Isaac Tutumlu has parted ways with the Proteam Racing team ahead of this weekend’s fourth event of the World Touring Car Championship season at the Hungaroring.
The 26-year-old Spanish-Kurdish driver was a last-minute signing to the Italian team after its originally-signed driver, fellow Spaniard Javier Villa, had to drop out when one of his sponsors fell through.
With no testing under his belt, Tutumlu had a tough outing first time out at the season-opener at Monza, but showed better form on home soil at Valencia, where he finished just outside of the points in eleventh place in the second race.
But his season effectively came to an end next time out at Morocco, where an accident in the first race saw him sustain massive rear-end damage to his BMW.
With the team unable to repair the damage in time, he was forced to skip last weekend’s round at the Slovakia Ring. Team-mate Mehdi Bennani was the team’s sole representative.
Tutumlu has blamed ongoing mechanical issues as the reasons for his departure.
“During every meeting where I have raced with (Proteam) in Italy, Spain and Morocco I had mechanical issues, no exceptions,” he is quoted as saying.
“My BMW 320 TC had issues such as engine, suspension or turbo over the course of the meetings and it was very hard to achieve good results in this way.
“Proteam Racing’s mechanics made a very professional work under the circumstances for me, always trying their best to have as good car as possible…despite almost everything going wrong during the races, with very troublesome weekends, I have received a lot of support.”
It seems a rather inconsistent statement to make – oddly praising the support from the team – in light of his apparent reasons for departing the team.
One might suspect that a sponsorship issue has probably also been a factor, particularly in light of the Spanish economy taking a nosedive as it feels the effects of the Euro crisis that has hit several other European economies. Let’s not forget that his compatriot Villa was unable to drive for the team this year for this very reason…
Proteam is yet to announce if it will field a replacement in Tutumlu’s place.