THOMPSON FASTEST IN MONZA TEST For the first time since they joined the championship, James Thompson and his N.technology Honda Accord Euro R set the WTCC pace. "We had a very good day," said Thompson. "We didn't carry out as many laps as...
THOMPSON FASTEST IN MONZA TEST
For the first time since they joined the championship, James Thompson and his N.technology Honda Accord Euro R set the WTCC pace.
"We had a very good day," said Thompson. "We didn't carry out as many laps as other teams because we were making big changes on the car between the runs but it was worth it. We take this result as a good representation of the progress we're making. Step-by-step we will be back at the level we are used to competing at."
During yesterday's official test session in Monza, the last of the four scheduled for the season, Thompson clocked a fastest lap of 2:00.918, posted during the morning session of a hot Italian Summer day, with temperatures in the high 30s C.
Front wheel-drive cars emerged as the fastest along the Autodromo. Tom Coronel and his SUNRED petrol-powered SEAT Leon set the best lap in the afternoon; however, the Dutchman's 2:00.940 remained 0.022 seconds off Thompson's best.
Chevrolet's Alain Menu completed a lap of 2:00.946, only a further four thousandths of a second adrift. Andy Priaulx was the best of the BMW men, setting the fourth fastest lap of 2:01.214, just ahead of Jordi Gene (2:01.298) in the best of the SEAT Leon TDI cars.
Sixteen drivers took part in the test, with 13 of them covered by the same second.
In the afternoon, Turkish driver Aytac Biter, a former runner up in the national Formula 3 championship, replaced his fellow countryman Ibrahim Okyay at the wheel of the Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport BMW car. Biter is due to drive the team's second car in the WTCC events at Brands Hatch and Oschersleben.
TARQUINI GETS MAXIMUM BALLAST
SEAT Sport's Gabriele Tarquini, who won the second race in Brno and is currently leading the Drivers' Championship, will carry the maximum ballast on board his SEAT Leon TDI car during the next race meeting in Estoril.
The Italian driver collected 58 extra kilos for the points scored in the championship classification plus 25 for being the second best scorer in the Czech weekend. Therefore he is the first driver so far to receive the maximum 70-kg success ballast provided by the sporting regulations.
His competitors will be far lighter, with Alessandro Zanardi the best scoring driver in Brno, on 48 kg, only one more than his BMW Italy-Spain team-mate Felix Porteiro.
BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx, the first non-SEAT driver in the championship, will receive 34 kg of ballast, while the heaviest Chevrolet car will be Alain Menu's with 33.
A total of twenty drivers will have success ballast in Estoril, including the race-by-race entries Alexander Lvov, Andrey Smetsky, Kristian Poulsen and Tom Boardman who will receive 30 kilos each according to article 79 c) of the Sporting Regulations.
Success ballast - Portugal
70 kg G. Tarquini
48 kg A. Zanardi
47 kg F. Porteiro
43 kg Y. Muller
42 kg A. Farfus
37 kg R. Rydell
34 kg A. Priaulx
33 kg A. Menu
31 kg J. Muller
30 kg J. Gene, A. Lvov, A. Smetsky, T. Boardman, K. Poulsen
27 kg R. Huff
19 kg N. Larini
12 kg T. Monteiro
10 kg T. Coronel
3 kg J. Thompson
1 kg O. Tielemans
PORTUGUESE EVENT LAUNCHED IN LISBON
The WTCC Race of Portugal was launched Wednesday in Lisbon. The race meeting that will take place at Estoril on July 12th and 13th was presented to the local media during a crowded press conference at the Sheraton Lisbon Hotel & Spa.
SEAT Sport's Portuguese driver Tiago Monteiro attended, while Frederico Costa, vice president of Turismo de Portugal and Francisco Santos, general manager of Talento, the event's promoter company, delivered speeches to the audience.
"The WTCC is a strategic event for us because of three reasons: it has a substantial economic impact on the region, gives Portugal important returns on the media worldwide and enhances the image of our country. This is why we have decided to sign a three year deal with Talento and KSO for receiving the championship, with Estoril hosting this year's edition between the two in Porto, last year and in 2009." explained Frederico Costa.
POULSEN TO MAKE WTCC DEBUT
Danish racing driver Kristian Poulsen will make his WTCC debut in the next meeting at Estoril. Poulsen, 32-year old from Flensborg, will be at the wheel of a BMW 320si car run by his own team Poulsen Motorsport; it is the same machine he normally drives in the Danish Touring Car Championship.
Poulsen, a former rally driver, switched to racing only at the beginning of the 2007 season; however, he quickly established himself and his own team in the national Touring Car championship. During the last season he entered two BMW cars, for himself and former DTM ace Kurt Thiim, who claimed two victories. At the end of the year, Poulsen took part in the FIA European Touring Car Cup at Adria, achieving a brilliant third place in the Super 2000 class.
For the current season, the team has signed the reigning Danish champion and winner of the FIA European Cup Michel Nykjær, former Danish champion Jesper Sylvest and former WTCC regular Emmet O'Brien alongside Poulsen. Poulsen's participation in the Portuguese event is only the first one that has been planned to pave the team's approach to a full commitment in next year's WTCC.
COUNTDOWN: - 16 DAYS