The World Touring Car Championship heads to the Salzburgring this weekend, and the Championship leading Chevrolet team expects the fast Austrian circuit to deliver an interesting race.
Though this will be the first time the WTCC and RML-run Chevrolet team will race at the Salzburgring, S2000 cars have been a regular feature at the circuit in recent years, hosting rounds of the FIA European Touring Car Cup on three occasions.
With Michel Nykjaer racing their last year with the Chevrolet Cruze, the team has access to some data for the circuit, though this will be the first time the newer 1.6 turbocharged engine has been raced there.
It also won’t be the first time Championship leader Yvan Muller has been to the Salzburgrin, as the Frenchman competed there back in 1997 whilst driving for Audi in the Super Tourenwagen Cup.
“I must be one of the few WTCC drivers who has raced at Salzburgring in the past,” said Muller. “It was in 1997 when I was participating in the German Touring Car Championship, but that was many years ago and it doesn’t really represent any advantage.”
“What I remember is a very fast track with no slow corners; it is a pleasant circuit to race on, but also demanding. The back uphill section has two long right corners that pose enormous stress on the front left tyre.”
Not to let his team-mate have all the advantage, Alain Menu, second in the Championship, visited the track after Hungary.
“The circuit looks very fast, especially the double right-hander that ends in a hairpin,” said Menu. “It’s definitely a power track, but I also think that towing will be crucial in such a fast track, especially in qualifying.”
Chevrolet Motorsport Manager Eric Nève added:
“Salzburgring is a spectacular track and I saw one of the most exciting touring car races I have ever seen there. It was the ETCC finale in 2008 when Michel Nykjær won the title after a superb battle. The entire race was a slip-stream battle with constant overtaking. I think we are in for some exciting racing this weekend.”