The FIA Action for Road Safety campaign received a substantial boost last weekend as the drivers and manufacturers of the World Touring Car Championship voiced their support. Assembled in Macao for the final rounds of the 2011 Championship, they posed for a group picture with the Action for Road Safety banner.
"Road cars have made huge steps forward in terms of safety equipment but both human driving behaviour and the road themselves need to be improved," said Championship promoter Marcello Lotti. "The FIA provides powerful motivation to improve safety standards in motor sport so it is a logical extension to take that further and contribute to awakening public opinion and making roads safer worldwide."
Three times WTCC Champion Yvan Muller commented: "Nobody is in a better position than racing drivers to know the risks and dangers of the road. Our experience can be very useful to reduce the number of deadly accidents, but this is often not exploited. When road users think of racing drivers they always think of speed and madness but that is completely wrong. On the contrary, our experience may be used to pass on very important messages about the necessity of evaluating potentially dangerous situations; road safety, braking distances, sobriety at the wheel and so on."
SUNRED racer Tiago Monteiro added: "Professional drivers in top level motorsport must provide an example. It is important to make road users aware that road safety is important and driving becomes very dangerous if you don’t take sufficient care. There are many simple ways to make the roads safer, and I think the FIA is correct to use us as a vehicle for this message, because, via motorsport, it will reach a lot of people."
Volvo driver Robert Dahlgren added: "Every campaign like this one deserves to receive a strong support. As a Volvo driver for the past eight years I am well aware of how important it is to emphasise safety on the roads. I think is a very good idea that our World Championship and its drivers support this campaign. If we can make a difference, that will be fantastic."
Action for Road Safety is the FIAs response and leading contribution to the challenges raised by the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, the aim of which is to prevent five million road deaths and countless serious injuries over the next ten years.
WTCC drivers show support to the FIA Action for Road Safety campaign
STR PLAN WTCC COMEBACK IN 2012
UK based Touring Car team Special Tuning Racing announced that they are working towards competing in the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship with SEAT Sport works customer support.
Team principal John Boardman and Technical Director Gary Robertshaw, visited the WTCC finale at Macau, where they met with SEAT Sport Director Jaime Puig and agreed the deal in principle for 2012.
STR will use a new SEAT Sport developed 1.6 T engine and gearbox package in their two WTCC latest specification León cars, receiving technical backup and engineering support from the Spanish manufacturer.
John Boardman commented: "We are very excited by the prospect of working closely with SEAT Sport as a customer ‚works‘ team. This will take our involvement with running SEAT touring cars to the next level. We have over eight years experience racing the León in the WTCC, BTCC and SEAT single make series. This support from SEAT will make us even more competitive in next season. We look forward to making our experience produce front running pace in the WTCC."
Special Tuning Racing will now be focusing on finalising the driver line up for 2012. The plan is to run two cars in the WTCC where they last raced in 2009, and two in the British Touring Car Championship.
Tom Boardman in the STR-run SEAT León during the 2009 WTCC season
POULSEN AND TEAM ENGSTLER WON YOKOHAMA TROPHIES
The fight for the Yokohama Drivers‘ Trophy culminated in a duel between two Danish drivers on the streets of Macau. And although Michel Nykjær drove his SUNRED León to clinch two great victories, it was his fellow countryman Kristian Poulsen who was sacred champion by two points.
"I won four out of the last six races and looking back at whole season, I can only be satisfied. We had some problems at the start of the year, which meant that we had to catch up. We managed to close the gap, but even though we lacked a few points at the end. Congratulations to Kristian for the title," Nykjær said.
Poulsen who had finished runner up to Sergio Hernández in 2010, won six races at the wheel of his BMW 320 TC and emerged as the best of the Yokohama Trophy competitors in the Drivers‘ Championship ranking seventh.
"The team did a great job for the whole season. I never had technical problems in the twenty-four races. I had to fight with some very good drivers and it was funny that in the end it was a Danish affair, between me and Michel. My last race was also the slowest of my career. The guys on the radio were telling me that I just needed to finish to become champion. I had to fight against my own instinct, but all I wanted was the title!" Poulsen commented.
With Poulsen’s team-mate Franz Engstler finishing in third position, Liqui Moly Team Engstler won the Yokohama Team’s Trophy.
"We are very proud. It’s a great honour for us! Since we joined the championship we tried to improve and this title is the result of the hard work we have done! We need to thank Liqui Moly as they made all this possible," team manager Kurt Treml commented.
The Jay-Ten Trophy, reserved for driver at the wheel of 2010 cars was won by Fabio Fabiani in BMW 320si cars run by Proteam Racing and Liqui Moly Team Engstler.
ROB HUFF IS THE MONROE PERFORMER
Rob Huff finished runner up in the WTCC Drivers‘ Championship behind Yvan Muller. However, the young Briton got himself the satisfaction to beat his Chevrolet team-mate in setting the most fastest laps during the season, being crowned as the 2012 Monroe Performer.
With nine fastest laps – against Muller’s eight – Huff not only erased the previous record of six, set by Jörg Müller in 2005 and matched by Gabriele Tarquini in 2010, but also won the Ducati motorcycle offered by Monroe.
Muller was awarded with a Elmoto electric bicycle and Alain Menu (two fastest laps) with a Marzocchi bicycle.
With eight fastest laps, Norbert Michelisz emerged as the Monroe Performer among the competitors of the Yokohama Trophy; the Hungarian races pocketed prize money for a total of 24,500 euros.
COUNTDOWN: – 107 DAYS
WTCC RACE OF ITALY – MONZA, MARCH 11, 2012