SJM Guia Race - Race 1
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Weather: Clear and Sunny
Jorg Muller takes victory in first leg
German Jorg Muller turned his pole position into a victory during the opening leg of Sunday's SJM Macau Guia race as he comfortably held off a challenge from BMW Team Germany team-mate Andy Priaulx. Rickard Rydell finished third for SEAT.
Muller led away from the lights, with Priaulx and Rydell right behind him, but the Safety Car had to be called out after the track was blocked at Lisboa Bend on the first lap. Marc Hennerici had gone off into the tyre barriers after being nudged by another car and he was hit from behind by an unsighted rival.
The Safety Car stayed out until the end of lap three before Muller got away cleanly and instantly set about building up a cushion at the front of the field. Evidence of how hard he was pushing came at the end of the lap when he came close to brushing the barriers at the final corner.
Muller had little trouble building up a lead, despite locking up his tyres and nudging the barriers at the Melco Hairpin on lap seven, and was more than one second clear by that stage. He eased off over the final lap to come home 0.4 seconds clear of Priaulx.
Rydell appeared to have little in reserve to challenge the two BMWs, despite looking down the inside of Priaulx at Lisboa following the restart. Although he could stay with the leading cars during the early stages of the race, he dropped back dramatically over the last two laps - eventually trailing home more than 11 seconds off the lead.
Reigning Macau Guia race winner Duncan Huisman's hopes of winning a fourth consecutive title were dashed when he came into the pits at the end of the first lap with accident damage to the front right of his car after colliding with another car. He resumed well down the order once his car had been repaired and finished a lowly 30th - six laps down.
Dirk Muller was also in the wars after he crashed into the barriers at San Francisco Bend on lap seven while trying to hold off eventual fourth placed Jordi Gene.