Imola: BMW preview

BMW national teams highly motivated for Imola's WTCC return. Munich, 15th September, 2008. For the first time since 2005, the FIA World Touring Car Championship makes a stop at Imola (IT) to contest rounds 17 and 18 of its season. Following ...

BMW national teams highly motivated for Imola's WTCC return.

Munich, 15th September, 2008. For the first time since 2005, the FIA World Touring Car Championship makes a stop at Imola (IT) to contest rounds 17 and 18 of its season. Following extensive upgrading work on the circuit itself and its pit and paddock facilities, it's the first time the "Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari" has hosted a round of an FIA championship. Due to Augusto Farfus (BR) and Felix Porteiro (ES) winning in Oschersleben (DE), BMW has improved its position in both the drivers' and the manufacturers' rankings. The next step forward is hoped to be made in Italy.

BMW Team Italy-Spain's Porteiro will carry the maximum handicap weight of 70 kilograms this weekend. Farfus of BMW Team Germany has just two kilograms less. Andy Priaulx (GB) travels to Imola third in the championship, and has to cope with a handicap weight of 53 kilograms. Farfus' team-mate, Jorg Muller (DE), and BMW Team Italy-Spain ace, Alessandro Zanardi (IT), will race with 43 and 29 kilograms of ballast respectively due to their points' totals.

Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):

"I was happy when I heard we were going back to Imola where we last raced in 2005, as I came away with two podiums. The track is interesting and you have to get used to driving with high kerbs. I always enjoy racing in Italy as the fans are enthusiastic and the food is good."

Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):

"I truly hope the Imola improvements will put an end to the bad luck I suffered at this circuit in the past. In both 2004 in the European Championship and 2005 in the WTCC things didn't run according to plan for me. Having had to leave Oschersleben empty-handed, I want to score again in Italy."

Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):

"This year Imola will represent an adventure for everybody. My experience on this track is limited. Quite obviously it is my goal to keep on gaining ground in the championship. Italy is a kind of a second home country for me, therefore, I am looking forward to contesting two consecutive events there."

Felix Porteiro (BMW Team Italy-Spain):

"I definitely won't complain about the course the season has taken for me and my team. The last time I left a race weekend empty-handed was back in early June in Pau. Despite this I keep focusing only on the next race. I hope for another great weekend, particularly as it's a home event for BMW Team Italy-Spain."

Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):

"As I child, I used to go to Imola with my uncle who was working as a marshal there. My hometown, Bologna, is located just a few kilometres away. In those days I was standing behind the tyre walls in the first "Rivazza" corner and dreaming about becoming a racing driver. However, Imola is a place where luck was never on my side. But this time I'm going there to change that."

History and Background:

The BMW national teams have contested both European and World Championship rounds at Imola. To date, BMW has celebrated a race win and four other podium finishes at the "Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari".

Imola's motor racing tradition goes back to the 1940s, when the first races were held on public roads. The year 1950 represented the start of construction on Imola's first race track that staged its inaugural race in 1952. On 21st April 1963 Formula One cars made their debut at Imola. This race - that wasn't a World Championship round - was won by Jim Clark for Lotus. Public roads were still part of the course and that didn't change until 1979.

>From 1980 to 2006, Imola hosted an FIA Formula One World Championship round every year. The maiden event was the 1980 Italian Grand Prix, but from 1981 the title of the race was the San Marino Grand Prix. Imola staged a total of 26 Formula One World Championship rounds.

Following the tragic accidents of Ayrton Senna (BR) and Roland Ratzenberger (AT) at Imola in 1994, the circuit was changed dramatically. Over the course of the past months, it has again been improved. What was the final chicane - the "Variante Bassa" - has been completely redesigned. Now the second "Rivazza" and the "Tamburello" corners are connected by a straight, featuring a slight right kink. Altogether 600 metres of the circuit, that is now 4.909 kilometres, were modified. The renovation works were done by German circuit architect Hermann Tilke.

It is not only the layout of the circuit, that goes anti-clockwise, that has been altered, as at the same time there has been a new pit building, a new media centre and a new tower, that is the new home of Race Control. Imola now has 32 garages with each one being 100 square-metres.

Since 1988 the circuit has been known as the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari . Back in 1970, the circuit was just dedicated to Dino Ferrari, but after the death of his father, Enzo, in 1988, the latter's name was added.

The town of Imola is located in the Emilia Romagna region, part of the Italian province of Bologna, and has a population of about 66,000. The Republic of San Marino, after which the WTCC round is named, covers an area of just 60 square kilometres and lies to the southeast of Imola.

The two WTCC rounds will be 11 laps each, a total distance of 53.99 kilometres. The first round will start on Sunday at 12:20hrs CEST (11:20hrs BST), the second at 15:35hrs CEST. The two races will be covered by both Eurosport on TV and the World Wide Web at the official BMW Motorsport website, www.bmw- motorsport.com. On Saturday from 17:00hrs, the BMW national team drivers will be available for media interviews in the BMW Hospitality.

Facts and Figures:

Circuit / Date Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari / 21st September 2008
Lap / Distance 4.909 km / 53.99 km (11 laps)
Winners 2005 Race 1: Fabrizio Giovanardi (Alfa Romeo)
Race 2: Dirk Muller (BMW)
Pole position 2005 Fabrizio Giovanardi (Alfa Romeo), 1:58.573 minutes
Fastest laps 2005 Race 1: Fabrizio Giovanardi (Alfa Romeo), 2:00.208 minutes
Race 2: Fabrizio Giovanardi (Alfa Romeo), 2:00.625 minutes

-credit: bmw

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Andy Priaulx , Dirk Müller , Jorg Muller , Jim Clark , Ayrton Senna , Augusto Farfus , Felix Porteiro , Roland Ratzenberger