Sunred SEATs - Photo Credit: fiawtcc.com

Barlesi joins Monteiro (front) and Oriola (rear) in another of Sunred's SEAT Leons - Photo Credit: fiawtcc.com

Andrea Barlesi has joined the World Touring Car Championship on the eve of the 2012 season, signing to race a SEAT for the Sunred team.

20-year-old Barlesi switches to touring cars from sportscars, where he won the Formula Le Mans title in 2010. He then contested the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year.

Born in Paris to an Italian father and a Belgian mother, Barlesi joins Tiago Monteiro and Pepe Oriola at Sunred for the coming season, which gets underway this weekend at Monza.

“I had different options in endurance, including the WEC, but none would allow me to compete at the front,” said Barlesi. “This is the reason I decided to go with touring cars, especially since I had the chance to work with Sunred.

“I am pleased again to be working with Tiago Monteiro. At Le Mans last year we were in the same team and things clicked between us. I hope that I can use his experience to progress as quickly as possible.

WTCC is not only a good learning experience for me, but also a return to the source of my racing debut in the Clio Cup. I do not expect anything other than to work hard. My endurance career is on hold for now but it is not impossible to start at Le Mans in June.”