With little more than a week to go until the opening round of the 9th FIA WTCC season gets underway, the entry list for Monza has been released by the FIA.
Three WTCC champions are on the grid for 2013, including reigning champion Rob Huff, 2008, 2010 and 2011 champion Yvan Muller and 2009 title-winner Gabrielle Tarquini.
Rob Huff caries the number 1 plate for 2013 having signed a last minute deal in February with former FIA GT1 champions Münnich Motorsport. He will drive a SEAT Leon for the German squad. This will be the first time that he has raced a different car for a season since 2004, when he raced an RML-prepared Seat Toledo in the BTCC.
Tiago Monteiro (JAS Honda) and Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport) will both be looking to get back onto the top step of the podium after less competitive 2012 campaigns due to the dominance of the factory Chevrolet team RML, which no longer has factory status for 2013. Yvan Muller and Tom Chilton are to drive Chevrolet Cruze cars for the British based touring car experts.
2012 Yokohama Independent Trophy winner Norbert Michelisz (Zengo Motorsport Honda) is also back, but he is not eligible for the independent championship. Instead, he and fellow contender Pepe Oriola (tuenti SEAT) will be racing for the outright honours, thanks to increased support for their teams from manufacturers Honda and SEAT Sport respectively.
2011 Yokohama Trophy contender Michel Nykjaer re-joins the class with NIKA racing and will be looking for the trophy he missed out on by just 2 points. Also among the challengers for top independent are Franz Engstler, Stefano D'Aste and bamboo engineering drivers, James Nash and Alex MacDowall.
Five manufacturers have already been confirmed for 2013, with BMW, Chevrolet and SEAT joined by factory teams from Honda and Lada. Ford and Lexus are also rumoured to be taking part in the championship in some capacity at some point during the season.
Following the season start at Monza, the WTCC circus will visit 11 other countries before ending the season at the prestigious Macau circuit on November 17 (See latest calendar
.)FIA World Touring Car Championship – Monza 2013 Entry List1 Rob Huff
(GBR) Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC3 Gabriele Tarquini
(ITA) JAS Honda Racing Honda Civic S2000 TC5 Norbert Michelisz
(HUN) Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic S2000 TC6 Franz Engstler *
(GER) Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320 TC7 Charles Ng *
(HKG) Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320 TC9 Alex MacDowall *
(GBR) bamboo-engineering Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T10 James Thompson
(GBR) LADA Sport Lukoil Lada Granta11 Aleksei Dudukalo
(RUS) LADA Sport Lukoil Lada Granta12 Yvan Muller
(FRA) RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T13 Jean-Philippe Dayraut *
(FRA) ANOME BMW 320 TC14 James Nash *
(GBR) bamboo-engineering Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T15 Tom Coronel
(NED) ROAL Motorsport BMW 320 TC17 Michel Nykjaer *
(DEN) Nika Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T18 Tiago Monteiro
(POR) JAS Honda Racing Honda Civic S2000 TC19 Fernando Monje *
(SPN) Campos Racing SEAT León WTCC20 Hugo Valente *
(SPN) Campos Racing SEAT León WTCC22 Tom Boardman *
(GBR) Special Tuning Racing SEAT León WTCC23 Tom Chilton
(GBR) RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T25 Mehdi Bennani *
(MOR) Proteam Racing BMW 320 TC26 Stefano D'Aste *
(ITA) PB Racing BMW 320 TC37 Rene Münnich *
(GER) Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC38 Marc Basseng
(GER) Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC55 Darryl O'Young *
(HKG) ROAL Motorsport BMW 320 TC73 Fredy Barth *
(SUI) Wiechers-Sport BMW 320 TC74 Pepe Oriola
(SPN) Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León WTCC* = Eligible Yokohama Independents' Trophyby Dexter Fielding