The 2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship will conclude on a Friday night following a change of date to the Qatar finale in November.
Originally set for 21/22 November, the WTCC’s inaugural night race will now take place from 26/27 November with the main event – two races run under floodlights – scheduled for 27 November.
The move, which was approved by a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Mexico City yesterday, follows a request from the Qatari government.
François Ribeiro, the WTCC General Manager, said: “Running the WTCC finale in Qatar on Friday late evening is a great opportunity for the championship to deliver high TV ratings in Europe between 19h30 and 21h30 CET, a slot which will also work for Central and South America.
Friday is also the first day of the Middle East weekend, and late evening cool temperatures should provide ideal racing conditions.”
The change of date was carefully considered in conjunction with the Qatar Motoring and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), as Ribeiro explained: “Moving WTCC Race of Qatar to 15/16 November would have clashed with the WRC Wales Rally GB, the Macau Grand Prix and the live broadcasting of the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix in Europe.
And running from 28/29 November would have clashed with live broadcast on Eurosport of FIS World Alpine Skiing in Aspen and Lake Louise – plus the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix. The option we have taken means there will now only be a clash with free practice in Abu Dhabi.”
Ribeiro continued: “Obviously changing dates during the season is never ideal. However, I’m glad we have been able to respond to the request from the Qatari government.” Free Practice for the first-ever WTCC Race of Qatar will take place on Thursday 26 November with Qualifying and both races scheduled for Friday 27 November.
WTCC promoter Eurosport Events has a three-year deal with QMMF for the World Touring Car Championship to come to Qatar.