The provisional FIA World Touring Car Championship 2016 calendar has been approved by the FIA Touring Car commission, with the Russian round ditching a potential switch to Sochi to stay at Moscow Raceway.
As a result of the changes, which are still subject to confirmation from the World Motor Sport Council, the Russian round loses its billing as season opener and is rotated to the halfway stage of the year on the 10-12 June at Moscow Raceway. Sochi's Autodrom venue had been the original host but the deal has fallen through allowing Moscow to pick up the event.
The WTCC Race of Portugal at street circuit Vila Real has been delayed until the 24-26 June, two weeks later than scheduled, to accommodate the Russia change, but retains the status of final European leg and the last race before the summer break.
Due to the changes to Russia, the WTCC Race of France becomes the 2016 curtain raiser at Circuit Paul Ricard on the 1-3 April.
“It has always been our intention to preserve Russia's presence on the WTCC calendar and we are very pleased to have reached agreement with Moscow Raceway for this to happen,” Francois Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events the WTCC promoter, said. “The venue always delivers excellent WTCC races and its close proximity to the Russian capital provides a number of promotional opportunities and I expect this event to run at a much larger scale than previous editions.”
The FIA has also announced the WTCC Art Cars Competition at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in from 23-26 June will go ahead despite clashing with Vila Real with full details of the new initiative to be announced in the coming weeks.
FIA World Touring Car Championship provisional 2016 calendar:
1-3 April 2016: FIA WTCC Race of France (Circuit Paul Ricard)
15-17 April 2016: FIA WTCC Race of Slovakia (Slovakia Ring)
22-24 April 2016: FIA WTCC Race of Hungary (Hungaroring)
7-8 May 2016: FIA WTCC Race of Morocco (Circuit Moulay El Hassan, Marrakech)
26-28 May 2016: FIA WTCC Race of Germany (Nürburgring Nordschleife)
10-12 June 2016: FIA WTCC Race of Russia (Moscow Raceway)
24-26 June 2016: FIA WTCC Race of Portugal (Circuito Internacional de Vila Real)
5-7 August 2016: FIA WTCC Race of Argentina (Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo)*
2-4 September 2016: FIA WTCC Race of Japan (Twin Ring Motegi)
23-25 September 2016: FIA WTCC Race of China (Shanghai International Circuit)
4-6 November 2016: FIA WTCC Race of Thailand (Chang International Circuit)*
23-25 November 2016: FIA WTCC Race of Qatar (Losail International Circuit)
* pending on signature of promoter agreement