The World Touring Car Championship races in Hungary for the first ever time this weekend, as the fourth round of the 2011 season takes place at the Hungaroring outside Budapest.
The Race of Hungary was added the calendar as a replacement for the cancelled round on the streets of Marrakech, as the organisers of the Moroccan event failed to secure the backing required.
Though the WTCC has never raced at the Hungaroring its predecessor the European Touring Car Championship did visit the circuit in 2001, where Fabrizio Giovanardi and Roberto Colciago shared the wins for Alfa Romeo and Audi respectively.
The addition to the calendar provides the opportunity for Norbert Michelisz and his Zengo Dension Team to race in front of their home fans. Michelisz came close to scoring a podium finish at the previous round of the season at Monza – only his second race with the BMW 320 TC. He will be looking not only to claim his first podium of the season this weekend, but to also add to his maiden victory from Macau last year.
A double victory at Monza extended Rob Huff‘s lead in the drivers’ standings as the Briton chases his first world title. Defending champion and Chevrolet teammate Yvan Muller lies second, 36 points behind Huff, with Alain Menu completing the Chevrolet top three just five points behind that.
SUNRED had hoped to have their new 1.6 litre turbo engine ready to help the SEAT Leons take the fight to the Cruzes, but that now looks unlikely. Gabriele Tarquini will still hope for a better weekend than he enjoyed at home at Monza, where he slipped behind teammate Tiago Monteiro in the standings. Monteiro will hope he can maintain his run of two podium finishes from the last two events.
ROAL Motorsport driver Tom Coronel leads the BMW assault alongside Michelisz, with Kristian Poulsen hoping to keep hold of the Yokohama Trophy standings lead in his Team Engstler-entered BMW. Like SUNRED, Polestar are not yet ready to install their new engine in their Volvo C30, so Robert Dahlgren will have another uphill battle to compete with the frontrunners this weekend.
A new circuit means a 30 minute test session on Friday for the team’s to find their way around, with two free practice sessions following on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying in the afternoon. The two races begin at 12:20 and 13:35 local time, or 11:20 and 12:35 BST. Auto GP headline the support bill, with the Trofeo Maserati Gran Turismo and the local Lotus Ladies Cup completing the action.