Alex Zanardi has revealed that he will switch to a sequential gearbox for the 2009 World Touring Car Championship season.

The Italian will become the first BMW works driver to use the 'box during the season ahead, with the remaining five drivers all electing to stick with the traditional 'H' pattern box.

Zanardi's decision to switch to the X-Trac unit comes after testing over the winter but it will see the popular ex-F1 race hit with a 30 kilo weight penalty as set out in the technical regulations.

"In spite of the weight, the car is well balanced and lap times are already close compared to the old gearbox that sometimes made my life harder," he said. "One good example is the Melco hairpin at Macau, where BMW drivers use the clutch to get around quicker. I cannot use the clutch pedal and have a lot of other things to do with my hand controls, and this cost me three or four tenths in that corner only.

"With the sequential gearbox this issue will be solved."



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