Spa: Thursday test day notes

JÖRG MÜLLER TOPS TESTING, ZANARDI ROLLS With his last lap of 2:34.055, Jörg Müller emerged as the fastest in the extra testing session authorized by the FIA to ensure there were no problems with the cars following the long journey back to ...

JÖRG MÜLLER TOPS TESTING, ZANARDI ROLLS

With his last lap of 2:34.055, Jörg Müller emerged as the fastest in the extra testing session authorized by the FIA to ensure there were no problems with the cars following the long journey back to Europe from Mexico.

Priaulx also had his best time on the final lap, he was 5th fastest while fellow BMW driver, Dirk Müller took third spot. The three BMW 320i drivers were divided by the Alfa Romeo cars of Farfus and Tarquini in 2nd and 4th spots respectively. Farfus had a spell at the top but finished with a best time just 0.387 seconds behind Jörg.. Gené was the quickest of the SEAT cars with the sixth fastest lap and Larini (13th) headed the Chevrolet team.

Ayari and his Peugeot had their first taste of the FIA WTCC, cautiously completing seven laps, while Michael Funke did not take part in the session, his Ford Focus stopped by an engine problem. D'Aste was 11th fastest overall with a lap in 2:36.632 making him the quickest driver in the Independents' Trophy.

The session was scheduled to be 30 minutes long, however after Zanardi rolled his car at Pouhon, red flags were issued and five minutes were lost. The Italian driver, who was uninjured, exited the car unaided: "I went too wide and the car skid sideways; hit the tyre barrier and rolled. It is very badly damaged, and we are not sure it is repairable."

TOURING CAR BUREAU'S LATEST DECISIONS

The Touring Car Bureau has modified the minimum weight of the front-wheel drive cars, previously it had been reduced by 20 kg from the third event of the season in Silverstone. For the meeting in Spa, the front-wheel drive cars will only benefit from a reduction of 10 kg on their minimum weight of 1140 kg, driver included.

However, the Bureau has also granted an extra 10 kg reduction to the Ford Focus and the Chevrolet Lacetti cars, confirming what had already been decided in the eve of the latest meeting in Puebla; meaning they have a total minimum weight reduction of 20 kg.

PEUGEOT TEAM AIMING FOR A TOP-TEN RESULT

Jean-Michael Pialot, Team Coordinator of Peugeot Sport Denmark is confident the Peugeot 407 driven by Soheil Ayari can make an impact on the FIA WTCC field at Spa this weekend.

Despite rain hindering the test session in Magny-Cours earlier this month, Pialot believes they have a good enough car and the racing knowledge to be among the top ten. He commented, "I think we should be competing with the works teams as we have had great backing from Peugeot in Denmark, however, the FIA WTCC is notoriously competitive so it is going to be a learning experience for us here at Spa."

FIA WTCC DRIVERS JOINED FIA GT COLLEAGUES IN SPA

FIA World Touring Car Championship drivers took part in the traditional parade organised in the town centre of Spa by the promoter of the 24 Hours of Francorchamps, together with their fellow FIA GT colleagues.

Five touring cars, representing Alfa Romeo, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford and SEAT, where exhibited alongside the grand touring cars in the garden in front of the Casino square, where the drivers met the public in a crowded autograph session.

MAN OF THE WEEK: MARC HENNERICI

23 year old Marc Hennerici of Wiechers-Sport has led the Independents Trophy from the start of the season at the wheel of his BMW 320i car. But with Tom Coronel closing the gap, how does Marc feel about the next half of the season?

What do you expect from Spa? "I come from near the Nürburgring and the make up of the Spa track is similar so in a way it is my home race. It's my dream to win there."

You know the tracks of Spa and Oschersleben, how much of an advantage will that be? "I didn't know the five tracks we have raced on and yet I am leading. Therefore because now we go to places I know and therefore I expect a lot from those two events."

Now Tom Coronel is challenging you for the Championship, how confident are you of victory? "I'm very optimistic. However, Tom is a tough competitor. My aim is to win the Independent Trophy and all the team are working hard to make it happen."

FLASH NEWS

MÄKELA: Valle Mäkelä is back at the wheel of the second GR Asia SEAT Toledo car, after he had been replaced by Carlos Mastretta in Imola and Puebla. Last weekend the young Finn managed to win a race of the national Legends series in Seinäjoki.

THEY SAID: QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Paul Ridgway, Team Manager GR Asia: "I have a race of my own this weekend a race against time. As soon as the pit lane closes for the start of the second race, I have to catch a private plane home because my daughter is getting married in Shropshire. I am giving her away so being late isn't an option. I just hope it is not `mission impossible."

<pre> FIA WTCC TIMETABLE SPA, 29th and 30th July

Friday    09.00 09.30 Free practice       Saturday        08.35 08.50 Warm-up
          11.30 12.00 Free practice                       12.10       Race 1
          15.30 16.00 Qualifying                          13.20       Race 2

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Dirk Müller , Tom Coronel , Jorg Muller , Soheil Ayari , Valle Makela , Marc Hennerici , Michael Funke , Carlos Mastretta