FIA WTCC https://www.fiawtcc.com Real cars, real racing Mon, 16 Jan 2017 15:16:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 From mission impossible to mission accomplished for WTCC racer Coronel https://www.fiawtcc.com/from-mission-impossible-to-mission-accomplished-for-wtcc-racer-coronel/ Mon, 16 Jan 2017 05:00:12 +0000 https://www.fiawtcc.com/?p=252163

Tom Coronel has revealed how his twin brother Tim helped him to achieve a family double on the grueling Dakar Rally in South America last weekend.

Both Coronels reached the finish of the demanding cross-country event in their self-built buggies having covered more than 9000 kilometres.

At the finish in Buenos Aires, an emotional Tom Coronel, a double race winner in the FIA World Touring Car Championship last season, said: “Mission accomplished. This was our goal, to get two buggies to the finish. We managed to do that, also thanks to the excellent preparation by Tim. During the rally, he was my fast assistance, he drove behind me all the time. I had quite a few problems I am sure I would never have been able to solve them myself, or at least not this fast.

“All in all, it was a really tough one. For me, it was harder than two years ago when we made the documentary. On two occasions, I was about to call it a day. It was Tim who pulled me through. ‘Come on, don’t be so negative, just keep on going,’ he said all the time. You get to the point where you are really, really tired. You only get one hour of sleep per night, so you fall asleep behind the wheel. Conditions were anything but ideal, but we got so many stories to tell in years to come, moments in which others would have stopped long before already. I really went further than in the previous two years, but the joy is all the bigger for it. I couldn’t have dreamt about this four days ago. Thanks Tim, thanks to the team, thanks to the sponsors. Had it not been for you, I wouldn’t have made it.”

Coronel is expected to announce his WTCC campaign at the end of the month. The new World Touring Car Championship season begins in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-9 April.]]>

Tom Coronel has revealed how his twin brother Tim helped him to achieve a family double on the grueling Dakar Rally in South America last weekend.

Both Coronels reached the finish of the demanding cross-country event in their self-built buggies having covered more than 9000 kilometres.

At the finish in Buenos Aires, an emotional Tom Coronel, a double race winner in the FIA World Touring Car Championship last season, said: “Mission accomplished. This was our goal, to get two buggies to the finish. We managed to do that, also thanks to the excellent preparation by Tim. During the rally, he was my fast assistance, he drove behind me all the time. I had quite a few problems I am sure I would never have been able to solve them myself, or at least not this fast.

“All in all, it was a really tough one. For me, it was harder than two years ago when we made the documentary. On two occasions, I was about to call it a day. It was Tim who pulled me through. ‘Come on, don’t be so negative, just keep on going,’ he said all the time. You get to the point where you are really, really tired. You only get one hour of sleep per night, so you fall asleep behind the wheel. Conditions were anything but ideal, but we got so many stories to tell in years to come, moments in which others would have stopped long before already. I really went further than in the previous two years, but the joy is all the bigger for it. I couldn’t have dreamt about this four days ago. Thanks Tim, thanks to the team, thanks to the sponsors. Had it not been for you, I wouldn’t have made it.”

Coronel is expected to announce his WTCC campaign at the end of the month. The new World Touring Car Championship season begins in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-9 April.]]>
WTCC season build-up: #2 Italy https://www.fiawtcc.com/wtcc-season-build-up-2-italy/ Sun, 15 Jan 2017 11:00:39 +0000 https://www.fiawtcc.com/?p=252141

The FIA World Touring Car Championship returns to Monza in Italy for the second event of the 2017 season from 28-30 April. This is everything you need to know.

TRACK ESSENTIALS
Name: Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Location: Via Vedano, 5, 20900 Monza MB, Italy
Website: www.monzanet.it
Length: 5.793 kilometres
Opening Race distance: 9 laps (52.137km)
Main Race distance: 11 laps (63.723km)
Lap record (qualifying): Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze), 1m56.486s (179.03kph), 23/03/13
Lap record (race): Rob Huff (Chevrolet Cruze), 1m59.000s (175.25kph), 11/03/12
WTCC appearances: Eight (WTCC Race of Italy took place at Imola in 2009)
Time zone: GMT +2 hours
Sunrise/sunset: To follow
Average temperature: To follow
Nearest airport: Milan Linate (26 kilometres)

TRACK GUIDE IN 100 WORDS
Built in 1922, Monza is not only the spiritual home of Italian motor racing but also the WTCC: the inaugural FIA World Touring Car Championship event took place at the track north of Milan in 1987, while the first race of the WTCC’s new era in 2005 was also held on Monza’s high-speed layout. With the legendary parkland venue missing from the World Touring Car schedule since 2013, its return for 2017 will be keenly felt when famous turns like the Curva Grande, Lesmo and Parabolica will resonate to the sound of TC1 World Touring Cars for the first time.

THE WINNERS
2013: Race 1: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze); Race 2: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze)
2012: R1: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze); R2: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze)
2011: R1: Rob Huff (Chevrolet Cruze); R2: Rob Huff (Chevrolet Cruze)
2010: R1: Andy Priaulx (BMW 320si); R2: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze)
2009: R1: Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT León); R2: Yvan Muller (SEAT León)
2008: R1: Yvan Muller (SEAT León); R2: Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT León)
2007: R1: Yvan Muller (SEAT León); R2: Jordi Gené (SEAT León)
2006: R1: Andy Priaulx (BMW 320si); R2: Augusto Farfus (Alfa Romeo 156)
2005: R1: Dirk Muller (BMW 320i); R2: James Thompson (Alfa Romeo 156)

THE VENUES
2005-2008, 2010-2013, 2017: Autodromo Nazionale Monza
2009: Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari

FIVE FACTS
1: The inaugural WTCC season began in 1987 with the controversial Monza 500. BMW drivers, including eventual champion Roberto Ravaglia, filled the top six places but were excluded when their M3s were found to be underweight. Allan Moffatt and John Harvey (Holden VL Commodore SS) inherited the outright win but as they were not eligible for WTCC points, Italians Walter Voulaz and Marcello Cipriani top-scored in their Alfa Romeo 75.
2: German BMW driver Dirk Müller made history when he won the first WTCC race of the new era at Monza in April 2005, taking the honours in the first of two races. James Thompson won Race 2 for Alfa Romeo, while Andy Priaulx, who would go on to win the championship, came away with a fourth and fifth place.
3: Thompson was in the wars when the WTCC visited Monza for the last time in 2013 after his then LADA team-mate Aleksei Dudukalo missed his braking for the first chicane during qualifying and slammed straight into the side of the Briton’s car.
4: While Monza’s famous banking hasn’t been used in race mode since 1969, it still gets an airing thanks to the annual Monza Rally Show, won in 2016 by MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi.
5: The 1971 Italian Grand Prix is famous for its dramatic finish when the top five were separated by sixth tenths of a second. Peter Gethin beat Ronnie Peterson to victory by 0.01s.]]>

The FIA World Touring Car Championship returns to Monza in Italy for the second event of the 2017 season from 28-30 April. This is everything you need to know.

TRACK ESSENTIALS
Name: Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Location: Via Vedano, 5, 20900 Monza MB, Italy
Website: www.monzanet.it
Length: 5.793 kilometres
Opening Race distance: 9 laps (52.137km)
Main Race distance: 11 laps (63.723km)
Lap record (qualifying): Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze), 1m56.486s (179.03kph), 23/03/13
Lap record (race): Rob Huff (Chevrolet Cruze), 1m59.000s (175.25kph), 11/03/12
WTCC appearances: Eight (WTCC Race of Italy took place at Imola in 2009)
Time zone: GMT +2 hours
Sunrise/sunset: To follow
Average temperature: To follow
Nearest airport: Milan Linate (26 kilometres)

TRACK GUIDE IN 100 WORDS
Built in 1922, Monza is not only the spiritual home of Italian motor racing but also the WTCC: the inaugural FIA World Touring Car Championship event took place at the track north of Milan in 1987, while the first race of the WTCC’s new era in 2005 was also held on Monza’s high-speed layout. With the legendary parkland venue missing from the World Touring Car schedule since 2013, its return for 2017 will be keenly felt when famous turns like the Curva Grande, Lesmo and Parabolica will resonate to the sound of TC1 World Touring Cars for the first time.

THE WINNERS
2013: Race 1: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze); Race 2: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze)
2012: R1: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze); R2: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze)
2011: R1: Rob Huff (Chevrolet Cruze); R2: Rob Huff (Chevrolet Cruze)
2010: R1: Andy Priaulx (BMW 320si); R2: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze)
2009: R1: Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT León); R2: Yvan Muller (SEAT León)
2008: R1: Yvan Muller (SEAT León); R2: Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT León)
2007: R1: Yvan Muller (SEAT León); R2: Jordi Gené (SEAT León)
2006: R1: Andy Priaulx (BMW 320si); R2: Augusto Farfus (Alfa Romeo 156)
2005: R1: Dirk Muller (BMW 320i); R2: James Thompson (Alfa Romeo 156)

THE VENUES
2005-2008, 2010-2013, 2017: Autodromo Nazionale Monza
2009: Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari

FIVE FACTS
1: The inaugural WTCC season began in 1987 with the controversial Monza 500. BMW drivers, including eventual champion Roberto Ravaglia, filled the top six places but were excluded when their M3s were found to be underweight. Allan Moffatt and John Harvey (Holden VL Commodore SS) inherited the outright win but as they were not eligible for WTCC points, Italians Walter Voulaz and Marcello Cipriani top-scored in their Alfa Romeo 75.
2: German BMW driver Dirk Müller made history when he won the first WTCC race of the new era at Monza in April 2005, taking the honours in the first of two races. James Thompson won Race 2 for Alfa Romeo, while Andy Priaulx, who would go on to win the championship, came away with a fourth and fifth place.
3: Thompson was in the wars when the WTCC visited Monza for the last time in 2013 after his then LADA team-mate Aleksei Dudukalo missed his braking for the first chicane during qualifying and slammed straight into the side of the Briton’s car.
4: While Monza’s famous banking hasn’t been used in race mode since 1969, it still gets an airing thanks to the annual Monza Rally Show, won in 2016 by MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi.
5: The 1971 Italian Grand Prix is famous for its dramatic finish when the top five were separated by sixth tenths of a second. Peter Gethin beat Ronnie Peterson to victory by 0.01s.]]>
Stat Saturday: WTCC pole positions https://www.fiawtcc.com/stat-saturday-wtcc-pole-positions/ Sat, 14 Jan 2017 11:00:53 +0000 https://www.fiawtcc.com/?p=252149

Since 2005, a total of 24 drivers have set the coveted pole position in the FIA World Touring Car Championship with Yvan Muller topping the pile on 29. See below for the full list.

Yvan Muller (FRA), 29
José María López (ARG), 21
Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), 17
Alain Menu (CHE), 15
Augusto Farfus (BRA), 11
Rob Huff (GBR), 11
Andy Priaulx (GBR), 5
Rickard Rydell (SWE), 4
Norbert Michelisz (HUN), 3
Tiago Monteiro (PRT), 3
Jörg Müller (DEU), 3
Tom Chilton (GBR), 2
Jordi Gené (ESP), 2
Mehdi Bennani (MAR), 1
Nicky Catsburg (NLD), 1
Roberto Colciago (ITA), 1
Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), 1
Nicola Larini (ITA), 1
Sébastien Loeb (FRA), 1
Gianni Morbidelli (ITA), 1 (pictured)
Dirk Müller (GBR), 1
Félix Porteiro (ESP), 1
James Thompson (GBR), 1
Alessandro Zanardi (ITA), 1]]>

Since 2005, a total of 24 drivers have set the coveted pole position in the FIA World Touring Car Championship with Yvan Muller topping the pile on 29. See below for the full list.

Yvan Muller (FRA), 29
José María López (ARG), 21
Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), 17
Alain Menu (CHE), 15
Augusto Farfus (BRA), 11
Rob Huff (GBR), 11
Andy Priaulx (GBR), 5
Rickard Rydell (SWE), 4
Norbert Michelisz (HUN), 3
Tiago Monteiro (PRT), 3
Jörg Müller (DEU), 3
Tom Chilton (GBR), 2
Jordi Gené (ESP), 2
Mehdi Bennani (MAR), 1
Nicky Catsburg (NLD), 1
Roberto Colciago (ITA), 1
Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), 1
Nicola Larini (ITA), 1
Sébastien Loeb (FRA), 1
Gianni Morbidelli (ITA), 1 (pictured)
Dirk Müller (GBR), 1
Félix Porteiro (ESP), 1
James Thompson (GBR), 1
Alessandro Zanardi (ITA), 1]]>
WTCC’s street tracks of desire https://www.fiawtcc.com/wtccs-street-tacks-of-desire/ Fri, 13 Jan 2017 05:00:01 +0000 https://www.fiawtcc.com/?p=252129

The FIA World Touring Car Championship has hit the streets of six towns and cities over the years and here’s a quick reminder of where and when.

Macau: Macau’s Circuito da Guia blends twisty turns and narrow blasts with long, wide-open straights and sweeping corners, plus gradient changes to create one of the most challenging and spectacular street circuits on the planet. The WTCC was first in town in 2005 – when Andy Priaulx won his first world title – and returns in 2017 after a two-year gap.

Marrakech: Transformed from street circuit to semi-permanent race track for 2016 when it dropped from 4.545 to 2.971 kilometres, Circuit Moulay El Hassan is located in the heart of Marrakech’s bustling hotel district. Designed to FIA Grade II standards by Hermann Tilke’s renowned architecture agency, the venue offers impressive views of the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech city wall and opens the 2017 WTCC season from 7-9 April.

Pau: The southern French town was the venue of WTCC Race of France from 2007 to 2009. And at 2.760 kilometres it remains the shortest track to host a World Touring Car Championship counter. The final event in 2009 is notable for a collision between Franz Engstler’s BMW and the safety car.

Porto (pictured): Using a shortened version of the legendary Boavista circuit, the WTCC visited Portugal’s second city – birthplace of Honda’s factory star Tiago Monteiro – four times, alternating with Estoril and Portimão between 2007 and 2013.

Vila Real: Nicknamed the Nürburgring Nordschleife of the South, racing has been held on the hillside roads of Vila Real since 1931, first on a 7.150-kilometre course but now on a slightly shorter, but no less challenging, 4.785-kilometre layout. The WTCC has visited since 2015 and speeds near 240kph on the final downhill section.

Wellington: New Zealand’s capital hosted the WTCC during its inaugural, and what appeared to be its one-off season in 1987 prior to its 2005 revival. The high-speed track was housed in the city’s docks area and Klaus Ludwig and Klaus Niedzwiedz shared the winning Ford Sierra RS500 ahead of Emanuele Pirro and Roberto Ravaglia, the eventual first WTCC champion.]]>

The FIA World Touring Car Championship has hit the streets of six towns and cities over the years and here’s a quick reminder of where and when.

Macau: Macau’s Circuito da Guia blends twisty turns and narrow blasts with long, wide-open straights and sweeping corners, plus gradient changes to create one of the most challenging and spectacular street circuits on the planet. The WTCC was first in town in 2005 – when Andy Priaulx won his first world title – and returns in 2017 after a two-year gap.

Marrakech: Transformed from street circuit to semi-permanent race track for 2016 when it dropped from 4.545 to 2.971 kilometres, Circuit Moulay El Hassan is located in the heart of Marrakech’s bustling hotel district. Designed to FIA Grade II standards by Hermann Tilke’s renowned architecture agency, the venue offers impressive views of the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech city wall and opens the 2017 WTCC season from 7-9 April.

Pau: The southern French town was the venue of WTCC Race of France from 2007 to 2009. And at 2.760 kilometres it remains the shortest track to host a World Touring Car Championship counter. The final event in 2009 is notable for a collision between Franz Engstler’s BMW and the safety car.

Porto (pictured): Using a shortened version of the legendary Boavista circuit, the WTCC visited Portugal’s second city – birthplace of Honda’s factory star Tiago Monteiro – four times, alternating with Estoril and Portimão between 2007 and 2013.

Vila Real: Nicknamed the Nürburgring Nordschleife of the South, racing has been held on the hillside roads of Vila Real since 1931, first on a 7.150-kilometre course but now on a slightly shorter, but no less challenging, 4.785-kilometre layout. The WTCC has visited since 2015 and speeds near 240kph on the final downhill section.

Wellington: New Zealand’s capital hosted the WTCC during its inaugural, and what appeared to be its one-off season in 1987 prior to its 2005 revival. The high-speed track was housed in the city’s docks area and Klaus Ludwig and Klaus Niedzwiedz shared the winning Ford Sierra RS500 ahead of Emanuele Pirro and Roberto Ravaglia, the eventual first WTCC champion.]]>
Fast and from France: five French WTCC drivers https://www.fiawtcc.com/fast-and-from-france-five-french-wtcc-drivers/ Thu, 12 Jan 2017 05:00:56 +0000 https://www.fiawtcc.com/?p=252117

In Yvan Muller, France produced the most successful driver in the history of the FIA World Touring Car Championship with nobody yet coming close to surpassing his record of wins, poles, fastest laps, laps led and titles. However, another 13 Frenchmen have raced in the WTCC since its relaunch in 2015. Here are five.

Laurent Cazenave (pictured): With experience in sportscar and GT racing, Cazenave made a one-off WTCC appearance at Pau in his native France in 2008. Hooked, he returned for two more Pau starts in 2009.

John Filippi: Made his name in TC2 machinery with Campos Racing, progressed to TC1 with the Spanish squad in 2015 taking the reverse-grid pole in Qatar, a feat he repeated in Argentina and China in 2016.

Nicolas Lapierre: Joined the factory LADA team for the season-closing races of 2015 and showed potential but was undone by limited experience of front-wheel drive. Has since returned to WEC.

Sébastien Loeb: A winner in only his second WTCC race, the multiple world rally champion got better and better during his two-year stint in the championship as a factory Citroën driver.

Hugo Valente: So impressive was Valente’s 2015 season as a privateer, LADA snapped him up for its factory effort in 2016. The results didn’t always come but luck was rarely on the youngster’s side.]]>

In Yvan Muller, France produced the most successful driver in the history of the FIA World Touring Car Championship with nobody yet coming close to surpassing his record of wins, poles, fastest laps, laps led and titles. However, another 13 Frenchmen have raced in the WTCC since its relaunch in 2015. Here are five.

Laurent Cazenave (pictured): With experience in sportscar and GT racing, Cazenave made a one-off WTCC appearance at Pau in his native France in 2008. Hooked, he returned for two more Pau starts in 2009.

John Filippi: Made his name in TC2 machinery with Campos Racing, progressed to TC1 with the Spanish squad in 2015 taking the reverse-grid pole in Qatar, a feat he repeated in Argentina and China in 2016.

Nicolas Lapierre: Joined the factory LADA team for the season-closing races of 2015 and showed potential but was undone by limited experience of front-wheel drive. Has since returned to WEC.

Sébastien Loeb: A winner in only his second WTCC race, the multiple world rally champion got better and better during his two-year stint in the championship as a factory Citroën driver.

Hugo Valente: So impressive was Valente’s 2015 season as a privateer, LADA snapped him up for its factory effort in 2016. The results didn’t always come but luck was rarely on the youngster’s side.]]>
The WTCC’s long and the short of it https://www.fiawtcc.com/the-wtccs-long-and-the-short-of-it/ Wed, 11 Jan 2017 05:00:06 +0000 https://www.fiawtcc.com/?p=252102

At 25.378 kilometres the Nürburgring Nordschleife is the longest when it comes to FIA World Touring Car Championship track laps. But what’s the shortest? Find out below.

Circuit Moulay El Hassan, Marrakech: 2.971ks (pictured)
Hungaroring: 4.381ks
Shanghai International Circuit: 4.602ks
Circuito Internacional de Vila Real: 4.785ks
Twin Ring Motegi: 4.801ks
Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo: 4.806ks
Losail International Circuit: 5.380ks
Autodromo Nazionale Monza: 5.793ks
Circuito da Guia, Macau: 6.120ks
Nürburgring Nordschleife: 25.378ks]]>

At 25.378 kilometres the Nürburgring Nordschleife is the longest when it comes to FIA World Touring Car Championship track laps. But what’s the shortest? Find out below.

Circuit Moulay El Hassan, Marrakech: 2.971ks (pictured)
Hungaroring: 4.381ks
Shanghai International Circuit: 4.602ks
Circuito Internacional de Vila Real: 4.785ks
Twin Ring Motegi: 4.801ks
Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo: 4.806ks
Losail International Circuit: 5.380ks
Autodromo Nazionale Monza: 5.793ks
Circuito da Guia, Macau: 6.120ks
Nürburgring Nordschleife: 25.378ks]]>
WTCC Q&A: Thed Björk https://www.fiawtcc.com/wtcc-qa-thed-bjoerk/ Tue, 10 Jan 2017 05:00:55 +0000 https://www.fiawtcc.com/?p=252097

After bagging his first FIA World Touring Car Championship victory in China last season, Thed Björk is being marked out as a contender for WTCC title glory in 2017 in his Volvo S60 Polestar TC1. The Polestar Cyan Racing star talks cross-country skiing, learning new tracks and why he has no time for anything less than 100 per cent focus.

How are you keeping busy during the off-season?
“Just now I am on my way up to a ski resort in Sweden where I will do cross-country skiing for my physical preparation. My wife is training for a famous ski race that is 91 kilometres long and when she does the long distance training it’s 50 kilometres per day. For me it’s about 35 kilometres. But then we will continue testing.”

Is it frustrating when you’re not racing?
“When I was driving in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship we had a long, long holiday in the winter and that was very frustrating. Now in the WTCC it’s much better because the break is much shorter and we have a really nice programme for testing. I cannot tell you exactly where we are driving but I certainly don’t feel the frustration because we’re preparing good for this year and aiming for a good result. I am very happy.”

What’s making you think you can challenge for a good result in 2017?
“It’s because the knowledge we gathered last year and that we were able to put the parts together before the end of the season when things were starting to go better and better. This is why I feel very positive and the team is really putting in lots of work in the testing programme.”

How much have your results in China and Qatar influenced your positive thinking?
“The win was in the Opening Race in China but then came Qatar and the positive moment of that [Main Race] podium was really important. That was the perfect way to end the first year and has really helped me and the team a lot.”

Do you feel you improved as a driver last year?
“When you start in a new car and in a new championship you need to find the right way to be able to find your way around the tracks and the competition. It’s what I did in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship and this is what I felt I did last year in the WTCC. I looked at the competition, I got to learn the tracks and thought it was possible for me.”

There are two new tracks on the WTCC calendar for 2017. Any concerns?
“I have done two races at Monza before, in an LMP2 car for the 1000 kilometres and in Formula 3000 so I know the track. Macau is brand new for me but my progress was quite fast in learning new tracks last year and I hope I can also learn Macau fast enough to be able to do what we want to do.”

WTCC promoter François Ribeiro has suggested as many as 10 drivers can challenge for the championship this season. Excited or apprehensive by that prospect?
“It shows we have really good drivers in the championship so that’s good and I’m really excited. But my biggest opponent when I’m driving is always myself. You really need to focus on doing 100 per cent with what you have with the car and don’t do any mistakes and try to read the opponents. It’s always difficult to judge the others. I focus on myself and I really think I can have a good shot at the title.”]]>

After bagging his first FIA World Touring Car Championship victory in China last season, Thed Björk is being marked out as a contender for WTCC title glory in 2017 in his Volvo S60 Polestar TC1. The Polestar Cyan Racing star talks cross-country skiing, learning new tracks and why he has no time for anything less than 100 per cent focus.

How are you keeping busy during the off-season?
“Just now I am on my way up to a ski resort in Sweden where I will do cross-country skiing for my physical preparation. My wife is training for a famous ski race that is 91 kilometres long and when she does the long distance training it’s 50 kilometres per day. For me it’s about 35 kilometres. But then we will continue testing.”

Is it frustrating when you’re not racing?
“When I was driving in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship we had a long, long holiday in the winter and that was very frustrating. Now in the WTCC it’s much better because the break is much shorter and we have a really nice programme for testing. I cannot tell you exactly where we are driving but I certainly don’t feel the frustration because we’re preparing good for this year and aiming for a good result. I am very happy.”

What’s making you think you can challenge for a good result in 2017?
“It’s because the knowledge we gathered last year and that we were able to put the parts together before the end of the season when things were starting to go better and better. This is why I feel very positive and the team is really putting in lots of work in the testing programme.”

How much have your results in China and Qatar influenced your positive thinking?
“The win was in the Opening Race in China but then came Qatar and the positive moment of that [Main Race] podium was really important. That was the perfect way to end the first year and has really helped me and the team a lot.”

Do you feel you improved as a driver last year?
“When you start in a new car and in a new championship you need to find the right way to be able to find your way around the tracks and the competition. It’s what I did in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship and this is what I felt I did last year in the WTCC. I looked at the competition, I got to learn the tracks and thought it was possible for me.”

There are two new tracks on the WTCC calendar for 2017. Any concerns?
“I have done two races at Monza before, in an LMP2 car for the 1000 kilometres and in Formula 3000 so I know the track. Macau is brand new for me but my progress was quite fast in learning new tracks last year and I hope I can also learn Macau fast enough to be able to do what we want to do.”

WTCC promoter François Ribeiro has suggested as many as 10 drivers can challenge for the championship this season. Excited or apprehensive by that prospect?
“It shows we have really good drivers in the championship so that’s good and I’m really excited. But my biggest opponent when I’m driving is always myself. You really need to focus on doing 100 per cent with what you have with the car and don’t do any mistakes and try to read the opponents. It’s always difficult to judge the others. I focus on myself and I really think I can have a good shot at the title.”]]>
Five reasons why the WTCC will thrill in 2017 https://www.fiawtcc.com/five-reasons-why-the-wtcc-will-thrill-in-2017/ Mon, 09 Jan 2017 05:00:01 +0000 https://www.fiawtcc.com/?p=252092

The 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship is set to be one of the best yet with a wide-open title battle and the return of famous tracks Macau and Monza among plenty more. Here are just some of the reasons why the WTCC will thrill in 2017.

1: The driver line-up will remain under wraps for a while yet but every indication points to a wide-open title battle with as many as 10 ace racers expected to challenge for outright glory.

2: Magical Motorsport venues Macau and Monza return to a schedule which also includes iconic tracks such as Vila Real and the Nürburgring Nordschleife (pictured).

3: The WTCC will break more new ground in 2017 with the introduction of ‘joker’ laps at selected events, a first for world championship circuit racing.

4: More points and extra laps are in store for the Main Race during WTCC weekends, making them even more significant than before.

5: It proved a hit in 2016 and now Manufacturers Against the Clock (or WTCC MAC3) will be returning in 2017 with Team Volvo Polestar competing for the first time.]]>

The 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship is set to be one of the best yet with a wide-open title battle and the return of famous tracks Macau and Monza among plenty more. Here are just some of the reasons why the WTCC will thrill in 2017.

1: The driver line-up will remain under wraps for a while yet but every indication points to a wide-open title battle with as many as 10 ace racers expected to challenge for outright glory.

2: Magical Motorsport venues Macau and Monza return to a schedule which also includes iconic tracks such as Vila Real and the Nürburgring Nordschleife (pictured).

3: The WTCC will break more new ground in 2017 with the introduction of ‘joker’ laps at selected events, a first for world championship circuit racing.

4: More points and extra laps are in store for the Main Race during WTCC weekends, making them even more significant than before.

5: It proved a hit in 2016 and now Manufacturers Against the Clock (or WTCC MAC3) will be returning in 2017 with Team Volvo Polestar competing for the first time.]]>
WTCC season build-up: #1 Morocco https://www.fiawtcc.com/wtcc-season-build-up-1-morocco/ Sun, 08 Jan 2017 11:00:38 +0000 https://www.fiawtcc.com/?p=252086

WTCC Race of Morocco opens the 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship from 7-9 April. Find out everything you need to know right here.

TRACK ESSENTIALS
Name: Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan
Location: 47, avenue Mohamed V – Guéliz, 40000 Marrakech, Morocco
Website: www.marrakechgrandprix.com
Length: 2.971 kilometres
Lap record (qualifying): José María López (Citroën C-Elysée); 1m22.024s (130.3kph), 07/05/16
Lap record (race): Hugo Valente (LADA Vesta) 1m23.087s (128.7kph), 08/05/16
WTCC appearances: Seven
Time zone: GMT +1 hours
Sunrise/sunset: To follow
Average temperature: To follow
Nearest airport: Marrakech Menara Airport (8 kilometres)

TRACK GUIDE IN 100 WORDS
Transformed from street circuit to semi-permanent race track for 2016, Circuit Moulay El Hassan is located in the heart of Marrakech’s bustling hotel district. Built to FIA Grade II standards, the layout is the work of Hermann Tilke’s renowned architecture agency and offers impressive views of the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech city wall. But with a compact lap of 2.971 kilometres (down from its original 4.545 kilometres) and a sprinkling of tight, wall-lined turns, there’s no time for WTCC drivers to take in the scenery. Restored to season-opening status after two years, home hero Mehdi Bennani attracts a fervent following.

THE WINNERS
2016: Opening Race: Tom Coronel (Chevrolet Cruze); Main Race: José María López (Citroën)
2015: Race 1: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée); Race 2: Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée)
2014: R1: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée); R2: Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée)
2013: R1: Michel Nykjær (Chevrolet Cruze); R2: Pepe Oriola (SEAT León)
2012: R1: Alain Menu (Chevrolet Cruze); R2: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze)
2010: R1: Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT León); R2: Andy Priaulx (BMW 320)
2009: R1: Rob Huff (Chevrolet Cruze); R2: Nicola Larini (Chevrolet Cruze)

THE VENUES
2009-Present: Circuit Moulay El Hassan, Marrakech

FIVE FACTS
1: The WTCC’s arrival in Morocco in 2009 marked the first international car race to be held in the country since the 1958 Grand Prix at Casablanca, famously won by Stirling Moss, who nevertheless lost out on the title to Mike Hawthorn.
2: That first WTCC race in Morocco was won by Rob Huff in a Chevrolet after he’d also topped qualifying. He was third in race two behind Yvan Muller (SEAT) and Nicola Larini (Chevrolet).
3: Title-winning Citroën started as it meant to go on in 2014, with eventual champion José María López winning the first race of season – and the first of TC1 era – prior to Sébastien Loeb’s breakthrough victory in race two.
4: The official languages of Morocco are Berber and Arabic. This distinctive group of Moroccan Arabic dialects is collectively called Darija. French and, to a lesser extent, Spanish and English are also spoken in the country.
5: Morocco’s Mehdi Bennani became the first Arabic driver to win an FIA world championship motor race when he triumphed at WTCC Race of China in Shanghai in 2014.

WHAT HAPPENED IN 2016?
Independent driver Tom Coronel ripped up the formbook by winning the Opening Race of FIA WTCC AFRIQUIA Race of Morocco after withstanding intense pressure from world champion and factory Citroën driver José María López for his first win since 2013. With former WTCC title winner turned team boss Roberto Ravaglia watching from the pits, Coronel didn’t crack after inheriting top spot from Hugo Valente when the LADA driver was ordered to serve a drive-through penalty following contact with DHL pole-sitter James Thompson. The Marrakech event then took a dramatic twist with rain before the start of the Main Race making for a slippery new-look Circuit Moulay El Hassan. But Rob Huff took the difficult conditions in his stride to lead home a Honda 1-2-3 with Norbert Michelisz second and Tiago Monteiro third. However, all Hondas were subsequently excluded for failing post-race technical checks, which handed victory to López, second to his Citroën team-mate Yvan Muller and third to LADA’s Gabriele Tarquini. Local hero Mehdi Bennani made up for his frustrating qualifying to take the WTCC Trophy honours in the Main Race and maintain his title advantage.

Opening Race DHL Pole Position: James Thompson (Chevrolet RML Cruze)
Main Race DHL Pole Position: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée)
TAG Heuer Best Lap: Hugo Valente (LADA Vesta), 1m23.087s (establishes lap record)
WTCC MAC3 winner: Team Citroën]]>

WTCC Race of Morocco opens the 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship from 7-9 April. Find out everything you need to know right here.

TRACK ESSENTIALS
Name: Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan
Location: 47, avenue Mohamed V – Guéliz, 40000 Marrakech, Morocco
Website: www.marrakechgrandprix.com
Length: 2.971 kilometres
Lap record (qualifying): José María López (Citroën C-Elysée); 1m22.024s (130.3kph), 07/05/16
Lap record (race): Hugo Valente (LADA Vesta) 1m23.087s (128.7kph), 08/05/16
WTCC appearances: Seven
Time zone: GMT +1 hours
Sunrise/sunset: To follow
Average temperature: To follow
Nearest airport: Marrakech Menara Airport (8 kilometres)

TRACK GUIDE IN 100 WORDS
Transformed from street circuit to semi-permanent race track for 2016, Circuit Moulay El Hassan is located in the heart of Marrakech’s bustling hotel district. Built to FIA Grade II standards, the layout is the work of Hermann Tilke’s renowned architecture agency and offers impressive views of the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech city wall. But with a compact lap of 2.971 kilometres (down from its original 4.545 kilometres) and a sprinkling of tight, wall-lined turns, there’s no time for WTCC drivers to take in the scenery. Restored to season-opening status after two years, home hero Mehdi Bennani attracts a fervent following.

THE WINNERS
2016: Opening Race: Tom Coronel (Chevrolet Cruze); Main Race: José María López (Citroën)
2015: Race 1: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée); Race 2: Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée)
2014: R1: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée); R2: Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée)
2013: R1: Michel Nykjær (Chevrolet Cruze); R2: Pepe Oriola (SEAT León)
2012: R1: Alain Menu (Chevrolet Cruze); R2: Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze)
2010: R1: Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT León); R2: Andy Priaulx (BMW 320)
2009: R1: Rob Huff (Chevrolet Cruze); R2: Nicola Larini (Chevrolet Cruze)

THE VENUES
2009-Present: Circuit Moulay El Hassan, Marrakech

FIVE FACTS
1: The WTCC’s arrival in Morocco in 2009 marked the first international car race to be held in the country since the 1958 Grand Prix at Casablanca, famously won by Stirling Moss, who nevertheless lost out on the title to Mike Hawthorn.
2: That first WTCC race in Morocco was won by Rob Huff in a Chevrolet after he’d also topped qualifying. He was third in race two behind Yvan Muller (SEAT) and Nicola Larini (Chevrolet).
3: Title-winning Citroën started as it meant to go on in 2014, with eventual champion José María López winning the first race of season – and the first of TC1 era – prior to Sébastien Loeb’s breakthrough victory in race two.
4: The official languages of Morocco are Berber and Arabic. This distinctive group of Moroccan Arabic dialects is collectively called Darija. French and, to a lesser extent, Spanish and English are also spoken in the country.
5: Morocco’s Mehdi Bennani became the first Arabic driver to win an FIA world championship motor race when he triumphed at WTCC Race of China in Shanghai in 2014.

WHAT HAPPENED IN 2016?
Independent driver Tom Coronel ripped up the formbook by winning the Opening Race of FIA WTCC AFRIQUIA Race of Morocco after withstanding intense pressure from world champion and factory Citroën driver José María López for his first win since 2013. With former WTCC title winner turned team boss Roberto Ravaglia watching from the pits, Coronel didn’t crack after inheriting top spot from Hugo Valente when the LADA driver was ordered to serve a drive-through penalty following contact with DHL pole-sitter James Thompson. The Marrakech event then took a dramatic twist with rain before the start of the Main Race making for a slippery new-look Circuit Moulay El Hassan. But Rob Huff took the difficult conditions in his stride to lead home a Honda 1-2-3 with Norbert Michelisz second and Tiago Monteiro third. However, all Hondas were subsequently excluded for failing post-race technical checks, which handed victory to López, second to his Citroën team-mate Yvan Muller and third to LADA’s Gabriele Tarquini. Local hero Mehdi Bennani made up for his frustrating qualifying to take the WTCC Trophy honours in the Main Race and maintain his title advantage.

Opening Race DHL Pole Position: James Thompson (Chevrolet RML Cruze)
Main Race DHL Pole Position: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée)
TAG Heuer Best Lap: Hugo Valente (LADA Vesta), 1m23.087s (establishes lap record)
WTCC MAC3 winner: Team Citroën]]>
Stat Saturday: WTCC race winners https://www.fiawtcc.com/stat-saturday-wtcc-race-winners/ Sat, 07 Jan 2017 11:00:33 +0000 https://www.fiawtcc.com/?p=252082

Thirty-six drivers have won races in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. And here they are in order of victories claimed.

Yvan Muller (FRA), 48
José María López (ARG), 29
Rob Huff (GBR), 28
Alain Menu (CHE), 23
Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), 22
Andy Priaulx (GBR), 18
Augusto Farfus (BRA), 15
Jörg Müller (DEU), 10
Tiago Monteiro (PRT), 9
Tom Coronel (NLD), 6
Sébastien Loeb (FRA), 6
Norbert Michelisz (HUN), 5
Rickard Rydell (SWE), 5
Tom Chilton (GBR), 4
Jordi Gené (ESP), 4
Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), 4
Dirk Müller (DEU), 4
James Thompson (GBR), 4
Alessandro Zanardi (GBR), 4
Mehdi Bennani (MAR), 3
Michel Nykjær (DNK), 3
Stefano D’Aste (ITA), 2
Ma Qing Hua (CHN), 2
James Nash (GBR), 2
Félix Porteiro (ESP), 2
Thed Björk (SWE), 1
Nicky Catsburg (NLD), 1
Franz Engstler (DEU), 1
Sergio Hernández (ESP), 1
Duncan Huisman (NLD), 1
Nicola Larini (ITA), 1
Gianni Morbidelli (ITA), 1
Pepe Oriola (ESP), 1
Salvatore Tavano (ITA), 1
Peter Terting (DEU), 1
Colin Turkington (GBR), 1]]>

Thirty-six drivers have won races in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. And here they are in order of victories claimed.

Yvan Muller (FRA), 48
José María López (ARG), 29
Rob Huff (GBR), 28
Alain Menu (CHE), 23
Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), 22
Andy Priaulx (GBR), 18
Augusto Farfus (BRA), 15
Jörg Müller (DEU), 10
Tiago Monteiro (PRT), 9
Tom Coronel (NLD), 6
Sébastien Loeb (FRA), 6
Norbert Michelisz (HUN), 5
Rickard Rydell (SWE), 5
Tom Chilton (GBR), 4
Jordi Gené (ESP), 4
Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), 4
Dirk Müller (DEU), 4
James Thompson (GBR), 4
Alessandro Zanardi (GBR), 4
Mehdi Bennani (MAR), 3
Michel Nykjær (DNK), 3
Stefano D’Aste (ITA), 2
Ma Qing Hua (CHN), 2
James Nash (GBR), 2
Félix Porteiro (ESP), 2
Thed Björk (SWE), 1
Nicky Catsburg (NLD), 1
Franz Engstler (DEU), 1
Sergio Hernández (ESP), 1
Duncan Huisman (NLD), 1
Nicola Larini (ITA), 1
Gianni Morbidelli (ITA), 1
Pepe Oriola (ESP), 1
Salvatore Tavano (ITA), 1
Peter Terting (DEU), 1
Colin Turkington (GBR), 1]]>