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American WTCC round scrapped, China to replace
30 June 2014
The American round of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship at the Sonoma Raceway has been scrapped in favour of a second Chinese event to be held at the Goldenport Motor Park in Beijing.
Having made its modern-era WTCC debut at the Sonoma Raceway in 2012, the series was planning to visit again on September 17th.
However, logistical issues getting the cars and equipment from China and United States became apparent when it was realised a vessel wouldn't leave Oakland until September 21st, arriving in Shanghai on October 9th. With the Shanghai round taking place on October 12th it was determined the turn-around time would be too tight for the teams to fully prepare.
Instead, China will host back-to-back WTCC races, with the Goldenport circuit in the capital Beijing taking place on October 5th before the teams head to Shanghai to compete at the Shanghai International Circuit.
“We had to face a logistic challenge and after consulting WTCC stake holders, we went through all possible scenarios, including date change or air freight, but we came to the conclusion that keeping Sonoma on schedule was not viable,” said director of operations Francois Ribeiro.
“Chinese Touring Car Championship promoter, our partner in China, has quickly reacted to change its CTCC schedule and put together an alternative event at Beijing, the week before Shanghai. This will not only allow WTCC to race in the two main provinces of China, and keep raising WTCC profile in the most important car market in the world, but will also simplify logistics and save budget for the teams.”
It is not known whether the Sonoma Raceway will be included on the 2015 WTCC calendar having come to the end of its three-year contract, but the additional Chinese round comes as interest piques in the country following Ma Qing Hua's debut victory at the Moscow Raceway earlier this month.
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