World Championship finale in Macau: BMW fighting for both titles. Munich, 18th November 2009. The stage is set for a thrilling finale to the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship season: the countdown is ticking away ahead of the final two...
World Championship finale in Macau: BMW fighting for both titles.
Munich, 18th November 2009. The stage is set for a thrilling finale to the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship season: the countdown is ticking away ahead of the final two races of the year at the challenging "Guia Circuit" in Macau (CN). Two sets of nine laps must still be completed before the winners of both the Drivers' and the Manufacturers' Championship will be known. BMW currently has 286 points and is determined to turn around the three-point deficit to SEAT and secure its fourth World Championship title. Augusto Farfus (BR) from BMW Team Germany lies in third place in the Drivers' Championship and still has a chance of clinching the title. His season's tally of 102 points puts him 13 points behind leader Gabriele Tarquini (IT/SEAT). Like his rivals in the title fight, Farfus must add 40 kilograms of compensation weight to his car.
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"I love this circuit. For me it is one of the best in the world. The circuit offers a bit of everything. However, it is not so easy to find a perfect lap and fully exploit the car's potential in qualifying there. There is normally some action at the first corner of the race. Anything is possible there. I will keep on fighting to the very end."
Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):
"Macau is a special place. The teams are in garages very close to each other, and help each other out. That creates a special atmosphere. The circuit itself is unique. You cannot compare it with Monaco or the long straights in Monza. The mixture makes the circuit one of a kind. It is simply fun to drive there."
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"Macau has a special place in my heart. The first time I raced there was with Formula 3, and the enormous challenge posed by this circuit impressed me immediately. I have celebrated some of my greatest touring car successes there, and have been crowned World Champion three times in a row. It is no wonder that I feel very comfortable in Macau."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"Another real challenge awaits us at the end of the season in the form of Macau. The circuit is unbelievable. Last year I started the second race from the pit lane and still crossed the finish line in fifth place. It would be nice to pick up some points this time too. The main thing, however, is that BMW goes home with at least one title."
Sergio Hernandez (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"There are hardly any other circuits that demand as much concentration from the drivers as Macau. Any little mistake is punished. You also need a bit of luck to avoid becoming involved in one of the incidents that are guaranteed to occur. Despite this I like this venue and am really looking forward to the season finale."
History and background:
In 2005, 2006 and 2007 BMW drivers were not only able to record race victories at the "Guia Circuit", but also celebrated winning World Championship titles: Andy Priaulx was crowned world champion three times in a row in Macau, while BMW picked up the Manufacturers' Championship three times in succession. Last year Priaulx was the only BMW driver to make it onto the podium: he crossed the finish line in second place in race one and finished the final race of the season third.
As part of the 56th Macau Grand Prix, the WTCC season finale also shares the bill with the traditional Formula 3 race and the spectacular Motorcycle Grand Prix. The event in Macau is the ultimate test for young Formula 3 drivers. Those who have demonstrated their talent with a win in Macau before stepping up to motorsport's elite class include Formula One world champions Ayrton Senna (BR) and Michael Schumacher (DE). This year 30 youngsters will be attempting to follow in the footsteps of their idols. Eight of the field took their first steps in Formula racing in the Formula BMW series.
The successful junior series is once again on the support programme this year: Formula BMW Pacific will stage its season finale in Macau. Indonesia's Rio Haryanto has already clinched the title with 229 points ahead of the 15th race of the year. However, the prospect of rounding the season off with a victory at the legendary "Guia Circuit" is enough incentive for any young driver to give it their best shot. The field in Macau will feature many guest starters, including Felipe Nasr (BR), winner of the 2009 Formula BMW Europe series.
Jorg Muller has a unique claim to fame in Macau: the 40-year-old is the only driver to have won the "Guia Race" (2004 and 2006) in a touring car and the Formula 3 race (1993).
The circuit has everything a race track could possibly offer. The drivers reach the highest speeds of the season down the long straight, while it is prohibited to overtake in the ultra-slow "Melco" hairpin. This bottleneck marks the start of the high-speed section with four corners in the space of almost three kilometres.
The "Grand Lapa Corner" - formerly "Mandarin Corner" - is the supreme test of courage in the WTCC. The drivers approach it blind in the highest gear. The set-up is a compromise of top speed and high grip for the city labyrinth.
Macau consists of a peninsula and two islands, which are connected by bridges. The majority of the 500,000 inhabitants live on the peninsula. In total, Macau covers an area of 25.4km". The official languages are Chinese and Portuguese. In 1999 Macau was integrated into the People's Republic of China as a second special administrative region. The "Guia Circuit" is regarded as one of the most challenging tracks in the world.
Both WTCC rounds will be contested over nine laps, equating to a distance of 55.05 kilometres. On Sunday the first race starts at 12:05hrs local time (04:05hrs GMT), with the second getting underway at 13:25hrs (5:25hrs GMT).