Silverstone: Round three preview

FIA WTCC DRIVERS MEET FANS IN LEICESTER SQUARE As part of the promotional campaign for the next FIA WTCC meeting in Silverstone, KSO in cooperation with the Silverstone Circuit, has organised a special event in London. On Thursday 12th May, five...

FIA WTCC DRIVERS MEET FANS IN LEICESTER SQUARE

As part of the promotional campaign for the next FIA WTCC meeting in Silverstone, KSO in cooperation with the Silverstone Circuit, has organised a special event in London. On Thursday 12th May, five racing cars Alfa Romeo, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford and SEAT will be exhibited at the Leicester Square's North Terrace, from 11.30 AM to 4.00 PM.

A group of drivers, including the local boys (Priaulx, Thompson, Plato and Huff) and three former BTCC champions (Tarquini, Rydell and Menu), will meet the fans in two autograph sessions: from 12.30 to 1:00 PM and from 2.30 to 3.00 PM.

THE BRITONS ARE READY TO WELCOME THE MÜLLERS

After they dominated the previous race meeting in Magny-Cours, BMW Team Deutschland are about to land in England. Dirk and Jörg Müller arrive in Silverstone, for the fifth and sixth rounds of the season, lying first and second in the Drivers' Championship. However, this may turn to a very difficult weekend for them.

Four British drivers and three former BTCC champions are waiting resolutely to give them a warm `welcome'. Alfa Romeo Racing Team can count on the James Thompson- Gabriele Tarquini duo, a favourite of the British fans. SEAT Sport have called Jason Plato to give Rickard Rydell a strong helping hand. Chevrolet is asking Alain Menu and Robert Huff to further improve the results achieved in France. And BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx is eager to score his first victory of the season.

With a field of 27 cars, the two 14-lap races on the Silverstone International track, promise to be exciting and tough.

TOP BMW CARS ARE WELL OVERWEIGHT

BMW domination in Magny-Cours resulted in an overload of ballast on the German cars. The Müllers and Priaulx will all be carrying 50 kg, while Antonio García has 35. SEAT Sport drivers carry no handicaps, while three of the four Alfa Romeo works cars have a few extra kilos, with Thompson the first to benefit from the handicap reduction provided by the new system.

<pre> Driver handicap for results in handicap for the total handicap the previous meetings championship points Dirk Müller 40 kg 10 kg 50 kg Jörg Müller 40 kg 10 kg 50 kg Andy Priaulx 40 kg 10 kg 50 kg Antonio García 30 kg 5 kg 35 kg James Thompson 10 kg 5 kg 15 kg Gabriele Tarquini 5 kg 5 kg Augusto Farfus jr. 5 kg 5 kg

</pre> JASON PLATO TO MAKE DEBUT IN THE FIA WTCC

There will be a fourth SEAT Toledo Cupra lining up on the grid at Silverstone; Jason Plato will be in the driver's seat, and he's looking forward to it: "I can't wait!" he says. Oxford born Plato is competing in the British Touring Car Championship for SEAT Sport UK, but hopes to make an impact on the FIA WTCC with his appearances at Silverstone, Imola and Spa.

"The only difference between the BTCC and WTCC cars is the tyres, so I'm really confident. I wouldn't say Silverstone is my favourite circuit, but I like it a lot. It's very technical. I want to win and I'm not going there with any other thought in mind!"

JAS IS LOOKING FORWARD TO A NEW ENGINE

In the second race at Magny-Cours Roberto Colciago and his JAS Motorsport Honda Accord were running in the top-ten, fighting for points with works drivers. Their dream of scoring vanished three laps to the end. "In the attempt of overtaking, Rydell sent Roberto into a spin. And then he came to apologise," said team principal Alessandro Mariani. "We are happy with the performances so far. We are struggling for the lack of testing, but we are working on developing new parts for transmission and suspension. Soon we will have a new engine that will be tested on the bench from next week."

THE INDEPENDENT GENTLEMEN

Marc Hennerici (Wiechers-Sport) and Carl Rosenblad (Crawford Racing) won among the independent drivers in Magny-Cours. Hennerici claimed his third consecutive win overtaking Rosenblad on the penultimate lap. The second race saw Tom Coronel (GR Asia) crossing the line first and then excluded as his car failed to comply with the ride height. "I feel sorry for Tommy, and I told him at the phone after I received an SMS from him announcing the good news," said Rosenblad. "I had a nice lead in the second race but the battle with Rydell, Thompson and Colciago made me kill the rear tyres. It would have been nicer to win on track but I am happy with the result." With 38 points Hennerici has a solid lead, while Rosenblad is chasing him 20 points behind.

FLASH NEWS

DIEFENBACHER: The German driver, who broke a lumbar vertebra in a huge qualifying shunt at Magny-Cours, is still in Nevers hospital. Today the French doctors have fixed him with a corset, and on Monday he will be transferred to a German hospital in Langensteinbach which specialises in spine treatments.

NÜRBURGRING: This weekend Jörg and Dirk Müller defend their last year's victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, sharing a BMW Motorsport M3 GTR with Hans Joachim Stuck.

THEY SAID: QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Tom Coronel, after being excluded from Race 2 in Magny-Cours: "After the car was smashed in the warm up, engineers were focusing on rebuilding it, and my team manager admitted that the ride height was not checked. It was just under the margin, however rules are rules and we were excluded. It's a shame, but that's racing!"

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Antonio Garcia , Dirk Müller , Tom Coronel , Jorg Muller , Carl Rosenblad , James Thompson , Augusto Farfus , Jason Plato , Marc Hennerici , Rickard Rydell , Gabriele Tarquini , Roberto Colciago , Alain Menu