First victory in Formula BMW Europe for Juncadella.
Budapest, 2nd August 2008. A sizzling battle at the Hungaroring ended in triumph for Daniel Juncadella (ES/Eurointernational). Starting from pole position, the Spaniard overcame temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius and stifling humidity to take the ninth round of Formula BMW Europe ahead of the German driver Marco Wittmann (DE/Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Frenchman Kevin Breysse (DAMS Team). The 17-year-old's victory broke the run of six successive race wins recorded by Esteban Gutierrez (MX/Josef Kaufmann Racing). The leading rookie was Michael Christensen (DK/Double R Racing), who crossed the line in fifth place. The top eight places in the race were filled by eight different teams.
The twisty circuit outside Budapest proved to be an unhappy hunting ground for Gutierrez - the leader of the overall standings - and second-placed man Adrien Tambay (FR/Eifelland Racing). The two rivals collided as Gutierrez attempted to wrest second position from Tambay. The coming together left Gutierrez' damaged FB02 limping back to the pits and Tambay's car blocking the circuit, which brought out the Safety Car. The battle for the lead hotted up again on lap nine, as Wittmann launched an attack on race leader Juncadella. However, the Spaniard held his ground and hung on to clinch his maiden victory in Formula BMW Europe.
Fresh from doing the honours at the podium ceremony, BMW Sauber F1 driver Nick Heidfeld said: "I though the race was really exciting. There was a lot happening on the track, which isn't typical of Hungary as there are not many overtaking opportunities."
The result closes things up at the top of the overall standings. Gutierrez leads the way on 226 points after nine of the season's 16 rounds, ahead of Tambay (180), Wittmann (174) and Juncadella (169).
Round 10 takes place on Sunday (9.15-9.45 hrs).
1st place Daniel Juncadella (ES/Eurointernational):
"I won't forget the podium ceremony in a hurry! When we stepped down from the podium we found that the door had locked shut and we couldn't get out. I wanted to enjoy my maiden victory, of course, but not locked out on the podium. Luckily, somebody arrived fairly quickly to let us out. I had a good race. I got away well from the start line and had good pace over the first few laps. Then I saw the Safety Car and thought 'oh no'. I was able to stay ahead from the restart, but Marco was putting me under some serious pressure. There was a lot of dirt on the track and I made a small error that almost cost me the lead. Marco tried to attack but played it fair, which was good as otherwise we would both have been off."
2nd place Marco Wittmann (DE/Josef Kaufmann Racing):
"I didn't get a very good start and lost two places off the line. After the Safety Car phase I was lying behind Daniel. I tried to put him under pressure and three laps from the finish he made a small mistake. However, it was too risky to try an overtaking move in that situation. I was thinking of how important the points were to close the gap on Esteban and Adrien in the overall standings."
3rd place Kevin Breysse (FR/DAMS Team):
"I was able to improve from eighth position on the grid to fifth right from the start. I had good pace and was lining up Marco for an overtaking manoeuvre, but it wasn't possible because of the yellow flags. The incident between Adrien and Esteban suddenly pushed me up to third place, which was great. The race was really good, but tough at the same time. This is my first year in Formula BMW, whereas regular podium candidates like Esteban, Adrien and Marco are all in their second year in the series. That makes me even happier about my performance."
-credit: fbmw eu