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FIA WTCC Newsletter 16
Posted by: newsla on Apr 19, 2014 - 08:05 AM
Sports Cars
FIA WTCC Newsletter 16

Jose María López and Sébastien Loeb set the best lap times in today’s test session at Le Castellet’s Circuit Paul Ricard.


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However, unlike what happened one week ago at Marrakech, there was not a trio of Citroën cars on top of the time sheet, because Yvan Muller was only placed in fifth behind Norbert Michelisz’ s Honda and Hugo Valente’s Chevrolet.

López was the first one to post a provisional fastest lap of 1:32.158, that Loeb improved to 1:31.365; eventually López jump on top again with his last lap of 1:31.227. Most of the other drivers improved they times in the second half of the session, Michelisz climbed to a provisional second place (1:32.135), followed by Valente in third (1:32.158) until López dropped them by one place.

Gianni Morbidelli posted the sixth fastest lap, with Tiago Monteiro, Tom Chilton, Dušan Borković and Gabriele Tarquini rounding off the top ten. The three LADA cars of Rob Huff, James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy closed the group of the TC1 cars, while Franz Engstler topped the TC2T class.

In Short...


José María López: "It was a good session, mainly devoted to start setting-up the car. No major hiccups, although it is not easy to find the perfect balance on this track, which has quite a mix of slow and fast sections. It is just the beginning of the weekend, so we’ll continue working."

Norbert Michelisz: "I am pretty satisfied, we made progress in the set-up of the car and my lap time was good. The new things we tested worked well, but there is still a lot of work to do. You can feel the potential is there, but I feel that I need time and work to feel completely well with the car."

Rob Huff: "This is basically the first time we run the car, we still have many things to learn. James, Mikhail and I tested different things, so now we can compare data. The good thing is that we have encountered no problem at all, but clearly, we still lack top speed."

Gabriele Tarquini: "Eventually my car was ready on time and I need to congratulate the team for the incredible work they have done. The session was like a shakedown in real-life conditions. Everything seems to work, we just had a small gearbox issue that should be solved quickly."


Eurosport Events, promoter of the WTCC, is delighted to announce that JVCKENWOOD is the Presenting Partner of the FIA WTCC Race of France.

KENWOOD has been supporting the WTCC events in Japan since the championship's second visit to the Country of the Rising Sun, back in 2009.

Shoichiro Eguchi, President, Representative Director and Chief Operating Officer of JVCKENWOOD Corporation, commented: "I would like to express my congratulations on holding of 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship Race of France in the home of Eurosport at Paul Ricard Circuit. I am very glad and am honoured in that we can enjoy the exciting Race with motorsport fans as an Event Presenting Partner of the glorious Race. We believe this partnership of the FIA WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of France event will make a great impact in terms of customer satisfaction and brand visibility." Olivier Fisch, Eurosport Events Managing Director, said: "JVCKENWOOD has been a long term partner of WTCC and continues to be highly active. The Event Presenting Partnership for the WTCC Race of France demonstrates that the company is even more committed to the championship because for the first time it supports an event outside of Japan."


Earlier this week NIKA Racing announced its plan to run a Honda Civic TC1 car for Rickard Rydell in the 2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship.

Rydell, a former British and Swedish Touring Car Champion and five-time a race winner in WTCC, said: "I’m thrilled to represent an all-Swedish team in the WTCC from next year. The Honda Racing Team Sweden project is one of great promise, and I’ll approach it with full dedication. The WTCC is highly competitive and lots of fun, and I’m really looking forward to getting testing underway later this year!"

Team Principal Nicklas Karlsson echoed: "This is an exciting step into the future for NIKA Racing. The prospect of fielding Rickard Rydell in a full-time, all-Swedish WTCC assault is obviously highly inspiring for everyone involved."

As announced earlier NIKA Racing is undertaking a part-time programme in the WTCC in 2014, running Japan’s Yukinori Taniguchi in a TC2 Honda Civic at selected rounds of the championship. The first appearance is planned for the third race meeting at the Hungaroring.


Forced to miss this weekend’s races after his car was extensively damaged at Marrakech, Tom Coronel will join Martin Haven in commenting the WTCC French event on Eurosport.

nce at Le Castellet’s Circuit Paul Ricard.

"After my return from Marrakech I was asked by Eurosport to act as co-commentator next to Martin this weekend for the live coverage on Eurosport International. Great off course! In Marrakech, and also on an occasion last year, I reported live from inside my car for Eurosport during the warm-up lap. It seems Eurosport liked the way I did that because now they offered me the chance to still take part in this WTCC weekend, be it in a role at the side line," said Coronel who will resume as a driver at the next event, in Hungary.


Franz Engstler has his hands full this weekend as he competes on two fronts at Le Castellet. Besides racing in the WTCC TC2T class, the German driver has also entered in the TC2T class of the European Touring Car Cup.

This means a lot of driving for Engstler in two different BMW 320 TC cars run by the Liqui Moly Team Engstler. With the ETCC races held back-to-back on Sunday and the first WTCC race immediately afterwards, Engstler will be racing from 10am through to 2pm, before the lunch break that will precede WTCC’s second race at 17:15 CET.

"It’s a hard weekend, but I still feel like a young man. I’m motivated, I have a great team to support me and we hope for a strong weekend," Engstler said.


All 31 drivers entered in the event took part in today’s test sessions at Le Castellet’s Circuit Paul Ricard.

The Campos Racing Chevrolet Cruze turbocharged cars topped the time sheet as Igor Skuz (1:35.750) and team-mate Nikolay Karamyshev (1:35.895) emerged as the fastest drivers of the pack. A trio of BMW 320 TC cars filled the positions from third to fifth: Mikhail Grachev (1:37.388), Mat’o Homola (1:37.649) and Franz Engstler (1:37.670).

Norbert Kiss created a surprise in his Team Unicorse Alfa Romeo 156, posting the best lap time in the TC2 class for normally aspirated cars (1:37.867), only one thousandths of a second faster than the BMW 320si of 2013 S2000 champion Petr Fulín (1:37.868). Fulín’s team-mate Michal Matĕjovský (1.38.989) was classified third.

In the Single-Make Trophy the fastest lap was set by Andreas Pfister (1:38.910) from Dmitry Bragin (1:38.922) and Aku Pellinen (1:39.330); this trio also achieved brilliant overall positions within the top-ten.

In the Super 1600 class, newcomer Christian Kranenberg posted the fastest time of 1:52.402 in a Ravenol Team Ford Fiesta, ahead of his team-mates Patrick Wolf (1:53.141) and Ulrike Krafft (1:53.620).

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