The grid for this year’s World Touring Car Championship continues to swell with news that SUNRED Engineering has signed Andrea Barlesi and Fernando Monje to make their championship debuts for the SEAT outfit.

Barcelona-born Monje, who turns 19 years old tomorrow, started out in karts at the age of twelve before making his single-seater debut at the age of sixteen, competing in the Formul’Academy Euro Series.

After winning the Catalan Single Seater Championship in 2009, he graduated to the European F3 Open championship, where he has been competing for the last two years. His tin-top debut came as a sixteen-year-old in the SEAT León Supercopa Spain with SUNRED.

Born in Paris to Italian and Belgian parents, 20-year-old racer Andrea Barlesi competes under the Belgian flag. He raced in karting until 2009, when he made his touring car debut in the French Renault Clio Cup (Junior Class). More recently, he has competed in endurance racing.

While Barlesi will be behind the wheel, Monje will be missing from the WTCC action at this weekend’s season-opening Race of Italy at Monza. He will instead make his championship debut at the following round at Valencia.

The duo will join Tiago Monteiro, Pepe Oriola, Gabriele Tarquini and Aleksei Dudukalo in what is effectively a six-car SEAT effort fronted by SUNRED, although split into three distinctly-branded teams: Monteiro and Oriola will compete under the Tuenti Racing banner, while Tarquini and Dudukalo will race in the colours of Lukoil. The sextet is also joined by a separate SEAT squad, Special Tune Racing, which is making its WTCC debut.

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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.