The 2013 World Touring Car Championship heads into the first part of a double header as the series heads into its second visit to the Slovakia Ring near Bratislava.
After making a successful début in 2012 and giving the fans two exciting races and proving that the field is competitive as Norbert Michelisz in a BMW 320TC took pole position before Gabriele Tarquini lead home a Lukoil Racing team 1-2 with Alexey Dudukalo taking his maiden podium finish.
Race 2 saw Rob Huff secure his first win of the season ahead of Yvan Muller, Huff making amends for his race one non finish while Muller finished tenth after a penalty for spinning Michelisz.
It is Muller in the RML Group Chevrolet Cruze who leads the Championship arriving in Slovakia, having taken two wins at Monza and a fourth and second place finish on the streets of Marrakech.
Leading the charge after his maiden WTCC victory in Morocco is Dane Michel Nykjaer in the Nika Racing Chevrolet Cruze, with Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team driver Gabriele Tarquini equal on points with the Dane but behind in the standings on countback.
The other Chevrolet drivers are all inside the top ten with Mullers’ team-mate, Tom Chilton 4th, James Nash in the bamboo engineering Cruze 5th and Alex MacDowall in the sister bamboo engineering car 8th.
A maiden win for the Honda Civic isn’t far away – Tiago Monteiro in the sister Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team car just needs a change of luck while Michelisz in the Zengo Motorsport car will look to give the “Norbi” barmy army something to cheer ahead of the third visit to the Hungaroring.
SEAT took their first win of the season last time out in Morocco with Pepe Oriola becoming the youngest winner ever of a WTCC race. With SEAT securing the maiden WTCC Race of Slovakia victory last year, the Spanish manufacturer could secure another victory this time out.
Fellow SEAT outfit ALL-INKL.com Münnich Motorsport have previous experience at the Slovakia Ring – the team secured a podium here in the 2012 FIA GT1 World Championship while they did their pre season testing at the circuit.
After the opening two race weekends of the season, the Slovakia Ring offers the BMW teams’ a chance to get their season underway – the expected high ambient temperatures and long corners will play to their advantage.
Tom Coronel in the ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC leads the charge for the German marquee while the other BMW entrants have found the going tough to date with the next best BMW driver being the Liqui Moly Team Engstler entrant of Franz Engstler.
LADA will also look for a strong race showing – their sponsor Lukoil had their best weekend in the WTCC at the circuit last season and James Thompson has shown the pace of the Granta while Mikhail Koslovskiy will look to continue his WTCC education having made his début in Marrakech.