Porto: Series preview

ROUTE TO: PORTO, PORTUGAL The 13th and 14th rounds of the FIA WTCC will take place next week on Porto's Circuito da Boavista. This is the second visit the championship pays to this racetrack that winds along the streets of the Portuguese city...

ROUTE TO: PORTO, PORTUGAL

The 13th and 14th rounds of the FIA WTCC will take place next week on Porto's Circuito da Boavista.

This is the second visit the championship pays to this racetrack that winds along the streets of the Portuguese city and was revived in 2005, half-a-century since it hosted the Portuguese Formula 1 Grand Prix.

In 2007 - on WTCC's first visit - Chevrolet and BMW shared the glory. In the first race Alain Menu led home a trio of Chevrolet Lacetti cars, followed by team mates Robert Huff and Nicola Larini. The second race saw a BMW double, with Andy Priaulx emerging as the winner ahead of Jorg Muller.

Next week the WTCC competitors will benefit from a 30 minute test session on Friday to re-discover the track; the only major change to the layout that was used two years ago concerns the infamous paddock chicane, which has been completely redrawn.

JAMES THOMPSON JOINS LADA SPORT

Touring car ace James Thompson returns to the FIA WTCC joining the LADA Sport team.

Yesterday at Zolder, the 35-year old Englishman had his first test in the brand new LADA Priora he will drive in Porto next week. Thompson will replace team principal and driver Viktor Shapovalov in four of the remaining six events: Porto, Brands Hatch, Okayama and Macau, missing Oschersleben and Imola due to previous commitments. His team-mates Jaap van Lagen and Kirill Ladygin will also switch from the current LADA 110 to the new Priora from the meeting in Oschersleben on September 6th.

Thompson boasts an outstanding WTCC record, having raced for Alfa Romeo, SEAT and Honda claiming 4 victories and 12 other podium results; in 2007 he classified third in the drivers' championship. He has started the current season competing in the Danish and the British Touring Car Championships, achieving four wins so far.

"I'm very excited to be back in the WTCC and I feel very privileged that LADA has asked me to be the first person to race their new car," said Thompson. "It's a great challenge to be involved in a new project like this from the beginning and I am looking forward to it very much."

WTCC TO RACE AT ZOLDER IN 2010

On Wednesday in Paris the FIA World Motor Sport Council approved the calendar for the 2010 World Touring Car Championship.

The series will visit two new venues: Zolder and Algarve. The former that hosted one meeting of the FIA European Touring Car Championship back in 2001, replaces the French round of Pau and will mark WTCC's return to Belgium after its only visit (at Spa in 2005). As for the new Portuguese racetrack, it will receive the championship for the first time, stepping in for Porto.

Other changes compared to the current season are the dates swapped between Italy and Spain (the name of the Italian venue that will host the first European event will be communicated soon) and the postponement of the Czech event to August 1st.

2010 FIA WTCC CALENDAR


07 March BRAZIL Curitiba
11 April MEXICO Puebla
16 May MOROCCO Marrakech
30 May ITALY TBA
20 June BELGIUM Zolder
04 July PORTUGAL Algarve
18 July GREAT BRITAIN Brands Hatch
01 August CZECH REPUBLIC Brno
05 September GERMANY Oschersleben
19 September SPAIN Valencia *
31 October JAPAN Okayama
21 November MACAU Macau


* subject to the approval of the Spanish Federation

YOKOHAMA CONFIRMED UNTIL 2012

Following an invitation to tender, the FIA World Motor Sport Council appointed the Yokohama Rubber Company to supply the control tyre for the next three seasons of the FIA World Touring Car Championship: 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The Japan-based manufacturer has been WTCC official tyre supplier since the 2006 season.

SEAT AND CHEVROLET ARE LIGHTER IN PORTO

The SEAT Leon Tdi and Chevrolet Cruze LT cars will benefit from a reduction of the compensation weight for the next event of the season in Porto.

According to the calculation that took into account the lap times set in the three previous events (Pau, Valencia and Brno) BMW remains the fastest model and will receive once again the maximum 40kg ballast. At the same time SEAT's turbodiesel machines will run on the minimum weight fixed by the sporting regulations (1170 kg), while Chevrolet will be a further 10 kilos lighter, just like Alessandro Zanardi's BMW 320si (the only one equipped with a sequential gearbox).

Both the SEAT Leon TFSI and the LADA 110 cars will have 20kg deducted from the minimum weight, while the newly homologated LADA Priora will be laden with the maximum ballast for its first two events in the championship.

Compensation weights Porto


+ 40 kg BMW 320si, LADA Priora
0 kg SEAT Leon TDI
- 10 kg BMW 320si Zanardi , Chevrolet Cruze LT
- 20 kg LADA 110, SEAT Leon TFSI

PUYO IS THE SEAT CUP WINNER FOR PORTO

Diego Puyo has won participation in the next World Touring Car Championship races at Porto by winning the SEAT Leon Eurocup's second event last Sunday at Brno.

On the Czech racetrack the 25 year-old Spaniard completed the first race in fifth position and won the second one, climbing on top of the standings.

Thanks to these results, Puyo will take the wheel of SUNRED Engineering's third SEAT Leon at Porto, succeeding Tim Coronel who successfully drove it at Brno.

ARTISTIC LIVERY FOR MENU'S CHEVROLET

Chevrolet chose the Portuguese event to sport - on Alain Menu's Cruze car - the special livery winner of this year's 'Young? Creative? Chevrolet!' pan-European contest.

Like in 2008, the brief in the visual arts discipline of Chevrolet's competition for art school students was the design of a unique livery to be sported one-off by one of the WTCC cars.

The winning project comes from Belgium and was conceived by Britt Raes, from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent.

COUNTDOWN: - 9 DAYS to the 2009 FIA WTCC Race of Portugal - 4th / 5th July, in Porto

-credit: wtcc

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Tom Coronel , James Thompson , Nicola Larini , Viktor Shapovalov , Kirill Ladygin , Alain Menu