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Aug 01, 2014 - 04:43 PM
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FIA WTCC Newsletter 31
Posted by: newsla on Aug 01, 2014 - 04:42 PM
Sports Cars
FIA WTCC Newsletter 31

As it was easy predictable, José María López posted the fastest lap in today’s test session, however the Argentine was closely followed by Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini.


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López was the first driver to post a significant lap, stopping the clock at 1:45.764 on his first lap out of the pits. He immediately improved it to 1:45.296 on his second lap, while Tarquini moved up to second with a lap of 1:45.654.

As the session progressed, Sébastien Loeb jumped provisionally on top completing a lap in 1:44.641.

However, in the session’s dying moments the Frenchman was dropped to fourth as Muller set a new provisional fastest lap (1:44.270), that was eventually improved by López (1:44.254).

The last improvement was recorded by Tarquini (1:44.343) who placed third, only 0.089 seconds behind the leader.

“It has been the closest testing session so far, which proves how close things are. The track is still very green, it’s always the case here, but the phenomenon seems even greater this year. It’s not only the dust and dirt, I believe there is something with the tires used by the national series and the kind of rubber they leave. The car felt good, it’s nice to be back driving and regaining the rhythm, but it is still way too early into the weekend to say anything,” López commented.

Tiago Monteiro (1:44.894), Mehdi Bennani (1:45.201), Hugo Valente (1:45.592), Tom Chilton (1:45.949), Rob Huff (1:46.211) and James Thompson (1:46.340) rounded off the top ten.

Franz Engstler set the fastest lap in the TC2T class (1:51.801), beating his new team-mate Camilo Echevarría by seven tenths.

In Short...

Norbert Michelisz has missed today’s test due to travelling delays.
On Tuesday the Hungarian driver had missed the connection in Frankfurt after his flight from Budapest was delayed by the weather conditions.

After a night in Frankfurt he had to fly to Munich and then to Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and finally Tucumán, where he finally landed safely today at 12.30 after a three-day odyssey.

The six-week break in race activity has been used by constructors to continue development work on their cars. In particular, Honda and LADA were very active in trying to close the gap with the top.

The Castrol Honda Team performed a four-day test at Valencia last week, using a new Civic chassis (the sixth built) which is going to be the test car from now on.

The team tested a number of components, with some chassis and aerodynamic improvements being already implemented on race cars this weekend.

The team also tested new engine developments that are due to be introduced very soon.

After he placed third in today’s test session, only 0.089 seconds behind López, Tarquini said: “It’s nice to see the gap reduced, this proved that the little improvements introduced after the Valencia test are delivering. Tiago had a more conventional configuration, we did this to compare results, and those point to the same direction. We now have a good basis to start from.”

On their side, LADA Sport LUKOIL has been working flat out to fettle its TC1-spec Granta Sport and it is hoped that an array of newly developed parts and a lighter construction will result in significant gains on the racetrack.

Rob Huff and James Thompson were placed ninth and tenth in today’s test, leaving behind four of the Chevrolet RML cars.
After the session, the 2012 WTCC champion commented: “I was anxious to see the results of all the hard work LADA Sport has put in during the break. And now I’m happy, I’ve never felt the car so well in a testing session this year than this time. I think the work done during these six weeks have brought us a step forward, and I hope we can make it to the top 10.”

The Race of Argentina was the ideal occasion to launch the Spanish version of the FIA WTCC website: www.fiawtcc.es.
Spanish-speaking fans may now follow all the news about the championship as they unfold, as well as access all info on the series and enjoy the multimedia content in their language.

“I obviously welcome this development,” commented José María López, the leading Spanish-speaking figure in the championship, “Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world, and this proves the raise of interest for the FIA WTCC among global audiences.”

Argentine fans have a second hero to cheer for this weekend at Termas de Río Hondo, as Camilo Echevarría is following on the footsteps of Pechito López and makes his WTCC debut at the wheel of the Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320 TC car driven so far in the TC2T class by Pasquale Di Sabatino.

Echevarría, a 23-year-old from Neuquén, started his successful career in karting and then had a couple of promising seasons in single-seater series. He later switched to Touring Cars and soon emerged as one of the top drivers in the Argentine Turismo Carretera. He currently lies second in the Turismo Carretera Pista standings after having won the last round in Alta Gracia.

“I am very happy for the opportunity to join the WTCC races in my home country. I am extremely motivated and I wish to pass the WTCC exam well, without making mistakes. It will take me some time to get used to the car, but it will help that the BMW is a rear-wheel drive car, as I have more experience with this kind of traction. I’m very much looking forward to meet the team and start practising,” the young Argentine said.

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