The FIA World Touring Car Championship is pushing further in support of FIA’s Action for Road Safety campaign that aims for reducing the number of the victims of road incidents worldwide.
After posing for a picture with the campaign banner, last year in Macau, the WTCC driver took part at Monza in a number of initiatives.
On Friday Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini met a group of teen-agers from a local high school; the two WTCC champions performed behind-the-wheel demonstrations and explained secrets and correct behaviors of driving on the roads, showing that while they are famed for taking cars to their limit on the track, driving on public roads is about more than pace and power.
Later Muller and Tarquini were joined by fellow drivers Tom Chilton and Mehdi Bennani to record multi-lingual TV messages to young drivers about road safety, and in particular in support of FIA Action for Road Safety.
Speaking in their own native languages, the drivers pointed out that 1.3 mllion people are killed each year on the world’s roads – a number equivalent to the population of Milan. They also added that fatalities on the roads are the main cause of death among young people aged 15-29 and that 90 per cent of those youngsters come from developing countries.
On Saturday the FIA President Jean Todt met the boys and girls who had attended Friday’s event and presented them with a certificate of participation.
The President and all WTCC drivers also posed for a picture, showing the FIA Golden Rules for a safe driving.
For the whole season the Action for Road Safety logo will be sported on all WTCC cars and the drivers‘ helmets, in the steps of Formula One and World Rally Championship.
Tarquini, Muller and Chilton with the group of Italian teen-agers at Monza
FORD CARS COMPLETED BOTH RACES AT MONZA
Team Aon drivers Tom Chilton and James Nash completed both races at Monza, on their maiden appearance in the WTCC.
The Britons equally shared 13th and 16th places at the wheel of their brand new Ford Focus S2000 TC cars, despite being both involved in incidents (Nash in Race 1, Chilton in Race 2) that affected the drivability of their cars.
Chilton commented: "We didn’t have the greatest of luck during the races but it was great to see that the car has potential in qualifying and race set-up. I think we can be proud of what we’ve achieved in our first race weekend."
And Nash added: "The team did a fantastic job all weekend, after the damage from race one they were outstanding when they worked on the car. I think we can be proud to have been so close to the other cars in terms of pace."
Team Principal Mike Earle said: "This weekend has seen the team go through an almost vertical learning curve – which is what we expected in a new series, on a new track, with a new engine and a highly modified car. We’ve shown though that we’ve been very close to the pace of some of the front runners and all in all it’s been an incredibly promising start to the season which the team can be proud of."
Chilton and Nash are optimist after their Ford cars completed both races at Monza
THREE ABREAST IN THE YOKOHAMA TROPHY
The fight for top positions in the Yokohama Trophy is already incredibly close. At Monza a bunch of drivers provided breathtaking fights for the leadership and also challenged the top drivers for the overall positions.
Eventually Pepe Oriola in a Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León and Stefano D’Aste with the Wiechers-Sport BMW 320 TC shared victories, but Alex MacDowall, Norbert Michelisz, Alberto Cerqui, Aleksei Dudukalo and Franz Engstler were also in the leading pack.
This resulted in D’Aste, Oriola and MacDowall co-leading the standings on equal points, while Engstler and Michelisz are only two and three points adrift respectively.
"It was a very hard race and and the car worked perfectly. It was a hard fight with Dudukalo, but in the end he ran on oil at Lesmo I could pass him. I didn’t want to take too many risks because I was concentrating on scoring good points," Oriola said after Race 1.
D’Aste declared after winning Race 2: "After the first race the team managed to solve an issue with the gearbox and I had a very good start. When I saw the Chevrolet cars in my mirrors, it felt like being in the sea with three blue sharks approaching, but my goal was to score points in the Trophy and that’s what I had to concentrate on doing."
Newcomer MacDowall stated: "I’m happy to come away from my first ever WTCC event tied at the top. I was pleased with a second and third but I still think I could’ve won that final race had it not been for that small mistake. But this is the perfect start for me."
BARLESI AND WÉBER WATCHED BY THE STEWARDS
WTCC rookies Andrea Barlesi and Gábor Wéber will be thoroughly watched by the Stewards during the next three events as they both were given suspended penalties for causing incidents during the first race at Monza. In both cases the victims were Proteam Racing’s drivers.
SUNRED Engineering’s Barlesi was deemed guilty for the collision that forced Mehdi Bennani out of the race, while Zengö Motorsport’s Wéber had his responsibilities in the retirement of Isaac Tutumlu, Bennani’s team-mate.
Should they commit similar infringements in one of the next three events, Barlesi and Wéber risk to be dropped ten positions on the grid.
VALVOLINE NEW SERIES PARTNER FOR WTCC
Valvoline, the world’s first lubricant brand, signed a multi-year partnership with the WTCC. As an Official Series Partner, Valvoline will be promoted around all six European Events and the WTCC Race of Morocco via the Valvoline Grid Girls and Valvoline Winner’s Enclosure.
"We are delighted to welcome a brand with such prestige and rich history as Valvoline to the world’s premier Touring Car Championship," stated Marcello Lotti, WTCC General Manager.
"As the world’s first lubricant brand, racing is in our heritage," said Rogier van Vlijmen, Marketing Manager Valvoline Europe. "The WTCC enables us to establish a point of difference, whilst growing our brand awareness within our core markets as an Official Partner."