FIA confirms calendar, qualifying changes

The FIA has formally confirmed the 2016 World Touring Car Championship calendar, as well as formally ratify its new qualifying format.

In a change for 2016, Paul Ricard will host the season opener on 3rd April as the calendar adopts a predominantly European first half to the year before embarking on a series of flyaway rounds towards the end.

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As it stands, there will be just 11 rounds are confirmed, rather than the 12 of 2015, with Russia's Moscow Raceway missing from the schedule. However, there are talks currently ongoing to potentially take the WTCC to the F1 hosting Sochi Autodrom for the currently 'TBD' 20th March.

Following a successful return in 2015, the mammoth Nordschleife will again host the German round, while Thailand, Motegi, Qatar and Vila Real on Portugal all remain on the schedule following debuts this year.

Meanwhile, the WTCC will use a new qualifying concept for 2016 named 'manufacturers against the clock; which is akin to a time trial concept.

For this, each manufacturer will nominate three cars to participate in a two-lap "qualifying" run - the time will be stopped when the last car has crossed the finish line. Drivers participating in MAC3 will receive an extra set of tyres for the session.

The WTCC's partial reverse grid race will now be Race 1 of the weekend from 2016 (it had been the second final race).

2016 WTCC calendar

20 March TBD TBD
3 April Paul Ricard, France
17 April Slovakiaring, Slovakia
24 April Hungaroring, Hungary
8 May Marrakech, Morocco
29 May Nordschleife, Germany
12 June Vila Real, Portugal
7 August Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina
4 September Motegi, Japan
25 September Shanghai, China
6 November Buriram, Thailand
25 November Losail, Qatar