Stefano D’Aste and the Wiechers-Sport team started their 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship campaign with a win in the Yokohama Independents category at Monza, to back up the solid fifth place from earlier in the day.
Team owner Wolfgang Kruse was able to enjoy the weekend and the results which arrived: “I loved the whole weekend and how confidently and competently the team has adjusted to the race. Stefano has in all situations reacted calm and clever, and thus brings us a great weekend.”
The season got underway with a five hour test on the Thursday, and this saw the first weekend for the team’s new Technical Director, Marco Calovolo, who joined the team during the winter.
Saturday morning saw D’Aste continue to steadily improve and in qualifying, he secured his passage into the second stage, where he finished eleventh overall and fifth of the Yokohama Independent runners.
Monza is the home circuit for D’Aste and an integral part of the WTCC calendar. At the start of the opening race, the local driver was on the move up the order until he got caught up in a first corner accident which dropped him down the order to twentieth position.
At the end of the opening race, D’Aste had recovered to eleventh position overall and fifth in the Yokohama Independents, and he lined up in the same position for the second round of the season.
Off the standing start, D’Aste used the advantage of the rear wheel drive BMW 320TC to shoot up the field into fifth, and at one stage was on for an outright podium finish. He dropped down the order when the Chevrolet drivers came calling but wound up fifth overall, first in the Yokohama Independents and second of the BMW drivers, behind ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel.
“We had an absolutely wonderful weekend,” explained D’Aste. “We had not planned on this result. As I pointed out before the first race, we had a not so easy starting point.
“Unlike our competitors we have travelled to Monza without a test drive, and there were some personnel changes in the team. With Marco Calovolo the team has a new technical director, which I am really pleased with. So Marco and the team had to get to know each other and to warm up these were actually not really the optimal conditions for my home race.
“What we have then made from both of these two races, however, is simply pure madness. Marco and the team are already in perfect harmony after just one event and work as a unit. I think this combination will be our special strength in the 2012 season!”
Leaving Monza, D’Aste has ten Championship points in the overall drivers’ Championship while sharing the lead of the Yokohama Independents heading to Valencia in three weeks time.
Greiner was pleased for D’Aste as it was his home race weekend: “It is a season opener to measure. The victory at Monza is of course both twice as beautiful as it is the home race for Stefano.
He was also pleased with how well the team’s new technical director has fitted in: “I am also pleased that we were able to reinforce over the winter with such an experienced man like Marco Calovolo, including the know-howhe brings from Formula 1 and DTM.
“He has already transferred in a short time a new impetus to our team. Marco harmonizes well with our mechanics and I am sure that this combination will be recording even better in the near future and we will jointly benefit even more!”
Calovolo is pleased with how the Monza race weekend went for the team, both the mechanics and out on track: “I’m really pleased with the results of our first event. After our test on Thursday we were able to gather much data.
“After analyzing this data with Stefano, we found the fast track for the weekend. After each training session, we were able to achieve a continuous improvement of the vehicle, not least thanks to the support of KW and BMW Motorsport technicians.
“In the race, again Stefano showed his driving class. The mechanics have delivered an outstanding job over the weekend, I’m impressed how professionally the meachanics at Wiechers-Sport work and I am glad that I may work with them this season.”