Reigning World Touring Car Independents' Trophy winners Proteam have announced an all-new driver line-up for the 2009 season after signing Felix Porteiro and George Tanev.
The Italian team dominated its class last year with the combination of Sergio Hernandez and Stefano D'Aste, but with the former graduating to the factory BMW team and the latter defecting to rivals Wiechers-Sport, Proteam will enlist the services of two WTCC regulars for their latest campaign.
Coming in the opposite direction of Hernandez, Porteiro arrives at Proteam having won two races during his two-year stint at BMW Team Italy-Spain, while he was also classified tenth in the standings last season.
The Spaniard's decision to join Proteam comes despite rumours linking him with a drive in an ex-N Technology Honda Accord Euro R, possibly run by Campos Racing. However, the likelihood of seeing the team before the first round looks slim now.
Tanev, meanwhile, joined the series late on in 2008 driving a Petrol GT BMW 320si, but switched to a Proteam prepared machine for the season finale at Macau. The Bulgarian will now remain with the team for his first full year in the category.
Furthermore, Proteam team owner Valmiro Presenzini claims it is still their intention to get a third car on the grid for the first round in Brazil.
“We are still in negotiations with a few other drivers, as we aim for running a third car.”