It’s a sprint to the finish for four drivers battling for the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship driver’s title.

The series makes its first-ever visit to the United States next weekend at the raceway in Sonoma (Sept. 21-23) and four drivers are primed to reach the Wine Country Winner’s Circle.

There are just four rounds remaining on the 2012 WTCC calendar as the series visits Japan, China and Macau to conclude the season. Here’s a look at the top four drivers in points entering Sonoma:

  • Yvan Muller (France, Chevrolet Cruze): Muller is the current points leader (287) with seven victories this season and 28 for his career. He is the two-time defending series champion and has won three of the last four championships. He has won 15 races the last two years. His last win came in Brazil (July 22).
  • Rob Huff (United Kingdom, Chevrolet Cruze): Huff has been chasing Muller all season and enters Sonoma just 17 markers behind his teammate (270). He has three wins this season and 21 for his career. He is seeking his first driver’s championship in the series; he finished second behind Muller in 2011. He got married in late August to his new bride, Jasmine, in Cambridge (England).
  • Alain Menu (Switzerland, Chevrolet Cruze): Menu sits in third place with 250 points. He has competed in the WTCC since 2005 and has 20 career victories, including three wins this season. His best overall finish in the series came in 2011 when he placed third behind Muller and Huff.
  • Gabriele Tarquini (Italy, SEAT): Tarquini is in fourth place with 162 points. His best season in the WTCC came in 2010 when he placed second in points with five victories. He has 17 career victories. Tarquini was one of three WTCC drivers to visit the raceway in Sonoma in June for a promotional event, and was able to drive a few laps around the twisting circuit. He has one victory this season in Slovakia. 

Other drivers to keep an eye on are Tom Coronel (Netherlands, BMW) and Robert Michelisz (Hungary, BMW), Michelisz won earlier this year in Hungary.

The WTCC takes the track for practice on Friday, Sept. 21, with qualifying set for Saturday, Sept. 22, and two 13-lap sprint races set for Sunday, Sept. 23. The WTCC will be joined by the United States Touring Car Championship, Maserati Trofeo World Series and the Auto GP Championship over the race weekend. For tickets, call 800-870-7223 or visit racesonoma.com/wtcc.