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D’Aste: ‘At the moment I have no plans’

Stefano D'Aste. Photo by FIA WTCC MediaWorld Touring Car Championship regular Stefano D’Aste admits that he is not sure where his 2014 plans lie, saying that at the moment he will not race full-time in the series in the forthcoming season.

D’Aste has raced in the WTCC in every season since the series’ inception in 2005, with the Italian only missing races at the tail end of 2010 and into 2011, when he only made six apprearances. Since then he has secured two wins, both in 2011, and five podiums.

However with the introduction of the new regulations for 2014, D’Aste fears it lives independents such as him very few options to remain competitive.

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“I think that it is a little bit crazy for an independent team running in the WTCC in 2014,” said D’Aste to TouringCars.Net. “If I look at it from a professional side and as a business it is crazy because you need a very big budget and you don’t know what that will be.

“To start with an investment so big is crazy for an independent team. It is something that can be done only by a manufacturer.”

Although acknowledging that it is important for new manufacturers to be drawn into the series, D’Aste admitted that he was not sure that the way the new regulations have been ushered in was the right one.

“If you see the WTCC in the last three years, the series lived more on the independent teams than the manufacturer teams, and so it is strange and the cost of the cars now are crazy,” added D’Aste.

“I cannot say it is wrong. But if I have to say something it is that probably the way that they have gone is probably not the right way for the bad economic situation in the world at the moment.”

For 2014, D’Aste therefore plans to play a waiting game and not rush into the series. The Italian admits that he is not interested in racing in TC2, likening it to a good category for ETCC [European Touring Car Cup] graduates to learn the ropes, rather than somewhere he desires to race.

“At the moment I have no plans in TC1 or TC2,” admitted D’Aste. “I think that it [TC2] is a good category for a driver that comes from ETCC to start to learn the tracks of the World Touring Car Championship. I have been fighting always in the top ten or top five so it is not nice to fight from seventeenth and below [in TC2].

“What I want to do is to wait and see what the WTCC will be about this year. OK if some team arrives and says to me ‘we have found this budget we can make you race’ then OK. But if not then I want to wait to see what will be because I cannot risk to invest €2,000,000 to buy the car and all the equipment because many things will change. Fighting with the factory teams is very, very hard. But I don’t want to go there and be at the back.

“I would like to do some races. If I find a free seat it will be my pleasure to race it.”

The 37 year-old is already looking to 2015, when he hopes that the costs will have reduced and more reasonably priced cars will become available.

“Next year there will be more cars on sale because probably Citroën will start to sell the cars,” explained D’Aste. “But the costs are completely crazy.”

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