SEAT Sport UK has announced the appointment of Dave Ward, a member of Audi's 1996 title winning British Touring Car Championship team, as its new race team manager.

The 38-year-old acted as chief mechanic with Audi Sport from 1996-98 and had earlier been number one mechanic for Patrick Watts with Peugeot between 1992 and 1995. Ward also worked as crew chief with Bentley at Le Mans and was team manager at Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx before spending recent years working in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship with Ford Performance Racing and PWR Racing.

Ward also has past experience of both SEAT Sport UK drivers, having worked with Jason Plato at the John Watson Performance Driving Centre in the early 1990's and with Darren Turner during his time with Audi's sportscar team.

"I'm very pleased to be working again in the thriving BTCC and to jump straight onto the already successful SEAT Sport UK bandwagon," he said. "I've an affinity with the VW Group, having worked with Audi and Bentley, and I'm looking forward to helping SEAT get more touring car successes, this time with the Leon TDI project.

"I've worked with Jason and Darren before, so I'm looking forward to working with two drivers who I have known for a number of years. SEAT Sport UK is a very professional team and everyone here is highly motivated and focused on winning in 2008."

SEAT UK motorsport manager Scott Dennis was quick to welcome Ward into the team, although he admitted the new man was being thrown in at the deep end as SEAT prepares to run its Leon TDi in the BTCC for the first time.

"It's great to have someone of Dave's calibre fill the position of team manager for SEAT Sport UK," he said. "He's certainly jumping in at the deep end as we get ready for the 2008 season with a totally new package in the shape of the Leon TDI, but I'm sure his experience will enable him to rise above the challenges we're likely to face and keep the team focused on more success this year."