The FIA WTCC returns from another five-weekend break as the brigade heads for the second time to the Sonoma Raceway for the 'Race of the United States'.
The 2.5 mile twelve turn track has a reputation for being uphill, down dale and contains both positive and negative camber corners, presenting a challenge to both drivers and teams for finding a good direction in front end setup. Lots of stop and go type corners should make for plenty of passing action under braking.
*Yvan Muller and Rob Huff have both claimed a win each at last year's visit. Alain Menu holds the qualifying lap record of 1:45.232 and Muller has the race lap record from race two last year of 1:47.732.
*Norbert Michelisz showed BMW had some form twelve months ago and grabbed a third and a close second in race two, which meant he was the double independent trophy winner. Gabriele Tarquini put a SEAT on the podium last year with a close run third in race two.
*Yvan Muller can realistically tie up a record fourth world title in America. The 2014 Citroen driver needs a total lead of 171 points going into Suzuka to be crowned this weekend. He currently has 132 over nearest rival, another Chevrolet driver, Michel Nykjaer.
*NIKA Racing's Michel Nykjaer looks to be the only contender who can stop the RML driver – that may sound a bit optimistic. The Dane's priority will be to keep his top independents position - which he leads James Nash by nine points – and maintain a healthy gap over overall third place man, Tarquini. Nykjaer currently holds the runners-up spot with a handy 14 point margin.
*Honda looks as though they have put their dreadful form behind them after all three Civic drivers' double-scored last time out at Argentina. Tarquini grabbed a welcome second place in race two and the JAS Castrol squad seem to have ironed out technical and other reliability issues which dogged them throughout the middle of the season.
by Dexter Fielding