The 15th and 16th rounds of the FIA WTCC will take place next week at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit, located some 30 km South East of London. It is the fourth consecutive year the championship visits the racetrack.
The WTCC races in Brands have often marked a first. In 2006 Race 1, Yvan Muller claimed his first success since he joined SEAT Sport, while in Race 2 Alain Menu gave Chevrolet their first WTCC win. In 2007 Race 2 Andy Priaulx obtained his first (and so far his only) WTCC victory on home soil.
Among the current WTCC drivers Menu has won ten times in Brands Hatch, adding his three WTCC victories to the seven he obtained in the British Touring Car Championship.
Last year BMW’s Jörg Müller inherited victory in Race 1 when Robert Huff had to pit for a puncture with only a couple of laps left. In the second race Chevrolet made up for the disappointment when Menu overtook Félix Porteiro to cross the line first.
Brands Hatch hosts the FIA WTCC for the fourth consecutive year
VOLVO ENTER TWO CARS IN BRANDS HATCH
The Volvo Olsbergs Green Racing have entered two cars in the FIA WTCC meeting at the Brands Hatch. The Volvo C30 cars, driven by Robert Dalhlgren and Tommy Rustad, have been accepted by the FIA Bureau on the basis of the national homologation and therefore they will be laden with the maximum compensation weight and not eligible to score points.
This is the third guest appearance for Volvo in WTCC, as Dahlgren raced a Volvo S60 at Anderstorp in 2007 and a C30 at Brands Hatch last year. His best result was 8th in Anderstorp’s Race 2. Rustad – the first Norwegian to join WTCC – used to be a competitor in the FIA European Touring Car Championship, scoring two race wins for Nissan in 2001.
"Last year was an exploratory appearance. This year we are upping the stakes to give our British Volvo fans and customers a great show," said Derek Crabb, Director of Motorsport at Volvo Car Corporation.
Rustad and Dahlgren are currently placed 2nd and 6th in the Swedish Touring Car Championship respectively.
Dahlgren and Rustad will join WTCC’s British event with two Volvo C30 cars
BMW AND SEAT TDI ON MAXIMUM WEIGHT
The SEAT León Tdi emerged as the fastest model during the weekend in Porto and will receive the maximum compensation weight for the next meeting in Brands Hatch, like the BMW 320si.
According to the calculation that took into account the lap times set in the three previous events (Valencia, Brno and Porto) BMW remains the fastest model, but the gap between the German car and the Spanish turbodiesel machine was reduced to one tenths of a second.
The Chevrolet Cruze is the third fastest car on the three-event calculation, with a gap of 0.7 seconds; it will be 30 kilos lighter than BMW and SEAT, while Alessandro Zanardi’s BMW 320si (equipped with a sequential gearbox) will have no compensation weight on board.
Both the SEAT León TFSI and the LADA 110 will have 20kg deducted from the minimum weight. Although the newly homologated LADA Priora would have been laden again with the maximum handicap, it will also benefit from a 20kg reduction following a decision of the FIA Bureau.
Compensation weights Brands Hatch
+ 40 kg BMW 320si, SEAT León TDI, Volvo C30
+ 10 kg Chevrolet Cruze LT
± 0 kg BMW 320si Zanardi
– 20 kg LADA 110, LADA Priora, SEAT León TFSI
TEAM ENGSTLER ADD THIRD CAR FOR GEIPEL
The Liqui Moly Team Engstler will enter a third BMW 320si car for Philip Geipel in the next two race meetings.
Geipel, 22-years old from Germany, will join regular drivers Franz Engstler and Kristian Poulsen at Brands Hatch and Oschersleben. "He is the first young driver we will give a chance to learn and grow in the WTCC as part of our Liqui Moly Junior Team project," explained team manger Kurt Treml.
Reigning champion of the German ADAC Procar series, Geipel made two previous appearances in the FIA WTCC: at Brno in 2006 and 2007, at the wheel of a Toyota Corolla T-sport.
MICHELISZ WINS PARTICIPATION IN BRANDS
Norbert Michelisz is the SEAT Eurocup driver who won WTCC participation in the next event at Brands Hatch. The 24-year old from Hungary emerged as the best scorer in Porto, claiming victory in the second race and climbing to second in the series classification.
This is the second time Michelisz joins the SUNRED Engineering WTCC team, as he had already won participation in last year’s races at Okayama.