Farfus claims second-row grid position for BMW in WTCC season finale.
Macau, 17th November 2007. Augusto Farfus (BRA) of BMW Team Germany secured fourth place on the grid for the 21st round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The Brazilian who is third-in the drivers' classification recorded a lap time of 2:31.751 minutes in qualifying at Macau's "Guia Circuit", and is the BMW driver with the best starting position for the title decider.
Andy Priaulx (GBR), who is leading the Drivers' Championship and is on equal points, 81, with Yvan Muller (FRA/SEAT), had to make do with 12th place on the grid for race one. Farfus is ten points behind the two leaders prior to the "showdown" in the former Portuguese colony. Jorg Muller (GER) finished 15th for BMW Team Germany at the 6.120-kilometre track. Chevrolet's Alain Menu (SUI) claimed pole position for the first race on Sunday.
"The qualifying was - as expected - difficult for the BMW drivers," said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen who is following the finale on site. "Driving in Jorg Muller's slipstream, Augusto Farfus achieved the best possible lap time. The planned position change between Jorg and Augusto in their second outing did not work out as planned. Andy Priaulx did not manage to get a perfect lap in the crucial period of the qualifying. As a result, we have a difficult position in the fight for the World Championship. On the other hand, on no other track the course of the race is as unpredictable as in Macau." Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) secured a slot on row five by coming home tenth for BMW Team Italy-Spain. His team-mate Felix Porteiro (ESP) was 11th in the 45-minute nail-biter. Fredrik Ekblom (SWE), once again competing for BMW Team UK, will be forced to fight his way back up from 20th.
"I knew that this would be the hardest qualifying of the whole year," said Farfus following the session. "That comes as no surprise as we are fighting for a World Championship here. I'm happy with fourth place. Tomorrow I will give my all to aid BMW on its quest to defend the title." A mistake on his final lap cost Priaulx his chance for another improvement. "I lost the rear of the car on San Francisco Hill and hit the barrier," said the double World Champion. "But that's no reason to give up. A lot can happen during the races here in Macau. Everything is still possible." Muller also wants to contribute to BMW keeping its lead in the Manufacturers' Championship. As the 38-year-old said: "First of all it will be important for me to keep out of all trouble in the middle of the pack. Then I will do my best to help BMW in the title fight. "
The first race will start at 12:00hrs local time (4:00hrs GMT). The reversal of the top- 8 in race one for race two is likely to make the outcome of the season finale even more exciting and unpredictable. In addition, pile-ups and safety car phases are not uncommon here.