Gabriele Tarquini and Alexey Dudukalo will team once again in the 2012 WTCC.
The 2009 World Champion and the young Russian will race under the banner of the new Lukoil Racing Team at the wheel of two SEAT León cars powered by a new 1.6-litre turbo engine that is going to be homologated by SEAT.
"I’m very happy because Lukoil confirmed me as one of their drivers, and I’m also proud because they appointed me to raise the next generation of Russia’s racers. Now I’m eagerly looking forward to the new season. We will race again with the old León, but I expect a lot from the new SEAT engine. I believe we will be a much stronger package than last year, and in the position to fight with Chevrolet," Tarquini said.
Dudukalo added: "Last year our main problem was the engine, not enough powerful and reliable compared to our competitors. This time we will not have this problem, and furthermore we can rely on better experience and technical support."
Team director Evgeniy Malinovskiy concluded: "I am glad that Tarquini remained in our team. He is a professional and victory-focused driver, whose experience will help us to grow stronger. This year will be very important for Dudukalo; he won many Russian titles, but lacked experience in competition at such a high level. Now we expect more consistent results from him. WTCC is one of the most effective marketing and sporting tools for Lukoil; it is an excellent platform to create guest programmes for partners."
Lukoil Racing Team will hit the track for testing in the first days of February.
Lukoil Racing Team’s Tarquini and Dudukalo will use SEAT’s new 1.6L turbo engine
LIST OF CAR WEIGHTS PUBLISHED BY THE FIA
The FIA has published the list of the starting weights for the cars eligible to compete in the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The domination wielded by the Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T during the previous season resulted in its minimum weight being increased by 30 kilos, from 1150 to 1180.
The BMW 320 TC cars was given a weight of 1160 kg, 10 less compared to last year’s 1170.
Any other model which took part in the 2011 championship will start on 1150 kg; this includes the 2.0L normally aspirated BMW 320si (-5 kg compared to 2011), Chevrolet Cruze LT and Chevrolet Lacetti, the 2.0L turbo diesel SEAT León TDi and the 1.6L turbo SUNRED León 1.6T and Volvo C30 that had been accepted by national homologations.
These weights take into account the balance of performance set by the Touring Car Committee.
New models such as Ford Focus and SEAT León 1.6 TSi will be added later by the Touring Car Committee.
All the cars will start the season on the maximum compensation weight: 40 kilos added to their minimum weights.
The Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T cars will be 30 kilos heavier than in 2011
ENTRIES OPEN FOR 2012 FIA WTCC
Full season entries to the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship opened on January 16th, and will close on February 29th.
Competitors must submit their applications using the online entry form, downloadable at www.entryforms.fia.com , accompanied by the entry fee of euro 37,700. Conditions for the entry are described in Art. 36 of the Sporting Regulations.
Race-by-race entries must be submitted to the FIA at least fourteen days prior to the relevant event; the entry fee is euro 5,170.
CHEVY ENGINE’S DESIGNER RECEIVES AWARD
Arnaud Martin, head of engine design at RML and creator of the 1.6-litre turbo that powered the Chevrolet Cruze cars to dominate last year’s WTCC, was the recipient of the Race Engine Designer award in a night of celebration during the RACE TECH World Motorsport Symposium.
Martin was awarded the trophy for having produced an entirely new engine from a clean sheet of paper; what was particularly impressive was that him and his small team of engineers produced the winning power plant in just eight months on a very limited budget.
On receiving the award from Soheila Kimberley, RACE TECH’s Publishing Director, Arnaud Martin said: "I am very grateful that my team’s work had been so recognised and honoured, and it makes me especially proud to join such a prestigious list of previous winners."
Previous recipients of the award were Rob White (Renault F1), Ulrich Baretzky (Head of Engine Technology, Audi Sport) and Francois Coudrain (Peugeot Sport).
COUNTDOWN: – 51 DAYS
WTCC RACE OF ITALY – MONZA, 11 MARCH 2012