The Race of Hungary, the fourth event of the 2011 World Touring Car Championship season happens this weekend at the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest.
Richard’s F1 previews this weekend’s action and takes a look at some of the talking points leading into this weekend…
The Hungaroring was a late addition to the World Touring Car Championship calendar after the sudden cancellation of the Race of Morocco at Marrakech, and it’s also the first time that the championship will pay a visit to the country.
The circuit has hosted a round of the European Touring Car Championship in 2001, with Fabrizio Giovanardi (Alfa Romeo) and Roberto Colciago (Audi A4) winning a race apiece.
Having played host to the Formula 1 circus since 1986, the Hungaroring is an iconic venue on the F1 calendar, synonymous for its lack of overtaking and slippery surface. The much slower WTCC beast should not find the 4.4-kilometre circuit as much of a challenge overtaking-wise, although there’s little doubt that the undulating circuit will present its own challenges to the drivers this weekend.
With the championship-leading Chevrolets having dominated proceedings in the opening three events on the calendar, the Hungaroring’s twistier nature could play into the hands of the BMW and SEAT drivers.
Undoubtedly, fans’ entire attention will be focused on one driver this weekend: Norbert Michelisz. The BMW driver currently lies eighth in the championship standings, and he’ll be thrilled to open his win account on home soil if given half the opportunity.
If the Chevrolets are again the team to beat, then the main point of interest will be how the team manages the increasingly intense competition brewing between its three lead drivers, Robert Huff, Yvan Muller and Alain Menu. Both Huff and Menu were on the receiving end of some rather pushy driving from Muller, and all three will desperate to assert their authority this weekend with the championship still very much wide open.
On the SEAT front, the Spanish outfit has again performed more tests on its new turbocharged engine, which it will be hoping it can debut on at least some of its cars this weekend. With Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro leading the outfit’s championship charge, expect the two ex-F1 stars to get first use of the new-for-2011 engine configuration.
Make sure you stay tuned to the Richard’s F1 website this weekend for the latest news and results in this championship series!
2011 FIA World Touring Car Championship Entry List (Race of Hungary):
|1.||RML Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||Yvan Muller|
|2.||RML Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||Robert Huff|
|3.||Lukoil-SUNRED||SEAT León 2.0 TDI||Gabriele Tarquini|
|4.||Lukoil-SUNRED||SEAT León 2.0 TDI||Aleksei Dudukalo|
|5.||Zengõ-Dension Team||BMW 320 TC||Norbert Michelisz|
|7.||SEAT Swiss Racing by SUNRED||SEAT León 2.0 TDI||Fredy Barth|
|8.||RML Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||Alain Menu|
|9.||Bamboo Engineering||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||Darryl O’Young|
|10.||Bamboo Engineering||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||Yukinori Taniguchi|
|11.||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||BMW 320 TC||Kristian Poulsen|
|12.||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||BMW 320 TC||Franz Engstler|
|15.||ROAL Motorsport||BMW 320 TC||Tom Coronel|
|17.||SUNRED Engineering||SEAT León 2.0 TDI||Michel Nykjær|
|18.||SUNRED Engineering||SEAT León 2.0 TDI||Tiago Monteiro|
|20.||Scuderia Proteam||BMW 320 TC||Javier Villa García|
|21.||Scuderia Proteam||BMW 320si||Fabio Fabiani|
|25.||Scuderia Proteam||BMW 320 TC||Mehdi Bennani|
|30.||Polestar Volvo||Volvo C30||Robert Dahlgren|
|35.||Wiechers-Sport||BMW 320 TC||Urs Sonderegger|
|65.||Deteam KK Motorsport||BMW 320 TC||Marchy Lee Ying Kin|
|74.||SUNRED Engineering||SEAT León 2.0 TDI||Pepe Oriola|
* Subject to final FIA confirmation
[Original images via FIA WTCC official site]