MARRAKECH JOINS 2009 WTCC CALENDAR The FIA World Touring Car Championship will extend to Africa in 2009. With the addition of a race meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, the world championship is now set to visit four continents next year: ...
MARRAKECH JOINS 2009 WTCC CALENDAR
The FIA World Touring Car Championship will extend to Africa in 2009. With the addition of a race meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, the world championship is now set to visit four continents next year: Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia.
Morocco's first international race in more than 50 years was launched yesterday during a crowded press conference at Marrakech's El Saadi Palace. The historical city will host the WTCC on a brand new temporary street circuit in the heart of the red city on May 3rd, 2009. The Marrakech WTCC event will be the first international car race in Morocco after the 1958 Formula One Grand Prix in Casablanca.
"This will be everybody's event. We all have to work together to prove the world that Morocco can build a street circuit and organize a motorsport event according to the FIA standards. To do this we need to mobilize all our resources. This event will have an unprecedented impact on Moroccan economy and tourism," said the President of the Marrakech Grand Prix Ali Horma.
ROUTE TO: ESTORIL, PORTUGAL
The 11th and 12th rounds of the FIA WTCC will take place next week in Portugal, at Estoril's Autodromo Fernanda Pires da Silva.
This is the first time that the championship visits the 4.1km circuit, which is home to the Portuguese Moto GP, bringing an automobile world championship event back there twelve years after the 1996 Formula One Grand Prix.
However, the FIA touring cars have already visited Estoril three times in the past. The European Touring Car Championship raced there in 2002 and 2003: Fabrizio Giovanardi's Alfa Romeo and Jorg Muller's BMW shared victories in 2002, while the year after Alfa Romeo's Gabriele Tarquini obtained a double win that propelled him towards the European title.
In 2006 Estoril hosted the FIA European Touring Car Cup; in a soaked wet weekend Ryan Sharp (GR Asia SEAT Leon) and Alexander Lvov (Golden Motors Honda Civic) claimed the Super 2000 and Super Production titles.
BOARDMAN WINS WTCC PARTICIPATION
24-year old Briton Tom Boardman is the second SEAT Eurocup driver to win participation in the FIA WTCC.
Boardman, who scored the most points in the cup's second race meeting at Pau, will drive the SEAT Leon TFSI run by SUNRED Engineering Development at Estoril; he succeeds the Spaniard Oscar Nogues who took part in the WTCC event at Pau after emerging as the best Eurocup driver in Valencia. Despite his young age, Boardman boasts an impressive racing career with saloon cars. From 2000 to 2003 he raced in the British National Saloon and Touring Car Championships, claiming seven race wins and a fifth place in Production Class in the 2003 BTCC. Afterwards he switched to SEAT trophies, winning the 2005 British Cupra Cup and finishing third in the 2006 Spanish Supercopa.
THOMPSON CLAIMS DANISH VICTORY
A few days after emerging as the fastest in the WTCC official test at Monza, James Thompson claimed his first victory for Honda. The Briton won the first race during the fifth meeting of the Danish Touring Car Championship that took place last Sunday at Padborg Park.
Thompson had clocked the second fastest qualifying time, only eight thousandths of a second behind Chevrolet's Henrik Lundgaard; but the Briton had a better start and took the lead at the fist bend and kept it until the chequered flag, giving the Hartmann Honda Racing their first ever victory. Despite starting the second race from eighth on the reverse grid, Thompson managed to recover up to third place and also set the fastest lap. Additionally he won pole position on the grid for the final race, which is awarded on the basis of the combined results of the two qualifying races.
Thompson's hopes for a second victory ended when he was given a stop-and-go penalty for clashing with Schlunssen's Peugeot 407, and this propelled Michael Outzen and his Chevrolet Lacetti towards their second win of the season.
"I was told that there was a safety car on the circuit and being the leader I thought it right to back off. It would be irresponsible to arrive at the scene at full speed. However, there were no yellow flags or safety car signs, so Schlunssen was to make an attempt at passing. We made contact and he went off the circuit, and that of course is my responsibility," Thompson explained.