The two Swedish rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship witnessed an amazing debut for the groundbreaking new TDI-engined SEAT León WTCC. After Jordi Gené ran as high as 2nd in Race 1, Yvan Muller scored the new car’s first WTCC points by finishing in 6th place.
In the petrol-engined cars, Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini scored points in both races at Anderstorp; Monteiro finishing 2nd and 6th and Tarquini 5th and 7th. With heavy rain showers immediately before each race, Tarquini gambled on fitting dry “slick” tyres before Race 1, while it was Monteiro’s turn to opt for slicks in Race 2.
Tiago Monteiro scored his best result for SEAT Sport by finishing in 2nd place: his León crossing the line just 0.729 seconds behind the Chevrolet of Robert Huff. At first, Gabriele Tarquini’s gamble of fitting slick tyres didn’t look like it had worked, with the Italian lying in 17th place after 6 laps, but the drying track meant he charged through the field in the 2nd half of the race to claim 5th place on the very last lap.
Yvan Muller and Jordi Gené gave the two diesel-powered SEAT Sport cars a fantastic debut. Jordi ran in 2nd place for 4 laps after passing Tiago on lap 3, then a tyre problem meant he slipped back to finish 18th, but Yvan finished in an incredible 6th place. Tom Coronel finished 4th in the SEAT Netherlands powered by SEAT Sport León, making it 4 SEAT cars in the top 6. Michel Jourdain Jr. failed to finish after going off the track while trying to overtake.
Heavy rain fell around 20 minutes before the start, making tyre choice difficult. This time, Monteiro, Muller, Gené and Jourdain opted for slicks, while Tarquini chose to play it safe and fit heavily-grooved wet tyres. Again, the 1st half of the race saw the conditions favour those cars fitted with wets, although once the track dried, Monteiro took full advantage and stormed through to finish 6th, 2 places behind Tom Coronel, who finished 4th once again.
Tarquini felt that his tyre choice might have been a little too conservative – the Italian finished 7th, with Michel Jourdain 12th after another charge over the final few laps. Jordi Gené stalled on the startline after having difficulty seeing the starting lights and then experienced power steering problems, while a similar issue meant Yvan Muller was forced to pull into the pits on lap 9.
The next WTCC meeting will be at Oschersleben in Germany on August 25th/26th.