BMW, SEAT to Cut Down WTCC Programmes

The FIA World Touring Car Championship will not only lose two of its most important and highly-rated drivers next season – Chevrolet's Nicola Larini and BMW's Alessandro Zanardi – but also a bunch of works' cars on the grid. As revealed by Autosport, both BMW and SEAT Sport will reduce their programmes for the upcoming season due to various reasons.

As far as the former goes, Zanardi's withdrawal seems to have sealed his team's ROAL Motorsport future in the series. He has been the most important driver for Roberto Ravaglia's team during the 2009 WTCC season, and his immediate quit from the sport will consequently leave Ravaglia with no plans for 2010.

In addition, Schnitzer Motorsport – who fielded Jorg Muller in 2009 – will likely switch focus to other racing series, leaving only RBM team to fight for the German manufacturer in the touring car series.

If BMW are likely to stay in the series, SEAT's situation could be far more difficult. After clinching their second consecutive constructors' title in the series, the Spanish company is rumored to consider immediate quit from the sport in 2010. Even if that doesn't happen, they will certainly cut down on their WTCC programme, as confirmed by the series' very boss Marcello Lotti.

For sure BMW and SEAT are reducing their programmes, but we will still have four manufacturers,” said Lotti, who also revealed he is working flat out to secure the presence of several other manufacturers in the 2010 championship.

I am working hard to have two new manufacturers when our new rules arrive in 2011. I'm sure we will have more than four,” added the WTCC official.

Besides BMW and SEAT, there are two more manufacturers that are almost certain to start with 3-car efforts in 2010: Chevrolet and Lada, with their Cruze and Priora models respectively.
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