The FIA World Touring Car Championship will resume next week after a 50-day break, when rounds 15 and 16 takes place at Autódromo Internacional de Curitiba, Brazil.
This will be the seventh time the 3.7 km circuit that lies on a plateau 900 metres above the sea level, has hosted the WTCC. After having been the championship opener from 2007 to 2011, the Brazilian event has been put off to the mid season, just like it happened on the world championships first visit back in 2006. And this means that competitors will have to cope with wintry weather conditions.
Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini are the most victorious drivers here, with three race wins apiece. Speaking of Manufacturers, SEAT claimed six victories against three for BMW and Chevrolet. The latter was victorious in three out of the last four races, including a double success in 2011 with Rob Huff in Race 1 and Alain Menu in Race 2.
After sharing last years event with the Brazilian Stockcar championship, this year the WTCC is staged together with the Copa Petrobras de Marcas. Now on its second season, this category is reserved for saloon cars that are close enough to the WTCCs for technical concept and performance.
SEAT AND BMW LOSE 30 KILOS FOR BRAZIL
The SEAT León WTCC and the BMW 320 TC cars will benefit from a significant weight reduction for the next event at Curitiba.
Both these models will be 30 kilos lighter than they were in Portimão.
The Chevrolet Cruze remains the reference car according to the calculation based on the lap times set in the three previous events (Hungary, Austria and Portugal) and will be laden once again with the maximum 40kg ballast.
The BMW 320 TC cars will have only 10 extra kilos on board, while the SEAT León WTCC will run on their minimum weight.
Once again the Ford Focus and SUNRED León 1.6T cars will benefit from a 20kg reduction of their minimum weight.
Compensation weight Curitiba
+ 40 kg : Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
+ 10 kg : BMW 320 TC
± 0 kg : SEAT León WTCC
– 20 kg : Ford Focus S2000, SUNRED León 1.6T
GÁBOR WÉBER TO SKIP BRAZILIAN EVENT
The Zengö Motorsport team have shipped only Norbert Micheliszs car to Brazil. Therefore Gábor Wéber will not take part in the races at Curitiba.
Entering a second car has been a huge achievement and a great opportunity for the team. We knew from the start that funding Wéber’s overseas races was problematic. We managed to buy the car at the last moment, which didn’t make things easier. Wéber has been through a difficult period as he had to adapt to WTCC without any testing. I hope he may rejoin soon, team manager György Juni explained.
Wéber who managed to score championship points at the Slovakia Ring and Hungaroring commented: We decided to skip Brazil for budget reasons. We need new sponsors and we are still working on that. It has been a valuable experience, especially adjusting myself to rear-wheel drive after years of racing front-wheel drive cars. Motor sport at this level is not forgiving; I made a few mistakes, had some bad luck, but all in all I felt getting better with every weekend and being seventh in qualifying at Portimão was a good way to finish the European season. My plan is to continue in WTCC, maybe even this year, but the main goal is to race a full campaign in 2013.
YVAN MULLER GOES TO SAN FRANCISCO
On his way to Curitiba, Yvan Muller will stop over at San Francisco to take part in another event set to promote the WTCC Race of USA that will take place at Sonoma on September 23.
Next Monday at 11.30 local time, the reigning champion, Chevrolet Motorsport Manager Eric Nève and the President of Sonoma
racetrack Steve Page will appear in a press conference on the steps of California State Capitol. Mullers Chevrolet Cruze racing cars will be exhibited on the spot.
A session of one-to-one interviews with representatives of local media will follow. Race fans are also welcome to attend.
In the afternoon Muller will appear in the popular weekly motor-sports show Race Week on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and later he will be interviewed by Kron-TV San Francisco.
EUROSPORT TV PROGRAMMES FROM CURITIBA *
Saturday, 21 July – 21.00/21.45 : Qualifying LIVE on Eurosport 1
Sunday, 22 July – 15.00/15.30 : Warm Up on Eurosport 1
Sunday, 22 July – 19.45/22.00 : Races 1 & 2 LIVE on Eurosport 1
Thursday, 26 July – 01.00/01.30 : Inside WTCC on Eurosport 1
* all times CET
WTCC DRIVERS SHINE IN OTHER SERIES
A few WTCC drivers did not stop racing in spite of the long break between Portimão and Curitiba. They tried different categories, and with a certain success.
Darryl OYoung returned to Algarve to claim fourth position in the FIA GT1 race at the wheel of a Lamborghini Gallardo he shared with former FIA European Super Production champion Peter Kox.
Yvan Muller covered 1600 kilometres commuting between Le Mans and Tours to take part in the Le Mans Classic and the Euro Racecar Series on the same weekend. Driving Chevrolet cars, the Frenchman pocketed two podiums: third in the GT class at Le Mans in a 1971 Corvette Stingray and third at Tours in a Camaro.
Norbert Michelisz raced once more on his home soil for the Superstars event at Budapest, where the young Hungarian drove his BMW M3 to second in qualifying and third in Race 1.