Proteam signs Italians

Proteam Motorsport will expand to a two-car operation for the new World Touring Car Championship, entering BMWs for 2004 driver Stefano D'Aste and fellow Italian Giuseppe Cirò

Proteam signs Italians

D'Aste finished eighth overall at Monza last season (when the series was still known as the ETCC), and was a contender for the Independent title until a substantial accident at Imola forced him to miss the final races. As Proteam's existing car was destroyed in that incident, it has acquired an ex-Jorg Muller 320i from Schnitzer as well as a brand new bodyshell for Cirò and D'Aste to race.

This will be Cirò's first experience of international racing, although the 29-year-old Italian claimed his domestic Renault Clio Sport title in both 2003 and 2004.

"I think that we have put together a strong team with two competitive cars and two young and fast drivers," said team owner Valmiro Presenzini. "We have got everything to aim for the top. The FIA WTCC is going to be a tough championship and the Independents' Trophy is an ambitious goal - but not impossible."

Proteam will begin testing in the next fortnight. The factory supported Schnitzer and Ravaglia BMW teams have been testing at Valencia this week, where Dirk Muller emerged narrowly fastest.

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