ROUTE TO: BRNO, CZECH REPUBLIC The 9th and 10th rounds of the FIA WTCC will take place next week in the Czech Republic, at Brno's Masaryk Circuit. This is a traditional meeting for the championship, as Brno hosted the European Touring Car ...
ROUTE TO: BRNO, CZECH REPUBLIC
The 9th and 10th rounds of the FIA WTCC will take place next week in the Czech Republic, at Brno's Masaryk Circuit.
This is a traditional meeting for the championship, as Brno hosted the European Touring Car Championship from 2002 to 2004, and then the World Touring Car Championship from 2006. BMW notched up seven victories out of the ten races; only Alfa Romeo (Fabrizio Giovanardi's double win in 2002) and Chevrolet (Robert Huff won Race 2 in 2006) have managed to break the German cars' supremacy.
The 2007 meeting saw Felix Porteiro (it was the young Spaniard's maiden WTCC success) and Jorg Muller sharing the glory with a win apiece. Since last year the circuit has been completely resurfaced during the winter, which may result in fastest lap times.
30,000 WITNESSED BMW'S TRIUMPH IN PAU
The rain did not discourage French spectators; according to Jean-Paul Pasquet, president of the ASAC Basco Bearnais, a crowd of 30,000 attended the 68th Grand Prix de Pau.
At the French meeting Augusto Farfus and Andy Priaulx claimed two lights-to-flag wins, putting an end to BMW's abstinence that began after last year's second race in Macau.
The podium of Sunday's Race 2, filled by Priaulx (BMW), Nicola Larini (Chevrolet) and Rickard Rydell (SEAT), was evidence of how competitive the championship is. Statistics say it all: eight different drivers, representing three different manufacturers, have won the eight rounds held so far.
SEAT Sport men retain the top spots in the point table: Gabriele Tarquini leads with 45 points, from team-mates Yvan Muller and Rydell who have gaps of 7 and 8 points respectively. However, Priaulx moved up to fourth, ahead of Robert Huff, 12 points behind the leader.
SAME BALLAST FOR PRIAULX AND MULLER
Andy Priaulx (who won his first race of the season in Pau) and Yvan Muller (who obtained a second and a seventh place in France) will have their cars laden by the same success ballast in Brno: 58 kg. Current championship leader Gabriele Tarquini will be given only three kilos less.
Rickard Rydell, third in the drivers' championship, will carry 47 extra kilos, one more than Augusto Farfus who also claimed one victory last week in Pau.
The heavviest Chevrolet cars will be Nicola Larini's and Robert Huff's with 39 and 37 kg of success ballast respectively. The lightest top drivers will be Jorg Muller (+20), Alain Menu (+14) and Tiago Monteiro (+12).
A total of eighteen drivers will have success ballast in Brno, including the race-by-race entries Alexander Lvov, Andrey Smetsky and Michal Matejovský who will receive 30 kilos according to article 79 c) of the Sporting Regulations.
Success ballast - Czech Republic
58 kg A. Priaulx, Y. Muller
55 kg G. Tarquini
47 kg R. Rydell
46 kg A. Farfus
39 kg N. Larini
37 kg R. Huff
30 kg J. Gene, A. Lvov, A. Smetsky, M. Matejovský
20 kg J. Muller
14 kg A. Menu
12 kg T. Monteiro
10 kg T. Coronel
9 kg F. Porteiro
1 kg J. Thompson, O. Tielemans
CZECH DRIVER IN HOME WTCC RACE
Michal Matejovský will join the WTCC for his home event at Brno. The young Czech driver will be at the wheel of SUNRED's second SEAT Leon TFSI car alongside Tom Coronel, entered under the name of SUNRED-BRT.
Matejovský, 23-year old from Hradec Kralove, is currently competing in the SEAT Eurocup; after making his mark in karting when he achieved good results in the national one-make trophies: the Skoda Octavia Cup and the BMW 1 Challenge.
In 2007 he took part in the FIA European Touring Car Cup at Adria, driving a Super 2000 Alfa Romeo 156.
OFFICIAL TEST ON THURSDAY
The WTCC competitors will hit the Brno track on Thursday, during an official test organised by the championship promoter KSO.
The test day will be split into two sessions from 9.00 to 13.00 and from 14.00 to 18.00.
During the lunch break a press conference will be held at the track to present the event to the local media.
FORMER FIA CHAMPION REMEMBERED
Late Czech driver Zdenek Voitech will be honoured during the WTCC event with an invitation race.
The 1st Touring Car Cup - Zdenek Voitech Memorial, reserved for saloon cars, is made up of two 11-lap races that will close the programme on Saturday and Sunday.
Voitech was part of the Skoda team that won the 1981 FIA European Touring Car Championship Manufacturers' title and one year later claimed the Drivers' crown in a BMW 328i; he died of cancer in 1998 at the age of 47.
Both his sons Tomas and Stepan followed his footprints into motor sport competition: Stepan races in the FIA GT Championship, while a tragic twist of fate claimed Tomas' life with a heart attack in 2005 just before the start of a rally, he was only 32.
EUROSPORT COVERAGE FROM BRNO
Saturday, 14th: Qualifying Eurosport 2, 22.00/22.30
Race 1 - LIVE Eurosport International, 12.00/13.00
Race 2 - LIVE Eurosport International, 15.15/16.15
Times are CET (Central European Time)