Motorsport South Africa has readjusted the maximum base weight difference between front- and rear-wheel drive circuit racing competitors, in a move Alfa Romeo's Squadra Corse has said will make its 147 GTAs less competitive.Motorsport South Africa has readjusted the maximum base weight difference between front- and rear-wheel drive circuit racing competitors, in a move Alfa Romeo's Squadra Corse has said will make its 147 GTAs less competitive.content here

Motorsport South Africa has readjusted the maximum base weight difference between front- and rear-wheel drive competitors in a move Alfa Romeo's Squadra Corse has said will make its 147 GTAs less competitive.

When the Alfa Romeo 147GTAs joined the production car championship in 2004, it was agreed that the front-wheel drive contenders would have a base weight 50 kg lighter than the rear-wheel drive title defenders, BMW. This ruling was in accordance with the practise in similar racing series' where cars with different drive configurations have competed against one another.

By October 2004, Motorsport SA (MSA) had reduced this weight advantage to 30 kg (roughly equivalent to the standard international measure), which the team said had adversely affected its subsequent performances in the 2004 championship.

After the first round of the 2005 championship at Kyalami, the base weight was adjusted by a further 10 kg to below the standard international weight difference. The team also reported a distinct lack of pace at the recent Killarney encounter in Cape Town, where the cars only managed two third-place finishes.

Ahead of the next championship round at the Phakisa Freeway this Saturday, MSA has again announced changes to the base weight requirements. Alfa claims that the 10 kg weight advantage it has over the BMWs does not suitably compensate for its front-wheel drive disadvantage.

The latest readjustment to the base weight requirements for these cars has had serious developmental outcomes for Alfa Romeo Squadra Corse, Michael Burkhart, general marketing manager for Fiat Auto SA, said.

"We are now at a point where we need to reconsider the value of our investment in developing and testing our vehicles on an ongoing basis," Burkhart said. "To make it worthwhile to continuously upgrade the performance of the 147GTAs, we need a solid and foreseeable planning framework, both from a technical and financial basis."

According to Burkhart, certain processes could be followed.

"We need now to revert to the base weight situation valid before the Kyalami race, which has proven to provide excellent motor racing entertainment. Future changes to these weights need to be discussed carefully with all parties involved, considering the development of the vehicles going forward, and if changes are agreed, a reasonable phase-in timing must be part of the process," said Burkhart.

However, the Alfa 147 GTAs will be in attendance at the Phakisa circuit this weekend, even with the recent setbacks.

"Despite our strong disappointment and disapproval of the new base weights, we will race at Phakisa due to the overwhelming support we receive from those whose hearts are with circuit racing in South Africa," said Burkhart.

"But they need to know the base weight realities of the series to fully understand each competitor's performance," he added.