Valencia: Pre-race notes

RACING DRIVERS GO TO UNIVERSITY Yesterday the FIA WTCC introduced itself to Spain ahead of the championship's penultimate event which is taking place at Valencia's Circuito Ricardo Tormo this weekend. The Polytechnic University of Valencia...

RACING DRIVERS GO TO UNIVERSITY

Yesterday the FIA WTCC introduced itself to Spain ahead of the championship's penultimate event which is taking place at Valencia's Circuito Ricardo Tormo this weekend. The Polytechnic University of Valencia hosted a press conference in which Marcello Lotti, General Manager of championship promoter KSO and David Serra, Sports Councillor for the Community of Valencia addressed the audience. After the presentation, Jordi Gene drove his SEAT Leon back and forth on the campus in a few demonstration runs, which proved very popular with the large crowd. Gene was then joined by other drivers for a busy autograph session.

SEAT WORKED HARD TO PREPARE FOR HOME RACE

The forthcoming weekend is an important one for SEAT Sport. Not only is it their home race, it is also the first time that all three of the works drivers will be competing in the new Leon. In preparation for this, the team spent Wednesday testing in Calafat before moving to Barcelona the day after. Team Manager, Antonio Rodriguez commented "The Leons are working well. The only major difference between the Toledo and the new car is that the Leon's aerodynamics are not as good. This is obviously a disadvantage but I'm sure we can overcome it. We have a lot of guests this weekend and everyone will be working hard to put on a good SEAT show."

POLO VILLAAMIL TO DRIVE FOR GR ASIA

GR Asia has announced that Polo Villaamil will drive the second of their SEAT Toledo Cupra cars this weekend. Villaamil finalised a deal with the team late this afternoon and will jump straight into the car tomorrow having never competed in touring cars. "I am feeling all sorts of emotions at the moment," the 25 year old Spaniard from Madrid commented. "It will be my first front wheel drive but I am told it is an easy car to adapt to and I hope to get the best out of it. I would be very happy if I could be up to the standard of my team-mate Tom (Coronel) because he is very used to the car. I really don't know what to expect but I am happy to be here."

TOURING CAR BUREAU'S LATEST DECISIONS

Front-wheel drive cars are back to their original minimum weight (1110 kg + 30 for use of sequential gearbox) as fixed in the Sporting Regulations. The 10 kg bonus that was granted to them in Oschersleben and Istanbul was not repeated. However the Touring Car Bureau decided to grant a 10-kg reduction for the hatch-back cars: Ford Focus and the new SEAT Leon.

MAN OF THE WEEK: ANTONIO GARCÍA

Antonio Garcia is 25 years old and races alongside Alessandro Zanardi for BMW Team Italy-Spain. Valencia is his home race so we spoke to him about how his season has been and what he hopes the Circuito Ricardo Tormo will bring.

You have come close to victory but it hasn't actually happened, do you think Valencia could be the place for your first win? "I hope more than I think. I like the track, it is quite interesting but in the past BMW have not performed particularly well there. However, last year Imola was difficult for us and this year we were much more competitive. It would be great if the same thing happened at Valencia."

You're currently 7th in the Championship, would you class this as a successful season? "Overall it hasn't been a bad season and I have been competitive at many tracks. It is disappointing that I have been involved in accidents though. The second races of Spa and Istanbul were particularly bad because that is six points lost and if I had those points I would fighting among the top."

What was the team atmosphere like after Alessandro Zanardi's win in Oschersleben? "That was such a great thing for the team. We had achieved 2nd places but when Alex got the opportunity of pole he didn't let it go and he got a great win. For the team, for me, for BMW, it was a really excellent moment."

FLASH NEWS

MY RIGHT FOOT: Carl Rosenblad of Crawford Racing is unsure of whether he will be able to take part in the championship this weekend. The Swede cut his right foot badly with an axe while chopping wood in his garden and as a result he is finding very difficult to brake.

THEY SAID: QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Young Spaniard Marc Carol, commenting on his debut in the World Championship: "I'm really happy to have this opportunity with a well respected team such as SEAT Sport. Of course, I want to learn as much as possible but above all I am here to enjoy the entire experience."

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Antonio Garcia , Carl Rosenblad , Jordi Gene , Marcello Lotti