THREE MONTHS TO THE NEW SEASON
The FIA World Touring Car Championship is facing a winter break that will last little more than three months.
In only 93 days from now, the series that ended on November 22nd in Macau, will resume in Brazil for its sixth season.
The Autodromo Internacional de Curitiba will host the opening event. The first two of the 24 races that will award the 2010 World titles will be held on March 7th, but the season will begin two days earlier, with the usual 30-minute test session on Friday afternoon.
This will mark the fifth visit paid by WTCC to the 3.7km racetrack that has become a traditional stop since 2006.
Actually the season will start much earlier for the teams and the championship's organisation, as cars and parts will be shipped to Brazil in the early days of February.
PRIAULX AND McGUINNESS SWAP HELMETS
Triple world touring car champion, Andy Priaulx, and Isle of Man TT superstar, John McGuinness, can usually be found in Macau watching each others' races. Therefore this year they decided it was time for their mutual admiration to go one step further and before leaving China swapped racing helmets.
Guernsey's Priaulx and Morecambe Bay's McGuinness have both won on the notorious street track, and have become firm friends over the years. This year it was the 12th time Honda rider McGuinness had raced there, while for BMW Team UK's Priaulx it was his sixth touring car appearance, but prior to that he had raced there in Formula 3.
After the swap Priaulx said: "I have the utmost respect for the bikers round this track. I know how dangerous it is in a car, so can only imagine what it is like on a 1000cc bike. John and myself have become friends over the years and so it just seemed natural that we should swap our helmets - I think this is more sensible than our racing machines! I am delighted to now own one of his helmets and this will have pride of place in my Guernsey home."
D'ASTE WINS GT CLASS AT MONZA
Stefano D'Aste made up for the disappointment of missing the WTCC final round in Macau by winning the GT category in the Monza International Rally last Sunday.
D'Aste, who was sidelined at Macau after James Thompson crashed into his stationary car during the qualifying session, took part in the rally having his sister Linda as co-driver. The pair dominated their opponents at the wheel of a Lotus Exige 260 Cup and obtained an outstanding tenth position overall.
D'Aste was especially competitive in the wet and clocked an impressive fifth fastest time in the last stage of the event, amid WRC cars.
COUNTDOWN: - 93 DAYS to the 2010 FIA WTCC Race of Brazil - 6th / 7th March, in Curitiba