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WTCC confirms Goldenport as Sonoma replacement

Photo by FIA WTCC MediaThe World Touring Car Championship has today confirmed that the replacement round for the cancelled Sonoma meeting will be held at the Goldenport Motor Park in Beijing on the first weekend in October.

The change to the calendar has today been ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, following a request by Eurosport Events.

Series bosses had earlier been forced to cancel the round in California due to logistical problems presented by the cancellation of the vessel which was scheduled to leave Oakland’s harbour on September 17th to transport the cars and equipment to Shanghai. With the next vessel not leaving until September 21st, thus not arriving until October 9th, the decision was taken to cancel the event as it would not allow the team’s enough time to prepare for the planned USA round on October 12th.

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“We had to face a logistic challenge and after consulting WTCC stakeholders, we went through all possible scenarios, including date change or air freight, but we came to the conclusion that keeping Sonoma on schedule was not viable,” said François Ribeiro, Eurosport Events’ Director of Operations.

“[The] Chinese Touring Car Championship promoter, our partner in China, has quickly reacted to change its CTCC schedule and put together an alternative event at Beijing, the week before Shanghai. This will not only allow WTCC to race in the two main provinces of China, and keep raising WTCC profile in the most important car market in the world, but will also simplify logistics and save budget for the teams.”

Xia Qing, promoter for the CTCC, adds that the WTCC is a good match for the Chinese domestic touring car series, which will be further buoyed by the success of Citroën driver Ma Qing Hua on the world stage.

“CTCC and WTCC are matching well together to run joint events,” said Xia. “Beijing Goldenport is different from Shanghai International Circuit. It will offer Chinese motorsport fans compact and intense touring car races.

“It will also be interesting to see former CTCC driver, Ma Qing Hua, competing on his home soil with the top WTCC drivers. His first WTCC victory at Moscow has created significant amount of interest in China.”

Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway’s President and General Manager, says he is sorry to miss the WTCC for the final year of an original three-year contract.

“We are sorry to miss the terrific on-track action that the WTCC has brought to Sonoma the last two years,” said Page. “We wish the best everyone involved with the series as they pursue this new schedule.”

The replacement round in Beijing will take place on October 5th 2014.

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