The WTCC heads to Portimão for the seventh meeting of the season this weekend, following on from a surprise result last time out due to tyre issues for a number of drivers. Last time the WTCC was at Portimão, tyre wear and punctures were also the story of the weekend.
This will be the FIA World Touring Car Championship’s second visit to the track in the Algarve, last visiting their in 2010 with SEAT drivers winning both of the races in the then competitive SEAT León TDI.
Tiago Monteiro has always gone well at his home event, whether it’s been held at Estoril, Porto or Portimão, taking two of his four career victories on home soil This includes the first race victory in Portimão in 2010, with team-mate Gabriele Tarquini winning race two, meaning the Spanish manufacturer currently has a 100% victory record at the circuit.
The cards are stacked against the Portuguese driver this weekend as he shall be competing again in the SUNRED SR León 1.6T, which with the withdrawal of the SEAT León TDI from the grid, will likely be the most underpowered car on the grid. That said, with three fifth place finishes in the last four races, Monteiro has been able to punch above his weight, helped by some great work from the SUNRED team, who have been able to improve the performance of their underfunded engine whilst they wait for the new SEAT Sport powerplant.
Gabriele Tarquini seemed to take a liking to the track in 2010, going from sixth to first in the second race passing all three Chevrolet Cruzes, then running with the normally aspirated two-litre engine. This year the power advantage will be all Chevrolet’s, but after all five cars suffered from punctures last time out in Austria, and with Rob Huff being eliminated from race one with a similar front-left failure at this circuit two years ago, they’ll be likely to be more cautious this time, which may see someone with a daring set-up threaten the Championship leaders this weekend.
There are few changes on the grid this weekend, first Tom Boardman will switch to the new 1.6 litre turbocharged SEAT Sport engine after campaigning with the turbo-diesel engine since Valencia. The British driver will therefore be in equal equipment with team-mate Darryl O’Young as well as SEAT rivals Gabriele Tarquini, Pepe Oriola and Aleksei Dudukalo for the first time this season.
Fellow Brit James Thompson returns for his final scheduled appearance of the season in the Lada Granta Sport. Thompson has never raced at the Portimão circuit either and so will have to adapt quickly as the majority of the field did race here before in 2010, whilst demonstrating the improvements made to the Granta since its first appearance in Hungary.
Lastly, there will be a change in the number of Chevrolets apparent on the grid as Alain Menu’s car will take on the guise of the fictional Vaillante racing team, with the Swiss driver posing as French comic book motorsport hero Michel Vaillant at the weekend, complete with new overalls, contact lenses and hair dye.
FIA World Touring Car Championship – Race Of Portugal Entry List
No – Driver – Nat – Team – Car
1 – Yvan Muller – FRA – Chevrolet – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
2 – Robert Huff – GBR – Chevrolet – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
3 – Gabriele Tarquini – ITA – Lukoil Racing Team – SEAT León WTCC
4 – Aleksei Dudukalo *- RUS – Lukoil Racing Team – SEAT León WTCC
5 – Norbert Michelisz * – HUN – Zengő Motorsport – BMW 320 TC
6 – Franz Engstler* – GER – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320 TC
7 – Charles Kaki Ng* – HKG – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320 TC
8 – Alain Menu (Michel Vaillant)- SUI – Chevrolet (Vaillante) – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
11 – Alex MacDowall* – GBR – Bamboo Engineering – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
12 – Pasquale Di Sabatino* – ITA – Bamboo Engineering – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
14 – James Nash – GBR – Arena International Motorsport – Ford Focus S2000 TC
15 – Tom Coronel – NED – ROAL Motorsport – BMW 320 TC
16 – Alberto Cerqui* – ITA – ROAL Motorsport – BMW 320 TC
18 – Tiago Monteiro – POR – SUNRED Engineering – SR León 1.6T
20 – Darryl O’Young* – HKG – Special Tuning Racing – SEAT León WTCC
22 – Tom Boardman* – GBR – Special Tuning Racing – SEAT León WTCC
23 – Tom Chilton – GBR – Arena International Motorsport – Ford Focus S2000 TC
25 – Mehdi Bennani* – MOR – Proteam Racing – BMW 320 TC
26 – Stefano D’Aste* – ITA – Wiechers-Sport – BMW 320 TC
27 – Gábor Wéber* – HUN – Zengő Motorsport – BMW 320 TC
69 – James Thompson – GBR – Lada Sport – Lada Granta Sport
74 – Pepe Oriola* – SPN – SUNRED Engineering – SEAT León WTCC
* Eligible for Yokohama Independents’ Trophy
Race Of Portugal Weekend Timetable
Saturday 2nd June
09:00 – 09:30 – Free Practice 1
12:10 – 12:40 – Free Practice 2
14:15 – 14:50 – Qualifying
Sunday 3rd June
09:00 – 09:15 – Warm Up
13:05 – Race One (11 Laps)
15:35 – Race Two (11 Laps)
* All times local time WEST (CET+1, BST+0)
Race Of Portugal Compensation Weights
Car – Weight – Breakdown
Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T – 1,200kg – 1,160 +40kg success ballast
BMW 320 TC – 1,200kg – 1,160 + 40kg success ballast
Lada Granta Sport – 1,190kg – 1,150 +20kg late entry + 20kg national ballast
SEAT León WTCC – 1,180kg – 1,150 + 30kg success ballast
SR León 1.6T – 1,150kg – 1,150 – 20kg penalty ballast + 20kg national ballast
Ford Focus S2000 TC – 1,130kg – 1,150 -20kg success ballast