Touring car driver market goes mad

International touring car racing’s top two championships have both taken a heavy blow, thanks to Alfa Romeo and Opel.

Alfa has pulled out of the FIA World Touring Car Championship for the 2006 season but SEAT has snapped up two of the Italian marques stars in a bid to take the fight to BMW this season.

Italian Gabriele Tarquini and Briton James Thompson former BTCC champs both have joined SEAT But Fabrizio Giovanardi, the winner of three European titles, has made a shock move to join Vauxhall in the BTCC.

Opel has caused a crisis in the DTM by refusing to supply its Vectra GTS to private teams in the wake of its official pullout. Now the series’ survival depends on the Audi board pledging to equal Mercedes’10-car commitment for 2006.