BMW drivers highly motivated for overseas World Championship finale.
Munich, 14th October 2009. The stage is set for a thrilling finale to the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship. The four remaining races in Okayama (JP) and Macau (CN) in November will decide who celebrates winning the title this year. After what has generally been a successful European season, with seven race victories, BMW still has a chance of clinching overall victory in both championships.
Following the difficult races in Imola (IT), however, the BMW drivers find themselves in the role of the hunters: Augusto Farfus (BR) from BMW Team Germany ranks third in the Drivers' Championship on 91 points. This puts him 18 points behind current leader Gabriele Tarquini (IT/SEAT). In the Manufacturers' Championship, BMW lies second on 250 points behind SEAT (271). However, the final four overseas races see 40 points up for grabs in the Drivers' Championship and 72 in the Manufacturers' Championship, and the BMW drivers have their sights set on picking up as many as possible.
"I'm not upset about the break before the races in Japan on 1st November," says Farfus. "We will use the time to ensure we are as well prepared as possible for the finale. Our goal is to travel to Macau still with a chance of winning the title. Anything is possible there. However, we first need a strong weekend in Japan."
The circuits in Okayama and Macau are exotic in many ways. While the teams are even closer than usual to each other in a rural atmosphere at the "Okayama International Circuit", the vibrant flair of the gambler's paradise that is Macau awaits them at the "Guia Circuit". Farfus' team-mate Jorg Muller (DE) confirms: "I really like these overseas races. There is a very special atmosphere in Japan. We live in bungalows right next to the circuit, so drivers and teams are very close to each other for the whole weekend. The icing on the cake in the World Championship is undoubtedly Macau. The circuit is simply fantastic. Despite the fierce competition, the paddock there is all about being together. I like that."
Farfus and Muller kept their hand in during the WTCC break: on 3rd October the pair drove the BMW M3 GT2 at its European premiere on the Nurburgring's Nordschleife (DE), finishing fourth overall in the race, which formed part of the VLN Endurance Championship.
The cars and equipment for the BMW national teams in the World Touring Car Championship left on the long journey to Asia immediately after the end of the European season in Italy. The drivers also have a long journey ahead of them before they climb into their cars for the first time in Okayama. "Once you get to Okayama and Macau it is really great fun," says Alessandro Zanardi (IT) of BMW Team Italy- Spain. "These long journeys are not ideal for me. Despite this, the overseas races do have a certain flair. It goes without saying that I want to end the season with some good results there."
As far as team-mate Sergio Hernandez (ES) is concerned, it is not important where he races. "Once you are out on the track you always feel at home - whether in Valencia, Okayama or Macau," the 25-year-old explains. BMW Team UK driver Andy Priaulx (GB) agrees: "I always enjoy being in the car and competing. That is why I am really looking forward to Okayama and Macau. I will be trying to get the absolute maximum out of every race." Priaulx will have the same philosophy this weekend when he joins forces with his fellow BMW works driver Dirk Muller (DE) behind the wheel of the BMW M3 GT2. The GT sports car will appear in its second VLN race at the Nordschleife.