Three BMW drivers qualify for top-ten grid positions in Imola. Imola, 20th September 2008. In qualifying for the 17th round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, BMW Team Germany's Jorg Muller (DE) was the quickest driver in the ranks of...
Three BMW drivers qualify for top-ten grid positions in Imola.
Imola, 20th September 2008. In qualifying for the 17th round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, BMW Team Germany's Jorg Muller (DE) was the quickest driver in the ranks of the BMW national teams. He set a personal best time of 1:55,226 minutes at Imola's "Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari", claiming eighth on the grid for the first of the two sprint races held on Sunday. SEAT's Rickard Rydell (SE) was 0.465 seconds quicker and claimed pole position at the 4.909-kilometre circuit.
Muller's team-mate, Augusto Farfus (BR), and BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GB) share the fifth row of the grid after qualifying ninth and tenth respectively. Local hero Alessandro Zanardi (IT) had to make do with 12th. His fellow BMW Team Italy-Spain driver, Felix Porteiro (ES), finished 15th on the timesheets.
"The free practice sessions gave us an idea of what to expect from the front-wheel driven cars here in Imola," said Muller following the 30-minute session. "This is a circuit where power and torque are essential, and the SEAT diesels especially have plenty of that. However, we should look stronger over the race distance. But the crucial question is, will we have a chance to overtake. It will certainly be tough."
In what was the first qualifying session of any FIA World Championship following the extensive renovations of the classic circuit, many drivers were struggling with the relatively slippery conditions. "Today it was difficult for all of us to find a perfect lap due to the low grip level," commented Farfus. "In addition, handicap weight has a major impact at this track. I carry 68 kilograms this weekend - so I should be happy with this result. Who knows what might happen in the second race tomorrow, considering the reversed grid."
During most of the session, Priaulx had problems with the radio, so was not able to keep in close contact with Team Principal Bart Mampaey (BE). However, the triple World Champion identified other reasons for not qualifying further up the grid. He said: "I knew fairly early on it didn't look like it was going to be a BMW weekend. There are too many kerbs for our car and you just cannot get on the power. However, at least I'm not too far away from P8."
Race one at the "Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari" will start on Sunday at 12:20hrs (11:20hrs BST), the second race will get underway at 15:35hrs (15:35hrs BST). The two rounds will be televised by Eurosport. The rounds will also be streamed live on the internet, at www.bmw-motorsport.com.