Urs Sonderegger Stefano D'Aste

The Wiechers-Sport BMW team has announced it has parted ways with underperforming Swiss rookie Urs Sonderegger with immediate effect, while confirming that former WTCC Independents’ champion Stefano D’Aste will reunite with the team for next weekend’s round at Porto.

The team – which has previously won the Independent Trophy titles in 2005 and 2007 – has struggled to achieve meaningful results in recent years, and its last-minute signing of 47-year-old Sonderegger was viewed as something of a surprise.

The Swiss driver had little in the way of results or pedigree to suggest he would do anything other than make up the numbers in his maiden WTCC season, and a pair of 15th places at Zolder have been his best results to-date after a string of off-the-pace qualifying performances.

D’Aste, however, certainly has the results behind him to suggest that he could move the German team up the order.

The Italian drove for the squad in 2007 and again in 2009, alternating with the Scuderia Proteam outfit on the even-numbered years in-between.

Last year, he was dropped by the Proteam outfit before the end of the season, and he now competes in the GT4 European Cup championship with Lotus where he leads the title race.

The deal will see D’Aste make his WTCC return on the streets of Porto next weekend, before he returns to the GT4 championship on the weekend of the WTCC round at Donington in mid-July.

Wiechers-Sport has confirmed that it will field a “top” guest driver for the two races on British soil, before D’Aste returns for the following rounds.

[Images via FIA WTCC Media and Flickr]

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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.