Motorsports in Catalonia
Motorsports have since long held an important place in the Catalonian sports traditions. For years many people have been involved in this popular sport in Catalonia, organizing lots of competitions and world championships since the start of the 20th century. The area has many prominent circuits, like The Circuit de Catalunya, which dates back to 1991 and is still regarded as one of the main places for motorsports in Catalonia. The circuit has seen many popular racing events, like the Motorcycle Grand Prix of Catalonia, The Spanish Formula one, to name but a few of the many events that have been held there. It s also the area many companies of the industry are located, like Derbi and OSSA, for example.
Motor racing is regarded as a historical sport for the area, spawning many champions like Emilio Alzamora and └lex CrivillÚ. Many Catalonian drivers follow the Motorcycle trial sport, due to the fact that this region is the location where the most motorcycle events are organized in all of Spain.
Lots of Rally champions hail from Catalonia, like Nani Roma and Ordi Arcarons, who have both previously won the Dakar rally. For cars the Rally Catalunya is an important part of the World Rally Championship and has held this position since 1991. The very first time the popular Rally Catalunya race was held was in 1957.
Another important race event of Spanish origins is the Catalan Motorcycle Grand Prix, which is an official part of the Grand Prix racing season. The race is held at the Circuit de Catalunya in the village of Montmelˇ, which is located in Catalonia.
The Circuit de Catalunya was constructed in 1991, to be completed and ready at the same time as the Olympics that was organized in Barcelona. Though located in Montmelˇ, many people in the racing industry refer to the circuit as Barcelona. The circuit is not to be mistaken for the Montju´c circuit, which was really built in Barcelona and was the host for the Spanish Grand Prix on four occasions. With its long straights and plenty of corners, the Circuit de Catalunya is generally regarded as a circuit suitable for all kinds of racing events.
Due to the fact that the circuit was often used for test purposes and trial races, both drivers and technical personnel knew the track very well, which led to lots of complaints regarding this issue.
Initially, the circuit was the scene of many overtaking actions, as drivers would come close in the last corners and then use the slipstream to their advantage. As racing technology evolved, balance became a bigger factor and the method was dismissed, as it was almost impossible to accomplish due to the turbulence that was produced by the car at the number one position.
The circuit has frequently been the scene of many historical and legendary events in racing history, like Michael Schumacher managing to come in second, despite the fact that he had been driving the best part of the Spanish Grand Prix with only the fifth gear at his disposal in 1994, to name just one memorable example.