Former F1 driver Gabriele Tarquini looks a certainty to defend his World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) title aboard a works-assisted SEAT, despite the manufacturer’s announcement that it had withdrawn from future WTCC competition.

SEAT’s withdrawal appeared to leave the Italian veteran out in the cold for the 2010 season, but it has emerged that he is set to run in a Leon TDI with Spanish-based privateer SUNRED Engineering.

It is understood that Tarquini will compete in a SUNRED-prepared Leon with support from SEAT factory engineers, although Tarquini confirmed with AUTOSPORT that a deal had yet to be signed.

"I want to find a solution to continue," said Tarquini. "One opportunity could be to race a Leon with some support from the factory."

It is expected that SUNRED will run four Leon TDIs from its premises, located next to SEAT Sport HQ in Barcelona.

Already confirmed at SUNRED are Independents’ Trophy winner Tom Coronel and Danish Touring Car title winner Michel Nykjær – Tarquini is likely to be fielded under a separate banner with Russian protégé Timur Sadredinov.

As yet, there is no word on the future of the SEAT factory team’s other unsigned drivers: Rickard Rydell, Jordi Gene and Tiago Monteiro.

With less than 40 days until the first round at Curitiba, let’s hope a solution is found soon!

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.