Gabriele Tarquini hopes to be back on the grid this year, with the potential privateer programme of the former Lada factory team his most likely destination, with the Italian veteran aiming to race as he turns 55 ahead of the season.
“To be honest, I am talking to anyone about my options for this season,” said Tarquini to TouringCarTimes. “Obviously I am talking to Lada as well. I left the team with a good relationship with (team owner) Viktor (Shapovalov) and everyone else in the team. After all, I won Lada’s last race in the championship, and they were happy with me both on the technical and the driving side, so I would be happy to return to the championship with them.”
Tarquini ruled out a switch to GT racing, saying his focus is solely on touring cars.
“At my age I don’t want to change too much. I am a touring car driver, I enjoy touring car races and I love what I do. It is my desire to stay in this world.”
Although WTCC is the former world champion’s main focus, he also says that TCR is a possibility for 2017, perhaps alongside any WTCC programme, as the experienced touring car driver shows his skills as a car developer as well as racer.
“Obviously my goal is to continue in the WTCC. It is home to me and it is my priority, there is no question about it. Of course, at this stage things are changing quickly, and I am open to other solutions such as TCR, which is the closest you can get to the WTCC these days.”
“Perhaps doing one does not necessarily exclude the other. I could do the full WTCC season and take part in TCR after skipping a few races. I believe I will have my future sorted in early February. I need to have a clear picture by then, otherwise it will be too late.”
Tarquini took the opportunity to reassure his fans he will surely be on the grid in 2017: “My fans can be certain, I’m sure I will be in a touring car in 2017, one way or another. I feel it’s not time to stop yet. I am still very motivated and I’m sure I can deliver and have some more satisfaction in my career.”
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