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FIA WTCC Newsletter 9
Posted by: newsla on Mar 01, 2014 - 06:09 AM
Sports Cars
FIA WTCC Newsletter 9

For the first time Castrol Honda and Citroën Racing factory teams faced each other on the racetrack, as they shared a test session in preparation of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship.


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After running previously on their own on different racetracks, the two teams had their first confrontation this week at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet.

Changeable weather provided all different track conditions during the three days. It was sunny on Monday and rainy on Tuesday, while on Wednesday the track was wet in the morning and dried up in the afternoon as the sky cleared.

The Castrol Honda Racing, that will defend the WTCC Manufacturers’ Championship title they won last year, ran one single Civic car. Tiago Monteiro took the wheel on the first day, while Gabriele Tarquini took over from Tuesday.

This was the third test session for the TC1 version of the Japanese car, built in compliance with the championship’s new technical regulations.

Citroën Racing continued the approach to their first season in the World Touring Car Championship, adding another test session to a long list that began eight months ago.

The French team tested with two C-Elysée cars that were shared by the three works drivers; Sébastien Loeb, Yvan Muller and José María López were very busy and completed a great deal of laps.

In Short...

Citroën Racing signed Ma Qinq Hua for racing in selected events of the 2014 WTCC at the wheel of the team’s fourth C-Elysée car.

The 26-year-old Chinese has amassed impressive single-seater experience, first in Asia and then in Europe.
Having driven for the HRT and Caterham teams, he made it to the fringes of Formula One, driving in free practice at five Grands Prix. In 2011 he was also crowned Chinese Touring Car champion in the 1600 class for Hyundaï.

“It is a great honour to join Citroën Racing for this ambitious programme,” said Ma Qing Hua. “I really enjoyed working with the team during the test sessions. I am really excited about the opportunity to race for a manufacturer with such a winning record and I will do my best to help Citroën to keep winning! It would, of course, be particularly special for me to have good results in Macau and Shanghai, my hometown. But for now, I’m just looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the WTCC car.”

Ma will compete in the last two European rounds – Moscow and Spa-Francorchamps – before lining up for his two home meetings, in Shanghai and Macau. The fifth event in his programme will be announced at a later date.

Alessandro Mariani, team principal at Castrol Honda Team takes stock after the third test session with the new Civic WTCC.

How much demanding was to re-design the Civic to comply with the new regulations after one-and-a-half year spent in developing the previous version?
“The most demanding fact is that since February 2012 we have been working flat on designing, developing and building the WTCC cars. The switch to the new TC1 regulations meant that we had no time to pause for breath. However, this meant also a new challenge and motivations that help you to forget the tiredness coming from two years of full commitment.”

Sébastien Loeb’s debut in WTCC gets closer. After nine titles in the World Rally Championship the French ace is fully committed, test session after test session at the wheel of the Citroën C-Elysée, in order to prepare himself in the best way.

“I know it will be difficult and therefore I’m working hard and trying to prepare myself to be as good as possible. So far I still don’t know where I am; my goal is comparing my performance with those of my team-mates and trying to improve.”

Bamboo-engineering announced they will take a sabbatical year with the aim to rejoin the FIA World Touring Car Championship in 2015.

The Silverstone-based team had finished third in the 2013 WTCC Drivers’ Championship and won the Yokohama Trophy title with James Nash.

“Regretfully we won’t be competing in WTCC this season; It was too difficult for us to raise the required budget to compete at the very front of the grid, and bamboo-engineering is about going forward. We will actively seek the right circumstances for our return in 2015. The WTCC has a very bright future, and I know first-hand how much progress is being made,” said bamboo-engineering Chief Executive, Richard Coleman.

“As the championship promoter, we really enjoyed our relationship with bamboo-engineering and we will be working closely with them to bring the team back on WTCC at the top level they are aiming for,” said François Ribeiro, Motorsport Director Eurosport Events.

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