Final spurt for WTCC title starts at Brands Hatch for BMW.
For this weekend the BMW national teams will take to the track in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at Brands Hatch, a circuit steeped in tradition. The last stage of the season begins with the two races round the 3.703-kilometre track. After the races in Great Britain, the fight for the championship continues in Monza (ITA), before moving on to Macau (MAC) for the season finale.
Three BMW works drivers have led the drivers' standings since the first race of the year. Augusto Farfus (BRA) of BMW Team Germany regained the lead with his victory in Oschersleben at the end of August. The 23-year-old now has 69 points to his tally. Just one point behind him is BMW Team UK driver and defending champion Andy Priaulx (GBR). Farfus' team-mate Jorg Muller (GER) is lurking in third place with 63 points. The good results over the course of the season have an effect on the weight situation for the trio: all three drivers will compete at Brands Hatch with the maximum handicap weight of 60 kilogrammes.
Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) is only burdened with five kilogrammes of extra weight in his BMW 320si WTCC. However, the chances of the 40-year-old winning any world championship points are still slim: following a controversial race incident in Oschersleben he was severely punished and must drop ten places down the grid for the races in Great Britain and Italy. His team-mate Felix Porteiro (ESP) carries an additional ten kilogrammes of weight, but still aims to guide BMW Team Italy-Spain to world championship points for the first time since his victory and third place in Brno CZE).
Local hero Priaulx also has great plans for his home event. The 33-year-old has unfinished business with the Brands Hatch track since last year, when he went off on a sodden track at the restart following a safety car phase. However, he is at pains to stress how fascinating he finds the circuit.
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"Every time I talk about the Brands Hatch track I compare it to the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Brands really is a miniature version of this great track. It's fast, flowing and narrow, with lots of camber change and very little run-off areas. It's a circuit that is always good for the fans. There are many great spectator areas, the viewing is excellent. For sure there will be a very special atmosphere again this year. For me personally it's obviously good fun to race at one of my home circuits. It's a perfect chance for the fans to watch not only me race, but also the many other great British drivers in the championship. Paddock Hill Bend is one of these corners you never drive anywhere else in the world. It's unconventional - and at the end of this turn you expect to fall from the end of the world. You have got the feeling that you will go off every time you go through it. I love this corner. There are also very fast corners at the back of the circuit. You need a lot of confidence."