Priaulx new championship leader - Zanardi makes it onto the podium again.
Istanbul (Turkey), 18th September 2005. Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK has taken the lead in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) after rounds 15 and 16 of the series in Istanbul. In the first race of the day, the 31-year-old finished third behind race winner Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA) and the Alfa Romeo driver's team- mate, James Thompson.
The second race at the Istanbul Speed Park saw another of the BMW national teams' drivers taking third place: Three weeks after his spectacular win at Oschersleben, Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) of BMW Team Italy-Spain secured his second podium finish in the WTCC. Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) and Augusto Farfus Jr. (BRA). finished first and second respectively for Alfa.
However, BMW defended its lead in all championship classifications. For the first time this year, the leader of the drivers' standings is not Dirk Müller (GER) of BMW Team Germany, who took a ninth and a fifth place in Turkey. It's now Priaulx, who is leading the championship with 74 points, just one point ahead of his brand-mate. Giovanardi follows in third position, having 70 points to his tally. With his third place, and a six-place finish in race one, Zanardi made it into the top ten of the championship. One week ago, the 38-year-old won the Italian Superturismo Championship.
Jörg Müller (GER) of BMW Team Germany and Zanardi's team-mate, Antonio Garcia (ESP), was unlucky. Both drivers were involved in race incidents. Finishing fourth in race one Garcia could at least console himself with five championship points. In the Independents' Trophy, both races were won by BMW drivers. Carl Rosenblad (SWE) took victory in the first round, while overall leader Marc Hennerici (GER) won race two.
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK): "Despite being the new championship leader, I'm not satisfied with today's result. Throughout weekend I wasn't too happy with the balance of my car. Therefore, I asked the team to make some significant changes during the break. Unfortunately, this didn't have the desired effect, we simply went the wrong way. I always said that the championship was likely to be decided in Macau. I like the track and also the one at Valencia. Let's see, what the final races will bring. It will be very exciting."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain): "Obviously I'm very happy and want to say thank you to my team once again. This is a great result for us. I was very lucky today, Antonio however, had some bad luck, he could have fought for the victory, I'm sure. We were able to go at the pace we wanted. Now we have to work on our qualifying performance. In the races we are most often more competitive than in qualifying. On Saturday, the team changed my car's driveshaft in just 15 minutes. I hope that I have paid them back for their efforts."