The World Touring Car Championship arrives in Japan this weekend for the penultimate round of the 2010 season. It will be the third time that the series has visited the Okayama International Circuit. There will be four Japanese drivers taking part in the two races, helping to create additional interest for the local fans. The quartet all recently took part in a media event for Japanese tyre suppliers Yokohama to help promote the race.
Nobuteru Taniguchi will drive a BMW 320si for Scuderia Proteam Motorsport, just as he did in 2009. Nobuteru, a regular competitor in the Super GT and Super Taikyu series, is looking to improve on his disappointing results from last year, when he finished 20th in the first race and retired from the second. “Last year was my first time to compete in the WTCC races but the results were devastating defeats and frustrating for me. As Yokohama Rubber kindly gave me a second opportunity this year, I would like to show my best possible performance against the world’s famous top drivers to know how good I am in that level.”
Masataka Yanagida will make his WTCC debut, driving for Wiechers-Sport in another BMW 320si. He is looking forward to the event. “This will be my first opportunity to drive in WTCC races but I have really been wishing to take part in this category for some time. As I am going to challenge to this world-class event, even if it is to be held in Japan, I would like to show good races for the fans with strong determination to be competitive against foreign drivers. I will do my best.”
Yukinori Taniguchi joined the Bamboo-Engineering team for the German round of the season, driving a Chevrolet Lacetti. He drove at the 2008 Race of Japan for the N.Technology team in a Honda Accord, finishing 20th and 19th in the two races. “I participated in the Monza and Okayama round with a Honda Accord two years ago. I have to admit I was overwhelmed then by the atmosphere of the world championship event but I think I will be prepared much better for the races this year. Having two Taniguchis in the same race may be a headache for broadcasters but I will do my best and appreciate your support.”
The fourth local driver will be Yoshihiro Ito, making his WTCC debut for Liqui Moly Team Engstler in a BMW 320si. “I have been wishing to drive in WTCC since the day I began racing. I started to talk with the team when they came to Okayama for the first Japanese event and it finally materialized this year. Comparing with the other Japanese drivers, I am rather unknown and have less experiences but I will try to follow them as close as possible. During my first test session in Germany, I would like to do the best possible preparation for the event in Okayama.”
Shigeo Komatsu, Operating Officer for Yokohama, commented: “This year’s Japanese round will be the third visit of WTCC to the country. For the last two years, we had rain on the race days and some interesting races were provided due to the rain. But I would cross my fingers for good weather this year. And we will have four top-line Japanese drivers in this year’s event. I also hope to see impressive performances displayed by each of them.”