Pre-season newsletter 2005-02-11

FULL SEASON ENTRIES CLOSE IN TWO WEEKS The deadline for full season entries to the 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship is approaching. Entries to both, the Drivers' and the Manufacturers' Championship, will close on February 28th. However ...

FULL SEASON ENTRIES CLOSE IN TWO WEEKS
The deadline for full season entries to the 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship is approaching. Entries to both, the Drivers' and the Manufacturers' Championship, will close on February 28th.

However teams will be also given the chance of entering on an event-by-event basis, until the Friday prior to each race meeting.

FIA WTCC AND ITALIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Competitors of the Italian Super Turismo Championship will join the FIA WTCC on three occasions in 2005. S2000 specs cars are now eligible for the Italian Championship, which was ran under Super Production regulations during the five latest seasons. ACI Sport Italia, promoter of the Italian Championship on behalf of CSAI, and KSO agreed on including three FIA WTCC events in the Super Turismo calendar. Monza (10 April), Magny-Cours (1 May) and Imola (29 May) will be the first three race meetings for the Italian competitors, who will race alongside their fellow FIA WTCC mates. The Italian Championship will go on afterwards with four other events.

Together with the Russian and Baltic Touring Car championships, the Italian Super Turismo joins the long list of national series worldwide that have adopted the FIA S2000 technical regulations.

CHEVROLET HAPPY WITH TEST IN ALBACETE
Chevrolet Racing wrapped up a week of testing the new Lacetti car in Spain. All three drivers drove the two RML-built cars at Albacete, from Wednesday to Friday, gathering valuable data for their FIA WTCC campaign.

"The Albacete track has bits of everything," Rob Huff explained. "There's a tight chicane, some slow corners, some fast ones, some very fast ones... There are some corners where you balance the throttle, there are high speed braking points... Basically everything you'll find throughout the season, except for the undulations you have at Spa."

"Despite the weather not always being on our side, it's been a good week," said Chevrolet Europe's Motorsport Manager, Eric Nève. Alain Menu was equally impressed by the car: "We progressed a lot on the shocks and the stabilizers as we are learning the car and its reactions. We obviously still need more time to get the best from it, but I'm very happy with it. "

Nicola Larini was pleased with the work done in Spain: "Rather than looking for performance, we have set a baseline to work from in the coming weeks. We are still in the process of learning the car and its reactions to the different set-ups. What we already know for sure, however, is that the car is going well and that the reliability is there. The chassis is very good, braking is excellent and the car has lots of potential." The next test session for the Chevrolet Lacetti is scheduled for early March.

A FOURTH SEAT FOR PLATO?
SEAT Sport might expand to four car its current FIA WTCC three-car team in the second part of the season. The driver selected is due to be Jason Plato, commited to the British Touring Car Championship with SEAT Sport UK.

"Running four cars is clearly an advantage, but we have had a budget problem. We are looking at ways of using what we already have: we have a good driver in Jason and there is a test car avalible, so now it's up to us to make it happen," SEAT Motorsport director Jamie Puig said.

FLASH NEWS

ALFA ROMEO: Weekend on the Alps for the AutoDelta drivers; on Saturday 12 February, Tarquini, Thompson, Giovanardi and Farfus will meet the Italian National Team of Alpine Ski in Bormio, where the World Championship are taking place. The four drivers will be back at the wheel next week, for a test session in Fiorano from Monday to Thursday. KARTING: BMW Team Deutschland mates Dirk and Jörg Müller teamed again to win the karting 24 Hours of Cologne. Ten other drivers completed the winning team, including former SEAT Sport man Frank Diefenbacher, former DTM champion Bernd Schneider and Sven Heidfeld, brother of Formula 1 ace Nick.

THEY SAID: QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Jason Plato, about the possibility to take part in some rounds of the FIA WTCC for SEAT Sport. "This should be an opportunity for me to race against the best touring car drivers in the world. The opposition in the BTCC is very credible but it would be good to go up against some of the big names in the WTCC."

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Jorg Muller , Bernd Schneider , Frank Diefenbacher , Jason Plato , Sven Heidfeld , Rob Huff , Nicola Larini , Alain Menu