Jorg Muller starts from first row in Brno - Zanardi takes third place. Brno (Czech Republic), 02nd September 2006. Jorg Muler (GER) of BMW Team Germany secured second place on the grid for round 13 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. At...
Jorg Muller starts from first row in Brno - Zanardi takes third place.
Brno (Czech Republic), 02nd September 2006. Jorg Muler (GER) of BMW Team Germany secured second place on the grid for round 13 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. At the "Automotodrom Brno" he set a personal best lap time of 2:12.331 minutes, thus being just 0.045 seconds slower than SEAT's Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), who claimed pole position.
"After the disappointing overseas races I'm really happy to be on the first row of the grid here," said Jorg Muller following the 30-minute session. "It was a very tough fight. However, on my very last lap I managed to achieve the decisive improvement and to jump ahead of Alessandro. I hope to have a good start on Sunday and to open up a gap at the beginning of the race. But you cannot plan this. Everything has to go well when the lights go out."
Jorg Muller is not the only driver among the BMW national team competitors who has every reason to be optimistic for the two sprint races at the 5.403-kilometre natural track. BMW Team Italy-Spain's Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) posted a lap time of 2:12.353 minutes, taking third place just behind his brand-mate. For the 39-year-old it is the best grid position in his WTCC career to date. Zanardi commented: "This is a very good starting ground for tomorrow. However, only the first three or four laps will show which car has the best balance and copes well with the tyre wear. The race obviously won't be decided in turn one. I'm set to perform a good start - and then we will see what will be possible over the course of the race."
Reigning World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK starts from the third row of the grid. Carrying 60 kilograms of handicap weight onboard his BMW 320si WTCC, the Guernsey-born driver set a 2:12.506-minute lap, thus taking sixth place. In addition, he benefited from a 10-place grid penalty for Robert Huff (GBR) who is contesting the Brno rounds with an all-new car following his heavy accident in Puebla.
Zanardi's team-mate, Duncan Huisman (NLD), will also gain one position on Sunday's grid due to the misfortune of Huff. He will start from 12th place. Dirk Muller (GER) was unsatisfied with the outcome of the qualifying session: Competing with 65 kilograms of ballast, the BMW Team Germany driver was 0.927 seconds slower than Tarquini and finished 16th. He has to perform an impressive catch up if he wants to take valuable championship points away from the Czech Republic.
SEAT driver James Thompson (GBR), who is the current leader of the championship having 49 points under his belt, only took 20th on the grid. Therefore, Priaulx has a good chance of regaining the lead in the Drivers' Championship. Additionally, the BMW national team drivers are determined to score a good overall result, in order to move BMW ahead of its rivals in the Manufacturers' Championship again. Race one will start on Sunday at 15:15hrs local time (14:15hrs BST). The second race will get underway at 16:25hrs.