Route To: Valencia, Spain
The 3rd and 4th rounds of the FIA WTCC will take place in Spain, at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo next week. This is the eighth consecutive visit of the World Championship to the Spanish stadium-like racetrack. This year the WTCC Race of Spain has been moved again to the beginning of the season, after being held in September in 2009 and 2010.
The 4km circuit does not seem to suit any particular car, as Manufacturers shared honours in the previous years. SEAT scored four victories on its home soil, just like Chevrolet that won both races in 2011 with Yvan Muller. BMW and Alfa Romeo won three times apiece.
Taking into account the potential they showed in Monza, claiming pole position and fighting with the Chevrolet Cruze cars for victory in Race 1, Gabriele Tarquini and his SEAT León seem able to try and score a first success for Lukoil Racing Team and SEAT Sport's new 1.6L turbo engine.
And we shouldn't forget a group of young Spaniards that will be worth watching: Pepe Oriola who drives a SEAT like Tarquini's and managed to chase the top drivers at Monza, Fernando Monje who faces his maiden WTCC appearance in a SEAT León TDi after dominating the FIA European Touring Car Cup opening rounds at Monza, and Isaac Tutumlu at the wheel of a Proteam Racing BMW 320 TC.
Eurosport Launches WTCC Season In Munich
Like every year Eurosport Events invited more than 250 guests, including partners, teams and media, to an exclusive season launch in Munich's "Upside East" roof garden.
Bernd Daubenmerkl, managing director of Eurosport Media delivered the opening speech: "These are tough times for car manufacturers and WTCC represents an excellent opportunity to invest in a cost effective motorsport programme that grants excellent returns in terms of media coverage and TV distribution. Which makes us a lot confident in the future."
Afterwards, championship promoter Marcello Lotti, Eric Nève of Chevrolet, Charles Ng of Liqui Moly Team Engstler and Dominik Greiner of Wiechers-Sport, took part in a round table on the status of the championship after the season's opening event at Monza.
"With 24 full season entries, four brands represented and two others - LADA and Honda - that will join, we are more than happy," Lotti said. "And now we may focus on the future developments of technical regulations. The FIA has created a working group that has the task to evaluate the introduction of environmental-friendly technologies - maybe a common hybrid system - modified suspension and a more aggressive look."
Eric Nève added: "Chevrolet's main goal is to retain the world titles, but we are also very much looking forward to race at Sonoma. Chevrolet is an American brand and a home race was one of our priorities for the WTCC programme. Finally we will be doing it and in style, because I believe that a Chevrolet vs Ford fight is the best present the championship could offer to the American motorsport fans!"