Gabriele Tarquini impressed by SEAT's new WTCC engine after first test

Gabriele Tarquini believes that SEAT's new World Touring Car Championship engine is "a big step forward," after sampling the unit for the first time at Valencia this week

Gabriele Tarquini impressed by SEAT's new WTCC engine after first test

The 2009 world champion used a 1.6-litre turbo built by SUNRED Engineering for most of last year. However, as his Lukoil Racing-run Leon is to be works-blessed this season, he is switching to a unit developed in-house by the Spanish manufacturer.

Despite the test programme running behind schedule - the planned first test in Italy in January was cancelled due to snow - Tarquini thinks the engine will allow him to challenge the champion Chevrolet team on a regular basis this year.

"Although we are rather behind with the timing, I have to say that I was impressed by the test," he said. "This was only the second time the engine ran on track, and yet it showed an interesting potential.

"The reliability is there - as we completed the test without suffering from the least technical issue - the power is already comparable with that of the SUNRED unit we used last year.

"But the big step forward is a wider range of power that was our main issue last year. Now, in order to fully exploit it, we have to fine-tune the engine management that is brand new and very sophisticated."

Tarquini's team-mate Aleksei Dudukalo also drove at Valencia; Jordi Gene having undertaken the initial shakedown work of the engine a week ago at the track.

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