Gabriele Tarquini looks certain to defend his World Touring Car Championship title aboard a works-assisted SEAT, this week's AUTOSPORT magazine reveals, despite the Spanish manufacturer's withdrawal from the series.
Tarquini appeared to be left out in the cold when SEAT announced it was ceasing its factory involvement in the championship last week. But it quickly emerged that the veteran Italian is set to race a Leon TDI run by a new organisation established by Spanish-based WTCC SEAT privateer SUNRED Engineering.
It is understood that Tarquini will race a Leon prepared by SUNRED with support from factory engineers. The 47-year-old said that a deal had yet to be signed.
"I want to find a solution to continue," said Tarquini. "One opportunity could be to race a Leon with some support from the factory."
Four Leon TDIs are expected to be run out of SUNRED's premises adjacent to SEAT Sport's headquarters near Barcelona.
Independents' champion Tom Coronel and Danish Touring Car title winner Michel Nykjaer will be entered by SUNRED, while Tarquini and SEAT Russia protege Timur Sadredinov will be fielded under a separate banner - but could yet score manufacturers' points for SEAT.