CHEVROLET, SEAT AND VOLVO TESTED IN SPAIN
Three WTCC Volvo teams spent two days testing at Barcelona's Catalunya Circuit.
Chevrolet used two Cruze 1.6 Turbo cars driven by Rob Huff and Yvan Muller; SUNRED ran two SEAT Leon TDi cars with Gabriele Tarquini, Tiago Monteiro, Pepe Oriola and Paul Ip from Hong King alternating at the wheel; Polestar tested with two Volvo C30 cars fitted with the 2.0L normally aspirated engines for Robert Dahlgren and James Thompson.
The weather was bright, but cold over the two days.
SUCCESSFUL LAST TEST FOR CHEVROLET
Chevrolet completed their last test before shipping the cars to Brazil. Muller and Huff were indefatigable covering as more kilometres as possible with the Cruze fitted with the new 1.6-litre turbo engine.
"I feel quite good in the car although I have done only four days of testing so far, which is not enough when you have to cope with a new car and new regulations. With the turbo engine the Chevrolet is now very similar to the SEAT turbo diesel in terms of driveability and set up," said Muller.
Development engineer Darren Revens explained: "We are very happy with how this test has gone. With the new regulations, reliability is the key, because the engine must last for a minimum of nine events. Therefore we have focused on making it reliable. Here in Barcelona we managed to cover a fair distance without any major drama. So far so good!"
DAHLGREN AND THOMPSON WORK TOGETHER AT VOLVO
Polestar Racing officially started Volvo's approach to the WTCC testing at Barcelona. The Swedish team conducted a comparative test between the C30 that Dahlgren will drive in the WTCC opening in Brazil and the sister car that will be used by Thompson in Scandinavia.
"We are all excited and keen to develop the car during our first season in the World Championship. We still have a lot work to do, especially on the new turbo engine. We are looking forward to start using it as soon as it will be possible, though we still don't know when this will happen," Dahlgren commented.
Track engineer Per Blomberg explained: "The first issue for us is to adapt to the WTCC tracks that are much faster than those we are used to in Sweden. This is why we have asked Thompson to join this test and help us in setting up the car."
DIFFERENT GENERATIONS TOGETHER AT SUNRED
With the plan to run again six cars in 2011, SUNRED Engineering used the test in Barcelona for checking the performance with Tarquini and Monteiro and also to give young rookie Oriola the opportunity to get used to the SEAT Leуn TDi.
"We will start the season with the turbo diesel cars, but we are working to develop a 1.6-litre turbo engine and we will start using it as soon as possible. At least on some of our six cars," said team principal Joan Orъs adding. "We will run six cars again. It will be interesting, with two young drivers like Oriola and Aleksei Dudukalo, two former rookies like Fredy Barth and Michel Nykjжr and - hopefully - two experienced guys like Tarquini and Monteiro."
ORIOLA IS READY TO LEARN FROM THE BEST
16-year old Spaniard Pepe Oriola, the youngest driver ever to join WTCC, is excited after his first proper test in a WTCC car.
"I'm really happy. This is a great opportunity for me after only two seasons of car racing. Obviously all the drivers in the championship have more experience than I do, but I'm not especially worried. And I'm confident that I can learn a lot during my first season in the World Championship working together team-mates like Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro," said Oriola.
ENGSTLER AND POULSEN JOIN FORCES
Franz Engstler and Kristian Poulsen will be team-mates again in the 2011 FIA WTCC, just like in 2009. They will both race at the wheel of BMW 320 TC cars fitted with the new 1.6-litre turbo engine and run by the Liqui Moly Team Engstler in cooperation with Poulsen Motorsport.
"We are happy to re-establish the cooperation with Kristian and his team. We are confident that this will give us good chances to successfully fight for the independent title once again," Team manager Kurt Treml said.
Engstler and Poulsen have already started the season together, taking part last Saturday in the Dubai 24 Hour race at the wheel of the new Liqui Moly BMW Z4, with little luck though as they were delayed by a technical problem while in fourth position. In 2010 they classified second (Engstler) and third (Poulsen) in the WTCC Independents' Trophy.