Gabriele Tarquini is to defend his World Touring Car Championship title this season after being named as one of four drivers for the newly-formed SR-Sport team.
The team, an offshoot of the SUNRED Engineering outfit, will also run Jordi Gene and Tiago Monteiro – giving three of the ex-works SEAT drivers a place on the grid for 2010, while Independents' champion Tom Coronel will also run under the SR-Sport banner.
All four drivers will run in the SEAT Leon TDi.
"I am really pleased that I was given the opportunity to stay in the championship," Tarquini said. "I had received offers for other series, but my ambition was to defend the title. This is the first time in my career that I can sport the number one of the world champion and I did not want to miss it.
"The SUNRED people are competent, motivated and ready to make a step forward. The Leon TDI was the winning car last year and I think it can be still competitive. Obviously we won't have the same technical and financial means we had with SEAT Sport, but in spite of this I believe we have the potential to win some rounds and, with a bit of luck, to fight for the title again."
SR-Sport team boss Joan Orus was also pleased with the announcement.
“I am really enthusiastic to race the SEAT TDi cars, because I think we will be able to fight for the WTCC title with the new team SR-Sport and four great drivers,” he said. “We will also run Michel Nykjær's cars under the SUNRED banner and altogether this is a great opportunity to show our potential and future possibilities.
“I want to say thank you to SEAT Sport's customer department for their support and to all drivers for placing confidence in our team.”
With Yvan Muller having already moved to Chevrolet for 2010, the SR-Sport announcement means that four of the five factory SEAT drivers have now secured drives for the year ahead following SEAT's decision to quit the championship. Rickard Rydell has been linked to a return to racing in his native Sweden.