We are super pumped here in the studio! The WTCC will kick off its season, this weekend in Brazil. The winter break has seem to fly by and now it is game on. SEAT will be back to defend both their titles in 2009. SEAT Sport will also field the same drivers from 2008. The TDI has been the focus of a lot of debate and now faces new regulations from the FIA.
Look for full coverage on the WTCC season and SEAT Sport news.
SEAT Sport begins defending their world Touring Car title
The FIA World Touring Car Championship is beginning its new season next 8 March on Brazil’s Curitiba track, where double world title winner SEAT will be defending the titles won in 2008 with the SEAT León TDI.
But the confidence that both titles and a magnificent car give does not mean that this new edition of the championship is going to be easy. The rivals, and the negative effect the new regulations imposed by the FIA has on the SEAT León TDI’s performance, are going to make the races more complicated and more difficult to win.
Last year, the Curitiba circuit provided a fantastic start thanks to Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini, the winners of the first two races. The SEAT Sport team once again includes Jordi Gené, Tiago Monteiro, Yvan Muller, Rickard Rydell and Gabriele Tarquini, who are all confident of kicking off the season the same way after the intensive work done during the winter tests.
The SEAT Sport drivers’ opinions on the 2009 season
Jordi Gené: ‘The expectations for the 2009 season are the same as last year. We have a competitive team, and I trust that with a bit of consistency at the beginning of the championship I can be ahead by the time we get to Macao’.
Tiago Monteiro: ’2008 was a very good year with the Diesel and I learned a lot. My goal for 2009 is to put my experience into practice, starting by getting good classifying results. In the races, the most important thing will be to score points early on in order to be in a good position to win the title’.
Yvan Muller: ‘My hope for the 2009 season is to do my best again, just like last year. The keys to winning the title will be consistency and good team-work’.
Rickard Rydell: ‘I’m sure SEAT will be in the running again for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in 2009, although I also think the competition from our rivals is going to be stronger. I’m going to compete after working for a year with my engineer and the León TDI, so I hope to win the world title’.
Gabriele Tarquini: ‘I’ll be very satisfied if I can repeat the fantastic 2008 season for the SEAT Sport team, although it’s clear this is going to be a difficult year because our rivals are a lot stronger’.
Participants and rules
To date, a total of 25 cars have registered at the WTCC, of which 16 are official cars, representing SEAT, BMW, Chevrolet and Lada. The Spanish brand will have ample representation, since besides the official team, Tom Coronel and Tom Boardman from the Sunred team, and Marin Colak from Team Ingra will be racing on a private basis with petrol-powered SEAT León WTCC units.
As for the sporting aspect, the Curitiba race will be the first to adopt the new format. This format consists of two rounds, where the ten best times will make it to the second round, competing for the pole position and the best starting positions.
There will be no weight penalty in the first two races of the season, and the result of these will be the basis for establishing the ballast for the third. It will also be the first race where the new ecological fuel will be used, containing 10% bio-ethanol, which is no detriment to global food production, and furthermore reduces emissions to the atmosphere.
Friday, 6th march
15.00 – 15.30 (19-19.30 CET): Free practice
Saturday, 7th march
9.00 – 9.30 (13-13.30 CET): Free practice
12.30 – 13.00 (16.30 – 17.00 CET): Free practice
16.00 – 16.35 (20-20.35 CET): Qualifying practice
Sunday, 8th march
9.30 – 9.45 (13.30-13.45 CET): Warm-up
13.00 (17.00 CET): 1st race
16.00 (20.00 CET): 2nd race
Pole Record: Y. Muller, SEAT León TDI, 1’24’295.
Fastest lap: A. Farfus (BMW) 1’24’959
2008 Race 1: 1. Y. Muller (SEAT León TDI), 2. R.Rydell (SEAT León TDI), 3. J.Müller (BMW)
2008 Race 2: 1. G. Tarquini (SEAT León TDI), 2. A.Priaulx (BMW), 3. F.Porteiro (BMW).
Qualifying: 20.00 (CET) Live
Race 1 – 19.00 (CET) Delayed
Race 2 – 19.45 (CET) Live
Weight and ballast
SEAT León TDI, 1170 Kg. + 0 Kg. ballast
SEAT León, 1155 Kg. + 0 Kg. ballast
BMW, 1140 Kg. + 0 Kg. ballast
Chevrolet, Lada and Honda, 1170 Kg. + 0 Kg. ballas