Team Petronas Syntium Opel has announced that itâ€™s Bankfin Touring Car Championship driver Shaun Watson-Smith will remain with the team for the 2001 season. A stalwart of the Opel Motorsport team, 2001 will be Watson-Smithâ€™s eighth year...
Team Petronas Syntium Opel has announced that it’s Bankfin Touring Car Championship driver Shaun Watson-Smith will remain with the team for the 2001 season.
A stalwart of the Opel Motorsport team, 2001 will be Watson-Smith’s eighth year as a works member of the team. He spent five years as a works Group N driver and will now enter his third year as a touring car driver.
"Next year will be my eighth year as part of the Opel works team, so it is like family to me," said Watson-Smith. "We all get on well together, and the result of that harmony is reflected in the performance of the cars on the track. The guys all pull together and it’s amazing what the team has achieved considering that we started our current touring car programme two years after our opposition did.
"We have been extremely competitive this year, and I am still in with a good chance of winning the championship, so there is no reason for me to even consider leaving the team. Opel Motorsport has shown that it is the only team capable of taking the fight to the previously dominant Nissan team, and we have shown in recent races that we are a step ahead of them. if I don’t win the title this year, I am confident that Opel will give me the car to win it next year.
"I feel like I have been working for ten years to get to this position where I have the number one drive in touring cars in South Africa. It is the fulfilment of a long-held ambition for me," he added.
"Shaun's performances this year have reaffirmed my opinion that he is the best saloon car driver in the country - an opinion that I have held for some time," explains Opel Motorsport manager Mike Carroll. d> "His achievements in Group N were superior to anything ever seen before in the category. After his successes in Group N he automatically went with us to touring cars, and with the car now being the car to have he is enjoying the results we expected, and hoped to have, from him. We are still confident of winning the title this year, and will pull out all the stops to do so. Confirming Shaun's deal gives the whole team added confidence for the rest of this year, and puts us in a strong position for next year as well," concluded Carroll.
Opel Motorsport is actively looking at the possibility of increasing its participation in the Bankfin Touring Car Championship in 2001 with a third car. Once these plans have been formalised, it is hoped that contractual details can be agreed with the team's other driver/s within the next two months.