The 7th and 8th rounds of the FIA WTCC will take place on the next weekend in France, on the historical street circuit of Pau. This is the championship’s third visit to the old city on the Pyrenées, home of the Grand Prix de Pau since 1930.
In 2008 Alain Menu and his Chevrolet Lacetti dominated the first race with a lights to flag victory after setting pole position, while the second race was won by BMW Team Germany’s Augusto Farfus, who completed an amazing recovery after having rolled his car in qualifying at the infamous Monument bend.
Last year BMW obtained a double victory: Farfus encored in the first race, while Andy Priaulx scored his first and only victory of the season mastering his car under torrential rain that forced the field to start behind the safety car.
Like in Marrakech, the competitors will benefit from the street-circuit extended qualifying session. Saturday’s usual 30-minute qualifying will last 45 minutes: the 30-minute Q1 and the 15-minute Q2, split by a 5-minute pause.
WTCC cars negotiate the Virage de la Gare during last year’s event
CHEVROLET ON MAXIMUM COMPENSATION WEIGHT
Robert Huff’s and Nicola Larini’s victories in Marrakech will result in Chevrolet being given the maximum compensation weight in Pau.
The Cruze cars will receive a 40kg ballast like the turbodiesel SEAT cars and the BMW 320si cars, because it was the fastest in Morocco after having received technical help from the Touring Car Bureau.
The compensation weight for Pau has been determined by the lap times set in the three previous events (Brazil, Mexico and Morocco). The SEAT León TDI emerged as the reference model, one tenths of a second faster than the BMW 320si.
All the other cars – LADA 110, SEAT León TFSI and Alessandro Zanardi’s BMW 320si (the only one equipped with a sequential gearbox) – will have 20kg deducted from their minimum weight.
LAUNCH OF THE WTCC RACE OF FRANCE
The WTCC Race of France was launched during a press conference at the city’s Chamber of Commerce attended by the reigning world champion Yvan Muller who reminded: "This year Pau is the only French city to welcome an automobile world championship."
The event also marks the 69th edition of the Grand Prix Automobile de Pau and Jacques Raynaud, vice-president of the Eurosport group commented: "Tradition is not something you can buy. You have to build it and keep it alive." While Marc Jubault-Bregler, town counsillor for the Environment confirmed: "Our aim is to develop and renew the Grand Prix in order to make it perennial."
CAZENAVE REJOINS WIECHERS-SPORT
Laurent Cazenave will rejoin the Wiechers-Sport team for his home WTCC meeting at Pau.
The 34-year old Frenchman will take the wheel of the German outfit’s second BMW 320si car, alongside Stefano D’Aste. This will mark his second appearance in the FIA World Touring Car Championship after last year’s debut at Pau.
In 2008 Cazenave used his racing experience on his home town’s streets to the utmost, claiming an outstanding victory in the Independents‘ class at the end of Race 1.
Now he is back, aiming for more: "This is a very difficult challenge. I know the car a bit from last year, however we will make a test on Thursday before the event at the Pau Arnos racetrack, because I wish to do the best I can."
WTCC T-SHIRTS FOR MOROCCAN CHILDREN
After the season’s opening in Curitiba, when 43 tonnes of food were collected through the ticketing campaign and donated to a charity society, the WTCC continued its program of social contribution activities.
On the occasion of last week’s Race of Morocco, Marcello Lotti, Managing Director of KSO, offered 2000 t-shirts to the Moroccan Ministry of Education. These clothes will be distributed to the children of Marrakech as a symbolic donation in order to associate the population in need with this first-ever successful FIA WTCC Race Meeting in Morocco.