Despite carrying out testing of a 320d away from the race track, BMW Motorsport chief Mario Theissen has admitted that the manufacturer is unlikely to bring the car into the World Touring Car Championship this season.

Following the introduction of the SEAT Leon TDi to great success mid-way through 2007, rumours immediately started that BMW could elect to go down the same route - with understanding that the 320d performed strongly in back-to-back tests with the 320si during the winter.

Despite that, BMW elected to stick with the car that won the title for the previous two years in 2008, leaving SEAT as the only manufacturer running on diesel power.

The Leon TDi has led the way thus far, with Gabriele Tarquini leading a SEAT 1-2-3 in the drivers' championship and the Spanish manufacturer topping the manufacturers' title race, leading to more suggestions that BMW could bring out its own diesel car.

Those rumours increased when Augusto Farfus and Jorg Muller were part of the driving squad in a 320d in the Nurburgring 24 Hours, but Theissen said there were currently no plans to bring the car into the World Touring Car arena.

"Quite obviously, we have got the technology to do so," he said. "In a test, the BMW 320d displayed massive potential. Nonetheless, this doesn't represent a preferred option for us. Entering the BMW 320d would turn the World Championship into a diesel series, with other manufacturers being forced to pull out. I assume the organisers also are aware of this fact.

"Furthermore, establishing a new engine concept in the highest category would represent an inappropriate signal for our customer sport programme. Independent BMW teams throughout the world appreciate the fact that our cars offer them the chance of battling for race wins and titles on a long-term basis. That's something we don't want to change.

"At the end of the day, our decision will depend on the future classification of the turbo-diesel engine."

Theissen meanwhile also admitted that no decision has yet been taken about works involvement in the WTCC next season (SEE SEPARATE STORY).