Morocco will host the start of the 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship season this weekend for Polestar Cyan Racing with drivers Thed Björk, Néstor Girolami and Nicky Catsburg all keen to make an immediate impact on the challenging streets of Circuit Moulay El Hassan.
What’s new for 2017:
• The goal to become World Champions
• Expansion to three Volvo S60 Polestar TC1 race cars
• Experienced line-up of Thed Björk, Néstor Girolami & Nicky Catsburg
• Legendary circuits Monza and Macau are back on the calendar
After an intense winter testing period with thousands of laps and development hours completed, it is time to face the opposition in the first of ten race weekends and start the journey towards the goal of becoming World Champions in 2017.
Four-time STCC champion, Thed Björk, ended strongly in last year’s development season by claiming the maiden World Championship win for the team in China and topped it off with a podium finish in the Qatar season finale.
”This is the start of my, as well as the team’s, most exciting season ever. We have never had conditions this good ahead of a season and to fight for the World Title is a lifelong dream for me. This is, of course, a team effort – I have two very fast team-mates and everyone has worked so hard during the pre-season. Marrakech is most likely our toughest race of the season, but it will be good to analyse the competition and I have great respect for what is to come,” said Thed Björk.
Double Argentinian champion Néstor Girolami made his debut for the team in Japan last year, scoring points in both races, and has a tough mission for this race weekend as he has not raced on the Circuit Moulay El Hassan before.
”I have done a lot of time in the simulator on this track and that helps a lot. But then, of course, you need to learn the track in real life and I have to do it methodically by going faster lap by lap, because a street circuit like Marrakech is very unforgiving to mistakes. We are really confident with the car and I hope together with Thed and Nicky to score as many points as possible this weekend,” said Néstor Girolami.
Nicky Catsburg will make his race debut for Polestar Cyan Racing in Marrakech and is aiming to hit the ground running with a podium finish.
”I am very much looking forward to the season and to really start working closely with the team and my team-mates. The street race in Marrakech is going to be very hot and intense. I think and hope that we can fight for the podium, that is our ambition,” said Nicky Catsburg.
Polestar Cyan Racing has ramped up its programme for this season, moving the goal to become World Champions forward by one year from 2018 to 2017, meaning intense pressure for everyone in the team.
”Although the decision to challenge for the 2017 World Championship one year ahead of the original schedule was factual and rational, the immediate implications on everyone in the team are immense on an emotional level. Everyone is digging in extra deep to find the peak of their powers. I don’t think there will be a more motivated and hard-working team in this year’s WTCC paddock than Polestar Cyan Racing,” said Alexander Murdzevski Schedvin, Head of Motorsport at Polestar.
Follow the team during the season opener with live timing, live commentary and more on our new WTCC site: http://wtcc.polestar.com
WTCC Race of Morocco
Circuit: Circuit Moulay El Hassan
Length: 2971 m
Lap record (WTCC): 1:23.087 (Valente)
(Times in CET)
10:00 Free Practice 1 (45 min)
12:45 Free Practice 2 (45 min)
17:35 Race 1 (18 laps)
18:45 Race 2 (21 laps)
2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship Entry List
No – Driver – Team – Car
3 – Tom Chilton – GBR – Sébastien Loeb Racing – Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
5 – Norbert Michelisz – HUN – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic WTCC
8 – Aurélien Panis – FRA – Zengő Motorsport – Honda Civic WTCC
9 – Tom Coronel – NED – ROAL Motorsport – Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1
12 – Rob Huff – GBR – Münnich Motorsport – Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
18 – Tiago Monteiro – POR – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic WTCC
25 – Mehdi Bennani – MOR – Sébastien Loeb Racing – Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
27 – John Filippi – FRA – Sébastien Loeb Racing – Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
34 – Ryo Michigami – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic WTCC
61 – Néstor Girolami – ARG – Polestar Cyan Racing – Volvo S60 TC1
62 – Thed Björk – SWE – Polestar Cyan Racing – Volvo S60 TC1
63 – Nicky Catsburg – NED – Polestar Cyan Racing – Volvo S60 TC1
68 – Yann Ehrlacher – FRA – RC Motorsport – Lada Vesta WTCC
86 – Esteban Guerrieri – ARG – Campos Racing – Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1
99 – Daniel Nagy – HUN – Zengő Motorsport – Honda Civic WTCC
TBC – TBC – TBC – RC Motorsport – Lada Vesta WTCC
FIA World Touring Car Championship 2017 Calendar
WTCC Race of Morocco (Marrakech): 7-9 April S
WTCC Race of Italy (Monza): 28-30 April 2017
WTCC Race of Hungary (Hungaroring): 12-14 May
WTCC Race of Germany (Nürburgring Nordschleife): 25-27 May
WTCC Race of Portugal (Vila Real): 23-25 June S
WTCC Race of Argentina (Termas de Río Hondo): 15-16 July
WTCC Race of China (Shanghai International Circuit): 13-15 October
WTCC Race of Japan (Twin Ring Motegi): 27-29 October
WTCC Race of Macau (Circuit de Guia): 17-19 November S
WTCC Race of Qatar (Losail International Circuit): 30 November-1 December N
S = Street race
N = Night Race
Johan Meissner, Press Manager
+46(0)70 241 3234
Polestar is the performance brand of Volvo Cars. The company was founded as a motorsport team in 1996 and has been successful in numerous championships, racing with various Volvo models. In 2009, Polestar started to offer performance related products and thereby intensified the business relations with Volvo Cars. The first performance cars, based on Volvo’s S60 and V60, were launched in 2014.
In 2015, Volvo Cars acquired the performance unit of Polestar, as a strong commitment towards a credible performance offer and with the mission to define future premium performance.
About Cyan Racing
Cyan Racing is the motorsport partner to Polestar was founded as a motorsport team in 1996 and has been successful in numerous championships. The company is owned by Christian Dahl and handles all motorsport operations of Polestar. Cyan Racing, formerly named Polestar Racing, has claimed seven STCC drivers’ titles and eight STCC teams’ titles with the Volvo 850, S40, C30 and S60.