The 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship is bound for a new record in broadcasting figures, according to the interim evaluation report released by REPUCOM.
Figure show that the global coverage of the 2013 WTCC totaled to 515 hours of dedicated broadcasts, a 9.3% increase compared to the same period last year.
The increased number of hours, also reflected in a higher media impact (advertising equivalent value), which was also increased by 3.6% compared to the 2012 season.
241 million people tuned in for watching the first six events of the season, and this is comparable with last year, when 254 million people watched WTCC on the TV all over the world. The interim report shows that the first half of the season was televised over 188 countries on 88 different channels worldwide, 59 free-to-air and 28 on cable or satellite, or pan-regional channels.
Ulrich Lacher, Global Director Enterprise Services – REPUCOM said: “WTCC media figures are very encouraging and point out a sustained development as the series continues to grow. New television markets are being opened up and new audiences are being reached. With Citroën joining the championship next year and the Russian market now established with the Moscow Raceway as an important venue, we expect 2014 to show even greater results.”
Antonios Argyropoulos, Head of Media Rights Distribution – Eurosport Events said: “We are delighted with the figures released by REPUCOM, as they prove that WTCC’s popularity is steadily growing. We are really encouraged by this evidence and the trust that our broadcast partners around the world are placing in the championship.”
THOMPSON HAPPY WITH LADA’S RESULTS
The LADA Sport Lukoil team successfully completed their first full WTCC season proving that performance of the Granta car were steadily improving.
After scoring points in seven races – that placed him 14th in the Drivers’ Championship – during the final event at Macau James Thompson came close to achieve LADA’s first podium result in the World Championship.
After he classified ninth in Friday’s qualifying and fourth in Sunday’s morning warm-up, Thompson was stopped in the first race by a trivial technical problem. In the second race he started from second on the top-ten reverse grid and chased the leader Tom Coronel until the two final laps, when he dropped to fourth behind Rob Huff and James Nash; eventually Thompson was punted into the wall by Pepe Oriola.
“It was a big disappointment for everyone in our team. After the restart I lost a bit of pace in the first sector but I was confident that we would be able to make it up in the second sector, where we had been very quick all weekend. I reckoned that we could even fight Tom Coronel for first place. But then, after Oriola went into me, it was impossible to carry on: a real pity!” the Briton commented.
However he is positive on how the season went: “On the whole, it’s been really good for us. Our goal was originally to be somewhere in the middle of the grid, but by the first half of the season we were already fighting in the top-ten. Then, in the Asian rounds we were in very good shape: sixth in Japan, eight in China and fighting for a podium in Macau. I’m very proud of the whole team and I’ve got no doubt that we’re going to have another even more competitive car for 2014. Before then, we’ve got a lot of work to do and there are many tests ahead of us. I’m really looking forward to next year.”
NASH WINS THE YOKOHAMA TROPHY
On his second WTCC season, James Nash clinched the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy, beating his bamboo-engineering team-mate Alex MacDowall.
At the wheel of his Chevrolet Cruze car, the young Englishman established himself among the championship’s top drivers from the beginning of the season. Fast and consistent, Nash was capable of winning two overall races (Salzburgring and Porto) and finished on the podium on three other occasions.
Eventually this helped him to claim a brilliant third place in the WTCC Drivers’ Championship, the best result ever for a non-factory driver.
“We came with a plan to secure the Yokohama Trophy title and if we could, a top three overall too. To have achieved both is simply fantastic! I drove a controlled opening race. I knew what I had to do which was to stay ahead of Chilton and with that in-hand there was no need to try anything ahead. I simply had to concentrate on bringing the car home in the points. The second race though, was pretty dramatic. I got ahead of Thompson off the grid and tucked in behind leader Coronel going down to the first real corner but then I could see all hell breaking loose in my mirrors as quite a few cars smashed into each other and blocked the track. I think had the race not been stopped I would have been good for a podium at least but the two rolling starts that followed rather mucked things up for me,” a delighted Nash commented.
TANIGUCHI CLAIMS FIRST ASIA TROPHY
Yukinori Taniguchi celebrated his comeback to the WTCC by claiming the first edition of the championship’s Asia Trophy.
The Japanese driver, who had been a regular in the world championship in 2010 and 2011, was given the possibility to replace Fredy Barth at Wiechers-Sport, for his home race meeting at Suzuka.
He had no plans to join for other races, but a couple of second places in the Asia Trophy at Suzuka whetted his appetite and convinced him that it was worth a try. So he sealed a last minute deal with Campos Racing for driving a SEAT León at Shanghai, where he won both the trophy’s races.
The title was nearly in the pocket, however he needed to race in Macau to be sure. Another last-minute move brought him at the wheel of the Nika Racing Chevrolet Cruze and Taniguchi settled the matter with a victory in the first race, despite strong pressure from Campos Racing’s Michael Soong. The second race in Macau went to Henry Ho in a Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320si.
Taniguchi also established an odd record, becoming the first driver in WTCC history to race for three different teams and in three different cars during the same season.
SOME FAMOUS WORD FROM MACAU
Pepe Oriola: “After the second interruption, I saw we had the podium within reach and didn’t hesitate to fight for it. It was a great race, I had so much fun.”
Tom Chilton: “Race two was just another disaster – again contact put me out of the race. I am just really upset that I was caught up in other people’s mistakes.”
Ron Harvelt, RML: “It has been a pleasure for everyone at RML to work with Yvan over the past four years and with a bit of emotion we wish him good luck for the future.”
Tiago Monteiro: “When it is so close like that on this very, very tough circuit there is just no room for the smallest error.”
Rob Huff: “I started seventh and finished first, but passed thirteen people in total. Figure that out!”
Marc Basseng: “That’s a great team result and our most successful event ever in the WTCC!”
Alex MacDowall: “To come back with the car in one piece was something after the carnage in race two!”
Tom Coronel: “Being on the podium after the final race of the season is always good.”
Stefano D’Aste: “I was chasing Basseng and Oriola, but their cars were faster on the straight. I was quicker in the second sector, but it’s impossible to pass there…”
Mikhail Kozlovskiy: “I didn’t expect so many accidents to happen under the safety car! Many drivers were pushing really hard in the last race of the season and weren’t especially thinking about saving their cars…”
Tom Boardman: “Coronel was in front of me but I was a lot quicker than him through Mandarin and was able to overtake him pretty easily, and that was it really.”
BORKOVIĆ UPGRADES FROM ETCC TO WTCC
Dušan Borković is the first independent driver to announce his participation in the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The 29-year old Serbian will drive a SEAT León run by NIS Petrol Racing Team with the support of Campos Racing. After claiming the Category 1 title in the 2012 FIA European Hill Climbing Championship at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, during the current season Borković took part in the FIA European Touring Car Cup. He began the season at the wheel of a SEAT León, with which he won at the Salzburgring, before switching to a Chevrolet Cruze for the two final race meetings.
Eventually he was classified third in the Super 2000 Drivers‘ Cup.
“This was not an easy decision and I’m glad to have taken it together with my team. The fact that I will be driving alongside some of the greatest race car drivers, including a true legend like Sébastien Loeb, and will be able to compete in a world championship is a great achievement for me. I will take 2014 as an apprenticeship year to learn the tracks in view of 2015. I will do my best to achieve the best possible results, however whatever it comes will make me happy,” Borković said.