BMW driver Muller starts from seventh on the grid in Brands Hatch.
Brands Hatch (Great Britain), 22nd September 2007. In qualifying for the 17th round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship at the "Brands Hatch Circuit", Jorg Muller (GER) claimed seventh, making him the best-placed BMW national team driver. He lapped the classic British rollercoaster circuit in 1:33.297 minutes.
Despite carrying 60 kilograms of handicap weight on board his car, the BMW Team Germany driver finished just 0.279 seconds behind Chevrolet's Alain Menu (SUI), who secured pole position. Colin Turkington (GBR), who is making a guest appearance in an RAC Team BMW 320si WTCC, usually raced in the British Touring Car Championship, created a pleasant surprise by coming third.
Local hero, Andy Priaulx (GBR), currently second in the drivers' classification one place ahead of Muller, finished tenth for BMW Team UK. Championship leader Augusto Farfus (BRA) of BMW Team Germany had to make do with 13th on the grid following a mistake during his decisive flying lap in the dying seconds of the session. Like Muller, Priaulx and Farfus carry the maximum ballast of 60 kilos for the British rounds. BMW Team Italy-Spain's Felix Porteiro (ESP) set the 12th-fastest lap, his team-mate Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) came 15th on the time sheets.
"Quite obviously, it's very important for me to start the race ahead of Augusto and Andy, my direct rivals for the title," said Muller after the qualifying session. "The field is very close together here at Brands. The top 18 drivers all are within one second. We changed something on the car during qualifying, and this turned out to be the right way to go. The situation could be worse regarding tomorrow's races. I hope that I will be able to gain some places in race one, thus gaining ground in the Drivers' Championship."
Priaulx, however, had hoped for a better grid position for his home event. "I am disappointed as that was as fast as I could go," the reigning World Touring Car Champion commented. "I did a couple of identical lap times and then one a tenth quicker, but that was it. I struggled for the whole session with the balance of the car. Now we just have to get our heads down to see if we can work out what went wrong and what we can do for the races."
Different from last year, when the complete Brands Hatch WTCC weekend was hampered by heavy rain, the 3.703-kilometre circuit showed its sunny side on Saturday. For the races on Sunday, good weather conditions are forecast as well.
The first race will start at 13:05hrs local time tomorrow, race two begins at 16:35hrs BST. Both rounds will be contested over 14 laps.