The 3rd and 4th rounds of the 2011 FIA WTCC will take place at Zolder next week.
This event marks the opening of the championship’s European season that will come to an end on September 4th at Valencia, before the final tour to the Far East.
This is the second visit to the 4-km Belgian racetrack after last year’s event that saw Gabriele Tarquini and Andy Priaulx sharing victories for SEAT and BMW.
The WTCC resumes in Zolder after a five-week break that followed the season’s kick off at Curitiba, Brazil.
The Chevrolet team go to Belgium with the aim to defend their leadership in both the Drivers‘ and Manufacturers‘ Championship.
Current leader Rob Huff will be the man to watch. Not only because he won this year’s inaugural race in Brazil, as he also wants to make up from the 2010 disappointment, when Priaulx’s masterly defence driving deprived him of a possible victory in the second race.
Besides Huff’s team-mates at Chevrolet Yvan Muller and Alain Menu, other candidates to shine on the Belgian circuit are Gabriele Tarquini and especially Tom Coronel. The latter will benefit from the enthusiastic support of the many fans that will make the short trip from Netherlands to cheer their favourite driver.
Circuit Zolder hosts next week the second event of the WTCC season
TEAMS WORK AROUND THE CLOCK BEFORE ZOLDER
Three WTCC teams are working around the clock to get ready in time for the Belgian event.
Yesterday bamboo-engineering collected their two new Chevrolet Cruze cars today at RML factory in Wellingborough. The cars were shaken down by Chevrolet driver Alain Menu at a nearby airfield.
Bamboo’s drivers Darryl O’Young and Yukinori Taniguchi had started the season in Brazil with the old Chevrolet Lacetti machines powered by the 2.0L normally aspirated engines. From Zolder onwards they switch to the Cruze 1.6 turbo.
Team Principal Richard Coleman said: "We are very pleased, as now we can look forward to regaining our competitiveness. We appreciate the huge effort that RML and Chevrolet have made to get these cars ready for this weekend. The shakedown went well and the cars are now ready to go. Darryl and Yuke will get their first run in the cars in Friday’s test and I’m sure they will adapt very well and quickly get up to speed."
At the same time Wiechers-Sport and Zengö Dension Team are frantically working to finish building their new cars. Both teams were forced to miss the season opening event in Brazil while waiting to receive their new BMW 320 TC cars that will be driven by Urs Sonderegger and Norbert Michelisz respectively. Their plan is to shake down the cars early next week.
Two new Chevrolet Cruze 1.6 Turbo cars were delivered to bamboo-engineering
WTCC TO RACE AT BUDAPEST IN JUNE
Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2011 FIA World Touring Car Championship will take place at Budapest’s Hungaroring on June 5.
The WTCC Race of Hungary replaces the WTCC Race of Morocco that was scheduled on the same weekend at Marrakech but was cancelled after the local promoter was not able to secure the financial support required to keep the event going. This will be the first time the WTCC visits the 4.4km racetrack that is home to the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix.
Championship promoter Marcello Lotti said: "We are very happy that the opportunity arose to find a worthy replacement for Marrakech. Budapest is the perfect solution: it is a modern and demanding circuit with impressive facilities, brings the championship to a new country in which WTCC has a lot of fans thanks to Norbert Michelisz and also means huge saving in terms of logistics as it lies only 350 km away from Brno that hosts the following event."
Zsolt Gyulay, CEO of the Hungaroring Sport Plc. echoed: "I am very glad that Hungary was given the chance to stage a WTCC event. This FIA World Championship is the second most popular series after Formula One. For this reason I think that the Hungaroring has added another prestigious international event to its racing calendar and this is also invaluable to Hungary because of the tourism. We sincerely hope that the WTCC Race of Hungary will be exciting and interesting for the Hungarian and the foreign fans. It is of high importance to us that Hungarian driver Norbert Michelisz can compete in front of Hungarian audience and at a Hungarian track for the first time in the series‘ history."
Norbert Michelisz commented: "I am very happy because this is a great opportunity to show how competitive we are. I was racing at the Hungaroring from the beginning of my career, so I know the circuit well. It makes me very proud to race in front of my home supporters and I will be aiming for some good results to please my fans."
Hungarian motor sport fans will have the opportunity to attend WTCC races
EUROSPORT LAUNCHES THE WTCC SEASON IN MUNICH
For the fifth consecutive year Eurosport Events invited more than 250 guests, including partners, teams and media, to an exclusive season launch in Munich’s "Upside East" roof garden.
Championship promoter Marcello Lotti, Eric Nève, Motorsport Manager of Chevrolet, and Kurt Treml, Marketing and Team Director of Liqui Moly Team Engstler took part in a conversation on the status of the championship after the first two races in Curitiba.