WTCR Q&A with FFSA President Nicolas Deschaux: “It’s a great honour for France to host international touring car event again”
This weekend’s event at Circuit Pau-Arnos marks France’s return as host of FIA top-flight touring car competition with WTCR Race of France making its debut on the 3.030-kilometre track.
And with the PURE ETCR all-electric touring car series sharing the billing with the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup, an exciting two days is in store in southwestern France.
The calendar reshuffle announced earlier this year, which resulted from the WTCR’s Asian leg being put on hold for another year due to ongoing travel restrictions caused by the global health crises, has paved the way for France, along with Czech Republic and Russia, to feature on the revamped, European-only WTCR schedule from promoter Eurosport Events.
This is what Fédération Française du Sport Automobile President Nicolas Deschaux has had to say ahead of France’s return to the international touring car spotlight.
What do you make of the fact France is set to appear on the WTCR calendar for the first time?
“It’s a great honour for France to host an international touring event again, with WTCR and the PURE ETCR final. The world will discover our magnificent, technical and hilly circuit of Pau-Arnos. Eric Barbaroux, who has worked within our federation in the past, and Bernard Teulé have achieved the feat of organising the event in barely two months. Congratulations to them.”
How important touring car racing is to the FFSA?
“Touring car racing has always been important to us. During the WTCC era, we had a French round which took place on the Pau-Ville circuit, then later at Paul Ricard. France was worthily represented by Citroën Racing as a manufacturer and by talented drivers as Sébastien Loeb and Yvan Muller. Hosting a series focused on new energies like PURE ETCR, on a circuit that is part of our national motorsport heritage, will make the event unique. Promoting this mix of innovation and tradition perfectly reflects the FFSA’s vision for the coming years.”
What makes you believe that this event will be a success?
“We all know the talent and experience of Eric Barbaroux through his career as organiser of the Paris ePrix and his action for new energies. Then, the novelty that the Pau-Arnos circuit for the teams and the drivers represents a non-negligible asset. Finally, the TV coverage of Eurosport and the interest of the French media who will follow our competitors Nathanaël Berthon, Yann Ehrlacher, Jean-Karl Vernay and Yvan Muller will give the event resonance. In spite of a very short organisation and promotion period, the fans will be there.”