Stefano D’Aste will make a full-time return to the World Touring Car Championship with the Wiechers-Sport BMW outfit, for whom he raced sporadically last season.
The Italian has raced on and off for the team over the past few years. After driving for the team in the 2007 season – a year in which he won the Yokohama Independents’ Trophy – he returned to race for them again in 2009, and again for a part-season in 2011.
He was a last-minute call-up mid-season to the Race of Portugal, after the team dispensed with the services of its hopeless pay-driver Urs Sonderegger. Despite no testing in the new turbocharged BMW, D’Aste promptly qualified the car inside the top-ten at Porto, and later went on to take a class win at the Race of Germany at Oschersleben.
With the season-opening races at Monza just three weeks away, the announcement has come too late for the team to be able to perform any pre-season testing with D’Aste, but all parties remain confident that should prove to be no obstacle.
“I’m very happy to be back in WTCC and [with] Wiechers-Sport,” D’Aste is quoted as saying.
“I know it will be tough and that I will need some races to be back on top. We will arrive at Monza without any testing and it won’t be easy, but we have a good car, a great technical support and I trust the team.”
“We have worked hard to fix our 2012 programme in the WTCC,” added Wiechers-Sport team manager Dominik Greiner.
“And I’m really happy that we managed to find a deal with Stefano once again. He has a lot of experience and we have been very successful together. I think we have a very strong package for the season.”