With three back-to-back world championships achieved (from 2005 to 2007), BMW Team RBM’s Andy Priaulx is undoubtedly one of the most effective and consistent players in the FIA WTCC.
His recent victory in the second race at Monza, not only enabled him to close in on the championship leader Yvan Muller of Chevrolet, but also meant that the Briton was the first driver to go beyond the 500-point mark.
Since 2005 Priaulx started all the 116 WTCC races held so far, finishing 106 of them, claiming 14 wins (just one short of his current team-mate Augusto Farfus) and scoring 505 points (4.35 on the average per race).
According to the all-time scorers statistics, Muller and SEAT Customers Technology’s Gabriele Tarquini are placed immediately behind Priaulx. No wonder they both were also crowned world champions.
The Frenchman who won the 2008 title has collected 480 points over 94 races; however, because he did not join the championship until 2006, his 5.10 points average per race is better than Priaulx’s.
Tarquini, the reigning champion, is on 465 points over 113 races or 4.11 per race.
Andy Priaulx was the first driver to score more than 500 WTCC points
TURKINGTON JOINS WTCC FROM PORTUGAL
Reigning British Touring Car Champion, Colin Turkington, confirmed today he signed up for an initial three rounds of this year’s WTCC – and may be running further rounds.
Turkington plans to join the grid for the WTCC round in Portimão, followed by Brands Hatch and Brno at the wheel of a BMW 320si car run by West Surrey Racing.
"I feel this is a natural progression for me after last year’s victory in BTCC," said Turkington. "We were bitterly disappointed when we were unable to compete in a full programme. This opportunity – initially for three rounds – has been made possible through the support of a group of sponsors. We are really grateful to them and hopefully, with further support from others, we may be able to make additional rounds towards the end of the season."
The Irishman added: "This is part of our plan to target a full programme in 2011. We will be working hard over the coming months to demonstrate the WTCC is a fantastic event with which to be associated as a sponsor and will be speaking with a number of organisations in the hope they will come on board for next year."
WSR Team Principal, Dick Bennetts, commented: "We are all really looking forward to seeing how Colin and the team go in the WTCC. The guys have nearly finished rebuilding his BMW and we are just waiting on a fresh engine and some parts from BMW Motorsport, before doing some testing prior to our first race in Portimão."
Turkington and WSR are not new to WTCC as they took part in two events back in 2008 at Brands Hatch and Macau, claiming one 3rd and one 4th in their home race meeting.
Colin Turkington claimed a podium on his first WTCC appearance in 2007
PROTEAM DUO LEADS INDEPENDENTS‘ TROPHY
The Proteam Motorsport duo of Sergio Hernández and Stefano D’Aste is leading the WTCC Independents‘ Trophy after the first three events. They have both been crowned Independents‘ champions in the past: Hernández in 2008 for Proteam and D’Aste in 2007, when racing for Wiechers-Sport.
The latest race meeting in Monza provided ups and downs for the two drivers. D’Aste struggled in qualifying, but then shone in both races. He finished third in Race1, but was promoted to second following Bennani’s penalty, and later claimed his first victory of the season in Race 2.
His Spanish team-mate remained in the pits for most of the time during Friday’s testing and Saturday’s practice due to technical issues. In spite of this he completed both races, collecting 10 points that propelled him on top, with a gap of 5 ahead of D’Aste.
Their rivals are close behind: Mehdi Bennani and Franz Engstler are one and two further points adrift respectively, while Harry Vaulkhard lies fifth, with a 9-point gap from the leader.
SEAT DRIVERS DOMINATE ROOKIE CHALLENGE
The first three events of the season have seen a domination by SEAT drivers in the new Rookie Challenge. Making the most out of track layouts that favoured their TDI cars, Fredy Barth, Michel Nykjær and Norbert Michelisz have won all the six races held so far and built a comfortable margin ahead of Mehdi Bennani and his BMW.
At the wheel of his León car backed by SEAT Switzerland, Barth has already claimed four race victories and leads the standings with 48 points. During the latest meeting at Monza, Norbert Michelisz broke his winning duck by taking victory in Race 2; now Zengö-Dension Team’s Hungarian youngster chases Barth with a gap of just 5 points.
Nykjær – winner of the second race at Curitiba – saw an amazing overall victory in Monza vanishing because of a tyre failure. However, he is only two further points adrift.
HUFF JOINS RADERMECKER IN SPA 12 HOURS
Chevrolet WTCC drivers Rob Huff and Vincent Radermecker will take part in the 12 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, part of the the Belgian Touring Car Series (BTCS).
Huff and Radermecker will join former Formula One driver and local hero Eric Van de Poele at the wheel of a Vovo S60 silhouette car.
"I am delighted to have this opportunity to go back to Spa-Francorchamps. It is a magnificent track and the 12 Hours is a very nice event, with many cars and an enthusiastic crowd. I raced there in 2005, it was my first time in Spa. This time I am going to enjoy the experience and support Vincent and Eric in their BTCS campaign." said Huff.
Radermecker, who will join the Chevrolet WTCC team in Zolder driving a fourth Cruze, echoed: "The 12 Hours is quite an event for BTCS, and in terms of points can make the difference in the title fight, so it is important for Eric and me to do well there. Having with us a fast and motivated driver such as Rob will definitely be a plus. I am sure we will be competitive."