Italy-based ROAL Motorsport will step up to a two-car team for the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship. After making their comeback to the series in 2011, with only one BMW 320 TC car, the outfit directed by former world champion Roberto Ravaglia are ready to double their effort adding Alberto Cerqui to Tom Coronel.
Coronel is facing his second season with the team; the 39-year old Dutchman emerged as the best of the rest in 2011, claiming one victory at Suzuka and being classified fourth in the Drivers‘ Championship behind the Chevrolet trio.
The team’s second car will be entrusted to Italian racer Cerqui; although he is only 19 years old, he has already established himself as a rising star in touring car competitions, clinching the 2011 Italian Superstars title on his first year in a professional championship.
Team principal Ravaglia commented: "I am extremely satisfied for lining up two cars in 2012. It won’t be easy to repeat the good results we achieved in 2011, but I am confident. Tom provides experience and reliability, while Alberto has already shown his talent in adapting to new circuits."
"2011 was a positive year. Race after race I improved the feeling with the team and we ended up fighting for the podium in the last four rounds. Starting from last year’s fourth place, our goal is to improve and win some more races; I feel I can fight for third in the championship," Coronel stated.
Cerqui added: "After winning the Italian Superstars, WTCC was the obvious choice to continue my career in touring car racing. Having the opportunity to continue racing for ROAL Motorsport is a further reason to rejoice, though I am aware that is not going to be a walk in the park as most of the tracks are new to me and the level of competition is very high."
After winning last year in Suzuka, ROAL Motorsport aim for more with two cars
CHEVROLET BEGIN TESTING PROGRAMME IN SPAIN
The Chevrolet team set off for the 2012 season, when they will defend their second consecutive WTCC Drivers‘ and Manufacturers‘ title.
The Cruze racing car hit the track for the first time in a two-day testing session, on Tuesday and Wednesday, at Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
Alain Menu was at the wheel of the test-car: "I haven’t been driving a race car since Macau and is definitely very nice to be behind the wheel again! We were lucky to enjoy very good weather in Valencia and this allowed to take the maximum out of these two days. We achieved quite some mileage and performed the entire program foreseen. Basically, we tested a number of small evolutions, related to both the chassis and the engine, and everything went well."
RML Project Manager Ron Hartvelt added: "The data collected in Spain will be very helpful in our work towards signing off the 2012 specs of the Cruze."
The Chevrolet team will be again at Valencia early February, with two cars for Yvan Muller and Rob Huff.
Alan Menu tested the Chevrolet Cruze at Valencia on Tuesday and Wednesday
A BUSY START TO THE SEASON FOR ROB HUFF
The 2012 season has already kicked off in a busy way for 2011 WTCC vice-champion Rob Huff.
The Chevrolet racer attended last week the launch of the Cruze turbo road car for Israel’s press, that took place at Donington Park. Huff attended the press conference and then took the car through a gymkhana course to demonstrate and challenge the journalists.
This weekend Huff will also appear at the Autosport International at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, being available for interviews and autograph signings.
COUNTDOWN: – 58 DAYS
WTCC RACE OF ITALY – MONZA, 11 MARCH 2012