Pre-season newsletter 2005-03-04

ALFA ROMEO FASTEST IN VALENCIA Alfa Romeo AutoDelta drivers emerged as the fastest in the two days of testing at Valencia. Fabrizio Giovanardi's 1:42.53 on day one, and Augusto Farfus's 1:42.11 on day two, topped the unofficial time list. "It...


Alfa Romeo AutoDelta drivers emerged as the fastest in the two days of testing at Valencia. Fabrizio Giovanardi's 1:42.53 on day one, and Augusto Farfus's 1:42.11 on day two, topped the unofficial time list.

"It was a very good test for us," said Matilde Tomagnini, manager of Fiat Group's sporting activities. "Our drivers have done an excellent job: Fabrizio and Augusto put in excellent performances, while James Thompson and Gabriele Tarquini focused on testing new tyres and different set-up solutions."


The SEAT Sport team also have spent three days testing in Albacete and Valencia. First the three SEAT Sport drivers went to Albacete for an intensive one-day session, which was followed by two days in Valencia alongside the Alfa Romeo and Chevrolet works teams. Despite low temperatures, the dry weather allowed the team to work hard. "We followed our schedule, working on suspension, differential and brakes," team manager Antonio Rodriguez explained. "These three days were pretty much productive and the three cars were able to lap in the same times."

Jordi Gene said: "I'm happy with my lap times in Valencia. I like the circuit layout but it doesn't suit my driving style. Therefore it's reassuring that my times were similar to my team-mates'. It's a sign that our work is paying off."


The Chevrolet team finished a second extensive winter test in Spain. Initially scheduled over three days at Albacete, the snow weather forced the team to relocate to Valencia for the first two days of the test.

"We only arrived mid-afternoon and spent the first day setting up the car for the track," RML Team Manager Mark Busfield explained. "The second day we managed to get a full day's running, working on suspensions, rollbars, springs and dampers. From running with our competitors (Alfa Romeo and SEAT) we learned that we still have a fair amount of work to do, but that is also why we test."


Reigning Italian Touring Car champion Adriano De Micheli is the first driver signed by JAS Motorsport for their 2005 campaign in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.

De Micheli, 30-year old from Genoa, will drive one of the two Honda Accord cars built and run by the Italian team. His team-mate is due to be announced soon, as negotiations with Touring Car ace Roberto Colciago are quickly progressing.

In 2004 De Micheli took part in the Italian Touring Car Championship; at the wheel of a Super Production Scuderia Bigazzi Alfa Romeo 147, he scored five wins out of ten races and claimed the title with a comfortable margin (nearly 50 points) from his own team mate Andrea Bacci and BMW's Gianluca De Lorenzi.

De Micheli is not unfamiliar with the FIA Touring Car championship. In 2003 he took part in the season's finale at Monza, with excellent results; driving a Bigazzi Alfa Romeo 156 Gta he managed to finish 7th and 8th in the two races, scoring a total of three points on his first appearance.


Confirming his plans, Swedish driver Carl Rosenblad will take part in the 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship at the wheel of a Crawford Racing BMW 320i.

"I'm looking forward to run in the World Championship. It will be a thrill," said Rosenblab who will be competing for the Michelin Independents Trophy.

"We will race on some new circuits and I'm looking forward to them. I've never raced in Mexico, Turkey and Macau before, so this will be a lot of fun."

35 year old from Vastervik, Rosenblad has a 15-year experience in high-level international racing, from Formula 3000 to Sportscars. In 2004 he ended up on fifth place in the FIA European Touring Car Championship's Michelin Independents' Trophy.

"The championship will be definitely harder compared to last year's ETCC, but we will do our best to win the Independents Trophy."


MEDIA LAPS: Journalists attending the Media Day will have the opportunity to experience a lap of the Monza Grand Prix circuit on board an FIA WTCC car. Alfa Romeo, BMW, Ford and SEAT will kindly supply "taxi" cars and drivers.

SILVERSTONE: Next week BMW Team UK, BMW Team Deutschland and SEAT Sport will test in Silverstone, from Tuesday 8th to Thursday 10th.


Autosport's journalist Charles Bradley:

"The WTCC is no place for shrinking violets; it's a war zone!"


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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Carl Rosenblad , James Thompson , Augusto Farfus , Gabriele Tarquini , Jordi Gene , Roberto Colciago