Volvo and Polestar have signed former World Touring Car Champion Gabriele Tarquini after ending their relationship with James Thompson.

Tarquini will race for the team in the next two races of the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship.

“We are very happy to have Tarquini on board,” said Team Manager Christian Dahl. “Regardless of his previous track record from F1 to titles both in BTCC, ETCC and WTCC, what has impressed us equally is how good of a job he is doing in the WTCC this year. We look forward to apply his talent in STCC now and hope he will be able to score important points for us in the STCC team championship.”

Tarquini will drive the Volvo C30 DRIVe, the same car that Robert Dahlgren races in the WTCC, but with a naturally aspirated engine and powered by bio ethanol E85.

“Tarquini will drive the two races at Karlskoga and Jyllandsringen, the two worst tracks for front wheel drive cars on the calendar and where a top-five result is an achievement,” said Derek Crabb, Executive Director for Motorsport at Volvo Cars. “On the other hand, these extreme circumstances are ideal to test how quick and well Tarquini and Volvo Polestar can align as a team, which is of obvious interest as our motorsport program may evolve.”

“I really look forward to this,” said Tarquini. “I have raced closely against Volvo Polestar and the C30 in the WTCC this year so I know I am joining a highly professional team with a very good car and serious ambitions. Also, I have raced most types of racing cars and for several different brands in many different international and national championships, but both Volvo and the STCC will be two firsts for me. I am very excited.”

The deal points towards a possible partnership should Volvo and Polestar commit fully to the World Touring Car Championship next season. It had previously been anticipated that Thompson would race the C30 in the WTCC prior to their split. Dahl cited 'their different philosophies on how to develop a racing car' as the motive for the split.