2006 season newsletter 2006-05-05

NEXT STOP: BRANDS HATCH, ENGLAND The third race meeting of the 2006 FIA WTCC will happen at the Brands Hatch Circuit, located in Kent, some 30 km East of London City. Rounds 5 and 6 will be held on the 4.2-km Grand Prix track on May 20th and ...


The third race meeting of the 2006 FIA WTCC will happen at the Brands Hatch Circuit, located in Kent, some 30 km East of London City. Rounds 5 and 6 will be held on the 4.2-km Grand Prix track on May 20th and 21st.

The championship is going across the Channel with the top-ten drivers covered by only 10 points. Reigning World champion and home boy Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK) is the leader of the pack after winning the second race in Magny-Cours. Former BTCC champion Yvan Muller (SEAT Sport France) is chasing him 3 points behind.

A large number of fans are due to reach Brands Hatch for the race weekend, as was the case in the two previous meetings at Monza and Magny-Cours that attracted an average crowd of 56,500.


Cecile de Menibus, French TV and radio star, spent last Sunday in Magny-Cours. A special guest at the WTCC Beru Race of France.

Cecile, who hosts the everyday morning programme on Fun Radio and a Thursday evening TV show on TF1, played an active role during her visit: she signed autographs, walked on the grid, drove one lap in the Chevrolet Lacetti safety-car, awarded trophies on the podium and, last but not least, watched both races with enthusiasm. "I love this championship!" she said. "It's so exciting, with a lot of action, overtaking and the reverse grid. You don't get bored watching it! I really enjoyed my day at the races."

Who is your favourite WTCC driver? "First of all Yvan Muller, because he is our French ambassador in the series. It was a shame he could not fight for a win in his home event. I like Gabriele Tarquini too. I wish good luck to them for the rest of the season."


Last Saturday the Magny-Cours karting circuit was invaded by a squad of WTCC drivers and journalists.15 teams competed in the infamous `the pen and the helmet' 20 minute race. Robert Huff of Chevrolet and Andrew Cotton, a British freelance journalist, were the victors with Cotton making an overtaking move in his 390 cc kart on the penultimate lap. After the podium ceremony Huff commented: "The pressure was on my partner but he kept calm and did the job, a piece of cake!"

In second place was the FIA team made up of Sebastien Bernard and Sebastien Demierre while Proteam's Stefano D'Aste and Cristiano Beretta, a cameraman for Italian TV Monza Informa, were classified third.


Mr Takashi Sugimoto, President of the Yokohama Rubber Tire Co. was among the many important guests who attended the WTCC Beru Race of France in Magny-Cours.

"I had planned to come to Magny-Cours before the beginning of the season, and I kept my promise," said Mr Sugimoto. "I'm very happy to be here. It's a fantastic event, with a large crowd."


WTCC drivers go to London town again. After last year's successful event in Leicester Square, an autograph session has been organised to promote the event in Brands Hatch.

On Thursday, May 18, a number of drivers including home boys Robert Huff, James Thompson, Andy Priaulx and Ryan Sharp will meet the fans in the Alex Reade motorsport store at 78 Regent Street.


The FIA authorized a private 30-minute test session on Friday, May 19, at 4.00 PM. The session was approved by the WTCC Bureau in order to give the teams some more time to know the Brands Hatch Grand Prix track which is new to the championship.


James Thompson is 32 years old from Yorkshire, England. As well as competing in the WTCC, he is also racing in selected rounds of the British Touring Car Championship with SEAT Sport UK. Earlier in the season he won two of the three BTCC races on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit so we spoke to him ahead of the WTCC's visit to the Kent track. Winning at Brands earlier in the season must give you confidence for May 21st? "For sure, any win is a confidence boost and gives you a lift. It's great that the WTCC is coming to Brands because I have familiarity with the UK circuits that I am lacking at the rest of the tracks around the world. And with the home support I am looking forward to it."

The WTCC will be racing on the GP circuit, what is the difference between that and the Indy? "It's a lot longer and a lot more scenic. You need a different set-up for the GP track because there are a lot of fast corners round the back. You certainly need to have a good car beneath you for the GP circuit." How is life at SEAT? "Being part of a big team is very helpful from a technical point of view but it can be a hindrance in the sense there are so many great drivers in the team. I have to say life at SEAT is fantastic. It's a relaxed environment and I'm really enjoying it there, I'm very happy."


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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Yvan Muller , James Thompson , Gabriele Tarquini , Stefano D'Aste , Ryan Sharp