Oschersleben: Round four preview

INCREASING TV FIGURES FOR WTCC FIA WTCC's TV audiences are consistently growing. After TNS Sport certified that a total of 324 million viewers worldwide watched WTCC broadcasts during the 2005 season, the first figures from the first three...


FIA WTCC's TV audiences are consistently growing. After TNS Sport certified that a total of 324 million viewers worldwide watched WTCC broadcasts during the 2005 season, the first figures from the first three events of the current season are being unveiled and testify that the championship is well on the way to reach the 2006 audience target of 450 million.

Audiences for WTCC broadcasting on Eurosport (which represents 20% of the total audiences) for the first three race meetings held so far at Monza, Magny-Cours and Brands Hatch have significantly increased compared to last year: +31% for the live broadcast and +20% for the FIA WTCC Magazine.

At the same time WTCC also rates on terrestrial channels. Its first appearance on the British premier television ITV was a success. Despite a last minute reschedule due to the cancellation of the World Superbike race delayed the one-hour long WTCC coverage from Brands Hatch to 4.00 PM, audiences totalled to 1.1 million, with a peak of 1.5.

As for Oschersleben, Germany's ZDF will broadcast again both races live, like in 2005. Official figures of the worldwide coverage of the current season will be unveiled after the Brazilian event in Curitiba.


The Touring Car Bureau have issued a decision to reduce the minimum weight of the Alfa Romeo 156 cars by 20 kg for the race meeting in Oschersleben.

Therefore the new minimum weight of the Italian cars is now 1120 kg, driver included.


The WTCC Race of Germany at Oschersleben represents BMW's home event. The Bavarian manufacturer have great expectations, as their drivers have won seven out of the last eight races valid for the ETCC/WTCC at the Motorsport Arena. The only exeption was SEAT's victory with Rickard Rydell in the second race of the 2004 ETCC. Last year, Andy Priaulx of BMW Team UK secured victory in the first race, while in Race 2, BMW Team Italy-Spain driver Alessandro Zanardi provided emotional moments when he won the first race since his accident in 2001.

Following two difficult races in Brands Hatch, BMW Team Germany, Jorg Muller and Dirk Muller, are hoping to be able to benefit from the fact that they will compete with less handicap weight on board: 25 and 20 kilos respectively.

"I'm really looking forward to the only WTCC meeting in Germany," said Dirk. "The track offers some technical sections that you simply need to know. It is important to find a good compromise in terms of car set-up here. There are many different types of corners, and you need to have the correct balance everywhere. The few kerbs you are forced to cross in Oschersleben are a hazard and need to be considered for the set-up."

And Jorg echoed: "The Motorsport Arena is one of the slower tracks on the calendar. Most important is a good mechanical grip, and the car has to be able to cross the kerbs quickly. The really nice part is to be able to compete in front of a home crowd again. My family and many friends will be on site to support me. That is a great feeling."


This weekend looks to be a busy one for Alessandro Zanardi. Sunday morning will see the BMW Team Italy-Spain driver receive an award from `Motorsport Aktuell', a hugely popular weekly magazine in Germany, after its readers voted Zanardi as `Best Touring Car Driver' at the end of last year.

As well as this, the Italian idol will be visited by the doctors from a Berlin hospital. They are in fact the doctors who treated him after his Champ Car crash at Lausitz in 2001, in which he lost both legs.


The historic first WTCC win for Chevrolet at the last round in Brands Hatch was proudly celebrated by a cartoon painted by famous Belgian artist "Clovis". And now team and drivers are eager to prove that the bad British weather was a factor they mastered rather than a factor that helped them win. Oschersleben is another circuit that should suit the characteristics of the Chevrolet Lacetti WTC.

Team Manager, Mark Busfield explained: "We will use our set-up from last year as a base and then add everything we have learned throughout this year with the new car. It will be tougher than at Brands, as our competitors have tested there this year and traditionally perform very well at Oschersleben. Plus Alain will carry a lot of ballast." RML had a test scheduled at Pembrey for this week, but the weather forecast was showing more rain, so the team cancelled the test. "We feel we amassed enough wet weather data last weekend!" Busfield said.


Once again the FIA WTCC drivers went to town to promote the local event and meet the fans. This afternoon a group of drivers took part in two different autograph sessions in downtown Magdeburg, the 250,000-inhabitant city located only 25 km from the Oschersleben Motorsport Arena.

At 6.00 PM the drivers hit the Allee-Center "Zentraler Platz", Magdeburg's largest shopping mall located on the central Ernst-Reuter Allee. One hour later they were transferred to the Dom Platz for another autograph session.

In order to enhance promotion for this weekend's race meeting, FIA WTCC cars had been exhibited at the Allee-Centre from May 21.


After the action is over at Oschersleben, attentions will turn to the mammoth task of transporting the WTCC circus to Brazil. Championship promoter KSO, with support from Hapag-Lloyd and MSK has been planning the logistics of the journey for months.

The trip to Curitiba begins on Sunday evening when 27 containers will be loaded with the 25 WTCC cars, 200 tonnes of spares and over 1500 tyres. From Oschersleben the convoy will drive to Hamburg where the containers get loaded aboard the vessel NYK Espirito which is set to depart on 8th June. Almost two weeks later, on 21st June, the vessel will reach Paranagua, Brazil. The final leg of the journey is a 100km drive to the circuit of Curitiba where the precious cargo will be expected on 24th of June.

There the containers will be unloaded and the teams will prepare for the FIA WTCC's first overseas race of the season on July 2nd.


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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Jorg Muller , Rickard Rydell