Hungary-based Zengö Motorsport step up from one to two cars. After having confirmed WTCC race winner Norbert Michelisz the team have entered a second BMW 320 TC for the 39-year-old Gábor Wéber who succeeded Michelisz in winning the SEAT León Eurocup in 2010.
Michelisz said: "I can’t wait the 2012 season to start. Monza is going to be quite interesting, but I hope we can be at least as competitive as we were there last year. I know that this season will be a huge challenge and with Gábor Wéber as my team-mate, I think it’s possible to fight more frequently for top positions as he is a very competitive driver, and we know each other very well."
And Wéber added: "We’ve been working on the project for months and finally we are there. I’m very happy to be back with Zengö Motorsport, and to team with Norbert. He was my teammate in the SEAT Cup and we share the same fighting spirit. Together we can be even stronger to challenge for the Yokohama Trophy."
Gábor Wéber joins fellow countryman Norbert Michelisz at Zengö Mosorport
TIAGO MONTEIRO TEAMS WITH PEPE ORIOLA
Tiago Monteiro remains in the WTCC and with SEAT for a sixth consecutive year. The Portuguese racer will team with Pepe Oriola at SUNRED Engineering; they will be at the wheel of SEAT León cars run under the name of Tuenti Racing Team.
Since 2007 Monteiro claimed 15 podium results, including four race victories in the world championship.
"I am very pleased to be renewing my contract with SEAT Tuenti Racing Team. It’s an extension that is pretty obvious from a competitive and commercial standpoint. The brand is increasingly committed to the championship and the best proof of that is that the improvements made to the car this year are significant: a new engine and several major technical developments," declared Monteiro who will take part in a test session at Imola before the season opening at Monza.
"I can’t wait to get back to competition in the strictest sense. Next week, the Imola tests will be very important for preparing for the start of the season. These tests will be brief but no stone will be left unturned."
BAMBOO SIGN MACDOWALL AND DI SABATINO
Alex MacDowall and Pasquale Di Sabatino are the drivers signed by bamboo-engineering for their 2012 campaign.
The 21-year-old MacDowall joins the team after two years with the Chevrolet RML squad in the British Touring Car Championship, while Di Sabatino (24 years old) competed in the Auto GP Series in 2011.
Team Principal Richard Coleman said: "We’re delighted to have Alex and Pasquale with us. Alex has proved himself in the BTCC over the last two seasons and I’m sure he’ll shine at world level as well. Pasquale has no previous Touring Car experience but he’s a very quick racing driver and I’m sure he’ll adapt quickly to the car."
O’YOUNG JOINS BOARDMAN AT STR
Special Tuning Racing announced their driver line-up for the 2012 season. WTCC regular Darryl O’Young will join Tom Boardman who returns to the world championship after two years that he successfully spent in the British Touring Car Championship.
The team will run two SEAT León cars powered by SEAT Sport’s new 1.6 litre turbo engine.
"I’m really looking forward to the new season. I have a lot of confidence in the car, as SEAT worked hard to develop the engine and STR have years of experience with them," O’Young said. Team principal John Boardman commented: "Darryl is an exceptional talent. He has raced all over the world and his experience speaks for itself. He will be a great asset for the team."
ENGSTLER AND NG TO TEAM TOGETHER
Germany-based Liqui Moly Team Engstler announced Franz Engstler and Charles Kaki Ng as their drivers for the 2012 WTCC, at the wheel of two BMW 320 TC cars.
On their attempt to defend the Yokohama Drivers‘ and Teams‘ Trophies won in 2011, the German outfit mix Engstler’s experience with Ng’s youthful enthusiasm.
The 50-year-old Engstler claimed his and the team’s first WTCC victory last year at Oschersleben, while Ng (27 year old) joined the squad for the last three events of the season and managed to score his first championship point at Shanghai.
"It was a very promising start for him," said team manager Kurt Treml, adding: "Charles has moved to live in our town, works together with the mechanics and trains on the simulator. He is quickly integrating himself with the team."
RICKARD RYDELL TO RACE AT MONZA
Chevrolet Motorsport Sweden and reigning Scandinavian Touring Car champion Rickard Rydell will take part in the WTCC opening at Monza, marking the drivers‘ comeback to the world championship in which he claimed five race victories between 2005 and 2009.
Chevrolet Motorsport Sweden’s main target for the season is to retain the Scandinavian title, but the team also assess the opportunity of an extended WTCC programme, with further outings possible later this year.
"It will be great to return to WTCC, and particularly to do it together with an all-Swedish team. Our aim for the year ahead is to retain our STCC title, and the WTCC outing will provide us with a valuable opportunity to get back into the racing groove," said Rydell.
LAUNCH OF THE MARRAKECH EVENT
The WTCC Race of Morocco that will take place at Marrakech on April 15, was launched during a press conference at Casablanca’s Hyatt Regency Hotel.
In front of a large representative of local media, event promoter Aly Horma announced that the Marrakech street circuit has been renamed after His Highness Moulay El Hassan, heir to Morocco’s throne.
"We are deeply grateful to His Majesty the King for this great honour. It is an important recognition and a reward for the huge efforts we have done to establish this event. We are also very happy for the deal we have signed with Eurosport Events that grants the future of the WTCC race meeting for the next three years," Horma commented.
WTCC promoter Marcello Lotti said: "We are very pleased to come back to Marrakech that must be proud to be the only African venue to host an FIA world championship."
The Casablanca press conference launched the WTCC event at Marrakech