Pre-season newsletter 2005-04-01

A FIELD OF 33 CARS FOR THE OPENING IN MONZA The 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship is heading for Monza, where the opening race meeting of the new FIA World Championship will take place on 9th and 10th April. An impressive field of 33 cars...

A FIELD OF 33 CARS FOR THE OPENING IN MONZA

The 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship is heading for Monza, where the opening race meeting of the new FIA World Championship will take place on 9th and 10th April. An impressive field of 33 cars has entered the event, including five competitors from the Italian Superturismo Championship who will contest their own races within the races. Six major car Manufacturers are represented, with five of them Alfa Romeo, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford and SEAT competing for the Manufacturers' Championship. The 33 drivers represent eleven different countries.

The Monza Circuit has always been a regular venue for FIA Touring Car Championships in the past: it hosted the European Championship 26 times, and also the inaugural round of the 1987 World Touring Car Championship and the 1993 World Touring Car Cup. In the latest two seasons, Alfa Romeo and BMW shared honours equally in the FIA ETCC races, claiming one win apiece in 2003 and 2004.

PLATO TO CONTEST THREE FIA WTCC EVENTS

Jason Plato will contest three events of the FIA WTCC in a SEAT Sport Toledo Cupra: Silverstone, Imola and Spa, teaming up with regular drivers Rickard Rydell, Jordi Gene and Peter Terting.

Plato, whose priority remains the British Touring Car Championship, will drive a Spanish- built car but he will have his SEAT Sport UK engineers working with him on the FIA WTCC race weekends.

Jaime Puig, SEAT Sport's Director, said: "As Jason is a SEAT driver and he can fit these FIA WTCC races into SEAT Sport UK's BTCC programme, there is an opportunity for him to help us with the continued development of the Toledo Cupra."

Plato commented: "I'm really pleased to be doing these three WTCC events as it will further expand my links with SEAT. My job will be to pass on as much information and feedback on the Toledo Cupra as possible and get the best results I can. It's an important year for SEAT and the more brains they have on the job the better."

CORONEL WITH SEAT SPORT HOLLAND

Tom Coronel, winner of the 2004 FIA ETCC Independents Trophy, will take part in the FIA WTCC at the wheel of a SEAT Toledo Cupra entered by GR Asia under the colours of SEAT Sport Holland. Two cars are currently being prepared at SEAT Sport; they will be delivered on Thursday, 7th April in Monza to the UK-based GR Asia team, that will run the programme on behalf of SEAT Sport Holland.

"Since the end of last season I've been working to put together a good programme," team principal Paul Ridgway explained. "With SEAT and Tommy we have an excellent package."

Tom Coronel has raced Carly Motors' BMW cars for years, emerging as one of the most consistent drivers of the FIA ETCC field and also managed to claim excellent overall results: six podiums, one pole position and one fastest lap.

The second car will be driven by 2004 British Formula Ford champion Valle Makela; on his first Touring Car season, the 19-years old Finn is the youngest driver of the pack.

ADAM LACKO CONFIRMS FIA WTCC PROGRAMME

After his participation in the official testing at Monza, young Czech driver Adam Lacko has confirmed that he will take part in the 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship. Lacko, who won the 2002 Skoda Octavia Cup, will enter in the first race meeting at Monza with an Alfa Romeo 156 Gta, prepared in Italy by Oregon Team and run under the banner of the IEP (Internet Expres Prima) Team. Lacko has planned to take part in five more FIA WTCC meetings: Magny-Cours, Spa, Oschersleben, Valencia and Macau.

FLASH NEWS

PIAZZA DUOMO: The rendez-vous for the Italian fans is in Piazza del Duomo at Milan, on Thursday 7th April at 4.00 PM. Five FIA WTCC racing cars will be on exhibition alongside the cathedral, and drivers will attend for an autograph session.

PRIAULX: BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx will be back at the wheel of a Formula 1 car, on May 21st and 22nd during the BMW Power Festival at Rockingham. The event will include a demonstration by the BMW Williams F1 Team that will give Priaulx his second Formula 1 drive after the test he had successfully completed in January at Valencia.

TEST: BMW Team Deutschland, BMW Team Italy-Spain and SEAT Sport tested in Imola on Tuesday and Wednesday. On the first day Rydell set the fastest lap in his SEAT Toledo Cupra at 1:57.8, from J. Muller (1:58.2) and Garcia (1:58.6). SEAT left at the end of the day, as well as Zanardi who had damaged his car against the barriers. Only D. Muller and Garcia continued testing and they were both clocked at 1:59.5; however on day 2 the track was slowed down by the cones that will be used for the races.

THEY SAID: QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Roberto Colciago, after the official test in Monza: "I believe that the JAS Motorsport Honda Accord is no less competitive than the other cars. The only difference is the factory support, that we do not have. If we could count on Honda to help us in the technical development, then I'm sure the Accord would be a race winner."

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Tom Coronel , Jason Plato , Peter Terting , Valle Makela , Rickard Rydell , Jordi Gene , Roberto Colciago , Jaime Puig
Teams Williams