicola Larini, Rickard Rydell, Peter Terting and local hero Carlos Mastretta.

CHEVROLET AIMING FOR POINTS IN MEXICO

The races in Puebla will mark the halfway point of the championship and are run on new territory for all the competitors, which might be beneficial for Chevrolet Racing team. "So far this year, all our competitors had the advantage of having been at the tracks before," Team Manager, Mark Busfield explained, "whereas we were always the new kids on the block. In Puebla everybody will have to start from a clean sheet, so maybe there we can make a difference as we have had to do so at all the previous tracks."

Since Imola the team has been testing in Snetterton with their test car: "Alain (Menu) drove the car for two days, optimizing the chassis," Busfield continued. "Working with dampers, springs and bars we've managed to make some very good progress and we have now firmly established the direction in which to go in the future."

For Nicola Larini, Puebla could spring another best result. "I'm quietly confident that we can build on the momentum from Imola," he said, having finished 11th in Italy. "In qualifying we should make it into the top 15, but in the races a top ten finish should be possible. Many of the cars are running with ballast now, so that could make a difference for us, so hopefully I can bring home the first driver's point of the year for Chevrolet."

GPS SYSTEM FOR THE NEW SEAT LEON CUPRA

Shortly after its unveiling at the Barcelona Motor Show, SEAT Sport's new Leon touring car has started testing at Jarama in view of its FIA World Touring Car Championship debut at Oschersleben, where it will be the most technically sophisticated racing car on the track. The Leon is packed with computer software that can record engine performance, braking forces, air flows, temperatures. The intelligent new Leon will also be able to tell the team exactly what the driver is doing thanks to a Global Positioning System (GPS). SEAT Sport's GPS system, which is currently being testing in the Toledo Cupra, shows the exact line taken by each driver; when he turns in, how much kerb he uses on the apex and the line on exit.

"This is not a standard GPS system, it's a high-frequency, high-accuracy system," explains Toni Cuquerella, SEAT Sport's chief engineer. "There is an antenna on the roof which receives the satellite signals and the information is collected as data. Sometimes we have problems when we go under a bridge or when it is cloudy, but it's amazingly accurate, to within 5 cms of the line the car has actually taken around the track. It's forbidden to use this system during qualifying and in a race, and it's forbidden to follow a car on the track with a live feed, so we have to download the data when the car is stopped. It's good, because when a driver explains to us what the car feels like to drive, we also have a picture of his lap to look at."

MAN OF THE WEEK: PETER TERTING

Peter Terting is just 21 years old, and this year is his first in a professional championship after being runner-up in the German SEAT Leon Supercopa. He has scored five points in the Drivers' Championship so far.

How is he finding life in the FIA WTCC? "The Championship is very competitive so I don't think I have done badly. Race by race I am taking steps forward and I have scored points, which is important."

What is it like driving for a top works team such as SEAT Sport? "It is fantastic. I always have the perfect car and a team of great people. Plus my team-mates always have valuable advice for me when I need it."

What is your aim for the rest of the season? "The podium. So far sixth position has been my best result but I have had some bad luck along the way. I know I can go faster."

FLASH NEWS

PUEBLA HOMOLOGATED: After the final inspections, the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed of Puebla-Amozoc has been homologated by the FIA as a level 4 racetrack.

END OF THE VOYAGE: At the end of a 15-day voyage, the cargo ship Campeche docked this morning in Veracruz, carrying the FIA WTCC cars and parts. The 23 containers are being prepared for the final part of the voyage, by truck. Cars and materials will be delivered at the racetrack in Amozoc on Sunday.

THEY SAID: QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Jordi Gene, commenting on the incident his team-mate Peter Terting had during a test at Jarama: "He went off on my oil and crashed into the barriers at a high speed; his car was catapulted into the air and from the GPS system data we could see that he went six metres into the air! So it's not only good for measuring a line through a corner, but also for measuring altitude!"

-fia-

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