WTCC debuts in Turkey - Fight for the title closer than ever. Munich, 13th September 2005. The FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) enters its decisive stage. This weekend, the three BMW national teams take part in rounds 15 and 16 of the...
WTCC debuts in Turkey - Fight for the title closer than ever.
Munich, 13th September 2005. The FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) enters its decisive stage. This weekend, the three BMW national teams take part in rounds 15 and 16 of the series. At the Istanbul Speed Park, the drivers will fight for an excellent starting position, before the title fight heats up in the final rounds at Valencia and Macau.
The 5.340 kilometre circuit, designed by German architect Hermann Tilke, is the venue of an FIA-sanctioned World Championship for the second time in just four weeks. On 21st August, the inaugural Turkish Formula One Grand Prix was held. Both fans and drivers were impressed with this unique race track.
"Obviously we have followed the Formula One race very closely", says Charly Lamm (GER), Team Manager of BMW Team Deutschland - Schnitzer Motorsport. "We are looking forward to a new country and a new circuit on the calendar. The track resembles a roller-coaster, with long straights and a challenging mixture of corners. Therefore, not only engine power but also a perfect car set-up is crucial. Normally, these requirements should suit us well. However, Istanbul will be the first event where all BMW drivers carry handicap weight."
Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) of BMW Team Italy-Spain is likely to be the centre of the Turkish motorsport enthusiasts' attention. At Oschersleben, the 38-year-old celebrated his first ever World Championship victory since his terrible accident back in 2001. This achievement earned him the much-deserved respect of motorsport fans, experts and fellow race drivers around the world. Nevertheless, with this victory also came a small downer as Zanardi will head to Istanbul with a 25-kilogram weight handicap on his BMW 320i. Furthermore, the former F1 driver comes to Turkey as new Italian Touring Car Champion. On Sunday, he claimed two victories at the Superturismo Championship's penultimate race meeting at Varano, thus securing the title.
WTCC leader, Dirk Muller (GER) of BMW Team Deutschland, and his closest rival, BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GBR), will carry the maximum ballast of 60 kilos when they continue their exciting duel for the title at the Bosporus. Priaulx is trailing his brand-mate by just one point. Jorg Muller (GER), also competing for BMW Team Deutschland, and Zanardi's tream-mate, Antonio Garcia (ESP), have 50 and 20 kilograms respectively on board their cars.
The Turkish rounds of the WTCC represents the start of an exhausting final stage of the series for all teams. From the Asian part of Istanbul they travel to the far west of Europe, to Valencia, where rounds 17 and 18 will be held only a fortnight after the maiden event in Turkey. The season finale is set to take place in line with the legendary Guia race at Macau - approximately 10,300 kilometres from Valencia.