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FIA WTCC Newsletter 30
Posted by: newsla on Jul 25, 2014 - 03:42 PM
Sports Cars
FIA WTCC Newsletter 30

When WTCC goes to Argentina for the second time next week, the teams, drivers, media and fans will all head to the same direction than last year: the circuit at Termas de Río Hondo in Santiago del Estero, a region in the north of the country. However, many changes will be visible at first sight when they get there.


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Before the MotoGP race last April, the facilities there were massively improved. The venue is located 5 kilometres from downtown Termas and its official opening was carried out with a national race on May 11th, 2008. The original layout of 4.4 kilometres has been later extended to 4.8. Its 1,380-metre straight line is the longest among almost two dozen racetracks around Argentina. Italian designer Jarno Zafelli was key in most of the changes, which progressively began with a master plan in 2011 that aimed for adapting the circuit to FIA Grade 1 and FIM needs.

Some of the most important, newer details include: a total resurfacing of the layout with state-of-the-art polymers, new pits, a top level medical centre, two heliports, run off areas with FIA-approved gravel, guard-rails covered by rubber mesh, new protection fences for spectator areas, refurbishing of internal and external service roads, optical fibres installed for better communications, new grandstands and a Training Centre that will be ready in the coming months.

In Short...

Argentina is known for its long tradition of touring car racing at home, with legends like Juan Manuel Fangio and Carlos Reutemann having shone in those, and categories such as the Super TC2000 or TN (Turismo Nacional) being the most popular formulae in the country.

The fact that José María López is currently leading the championship is bringing much attention to the FIA WTCC, but the Cordoban is not the first driver from the Pampas to hit the touring car scene far away from home.

Back in 1977, in the times of the ‘old’ ETCC, Eugenio Breard, from Buenos Aires, was Group 2 champion with a 1.3 Alfa Romeo Alfasud prepared by Autodelta. ETCC races were longer than now and two drivers shared duties, so Breard was the first of the line-up also formed by fellow countrymen Juan Pablo Zampa, Jorge Serafini, Eduardo Márquez and Uruguayan Fernando Parrado.

Both duos claimed several wins in Salzbugring, Mugello, Zandvoort, Silverstone, Zolder and Jarama (five of them in a row!) and another podium at Brno. The results were more than enough to clinch the class title for drivers with a 1-2 for Breard-Zampa and Márquez-Parrado.

A decade later Eugenio Breard took two Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 to the Argentine Touring Car Championship (TN) and got back to back titles with his own team in 1986 and 1987, this time with Jorge Maggi at the wheel. TN will again race before the WTCC at Termas and part of the history seems to come back in time: the last round so far was won by an Alfa Romeo 147, first domestic win for the Italian manufacturer after 27 years!

Leonel Pernía had two passions, football and motorsports. He was a successful football player with experience in several countries before switching to racing cars. After becoming a top contender in national categories, in 2010 he was a guest driver of the factory Chevrolet team to drive one of their Cruze cars at Monza. In his only WTCC appearance, he finished Race 2 in the top-10. In 2012, Wilson Borgnino drove a Maurer Motorsport Chevrolet Aveo 1.6 to fourth in ETCC Division 2, including podiums at Salzburgring and Imola.

Sébastien Loeb has used the break between the European rounds and the Race of Argentina to indulge his immense passion for all aspects of racing and get in touch with motorsport history.

At the end of June he took part in the Goodwood Festival of Speed, arguably the biggest event of the year in classic racing.
Apart from admiring the vast array of sensational machines gathered at the meeting, he took the opportunity to win the traditional hill-climbing race, driving a … youngtimer such as the Peugeot 208 T16 he brought to victory at the Pikes’ Peak in 2013.

In July, the rally legend and Citroën Racing driver in the FIA WTCC was a special guest star at the Le Mans Classic, the event devoted to commemorate the rich heritage of the 24 Hours, and was honoured with the task of giving the start to the races. ‘Séb’ is, of course, no stranger in La Sarthe, having raced twice the 24 Hours, finishing second in 2006 at the wheel of a Pescarolo LMP1.

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