Priaulx scores two podiums for BMW to conclude WTCC season in Macau.
Macau, 16th November 2008. In the 2008 FIA World Touring Car Championship's season finale at Macau's "Guia Circuit", Andy Priaulx (GB) claimed a podium position for BMW Team UK in each of the two races. In the 23rd round of the year, the triple world champion crossed the line second, just 0.523 seconds behind the race winner, Chevrolet's Alain Menu (CH). In the chaotic second nine lap sprint race Menu's team-mate Robert Huff (GB) took victory, with Priaulx securing his ninth podium result of the season by coming third.
BMW Team Germany's Augusto Farfus (BR) finished fourth in race one, so scoring five points. Alessandro Zanardi (IT) put in an excellent performance for BMW Team Italy-Spain in the second race: He had started from the pit lane, but still managed to finish fifth. Farfus' team-mate, Jorg Muler (DE), retired in race two, after coming home tenth in race one. BMW Team Italy-Spain's Felix Porteiro (ES) finished fourth in race one, but only completed the formation lap in race two and was not able to start due to a technical problem.
Yvan Muller (FR), like Priaulx, also made it onto the podium in both races. Thanks to this the SEAT driver increased his points' tally to 114 and secured his first world championship title. Muller succeeds Priaulx, who had not only won all three world titles since 2005, but also the 2004 European Championship. The BMW works driver scored 81 points this year, earning him fourth in the drivers' classification. Priaulx is the best-placed BMW driver in the 2008 championship. In the Manufacturers' Championship, BMW added 23 points to its tally, giving it a total of 274 and consolidating its second place in the manufacturers' championship - behind SEAT, but ahead of Chevrolet and Honda. BMW privateer Sergio Hernandez (ES) of Proteam Motorsport won the Independents' Trophy.
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"Once again this year Macau was good to me. Congratulations to Yvan Muller. Gabriele Tarquini gave me his European title in 2004 and I now hand the world title to Yvan. It is an honour to give the championship to a quality driver. I am proud to be the best BMW driver again."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"It's very nice to conclude the season with this unexpected success. I dedicate these four points to my team. The guys put in a tremendous effort between the two races to give me the chance to take part in race two. Congratulations to Yvan Muller, he is a worthy champion."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"It's not easy to cope with a retirement when you are leading the race on the final lap. But it somehow reflects how this season went for me. I'm sorry that James Thompson was forced to retire. This was my only chance to overtake him. Maybe he didn't expect an attack there. Congratulations to SEAT and Yvan Muller. To beat your team-mates by such a clear margin is impressive."
Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):
"Obviously you don't want to finish a long season in such a manner - most importantly not in Macau, which I really like. On the first laps of race one I had massive understeer and lost ground. In race two, I couldn't avoid hitting Andre Couto, who had crashed into the barriers right in front of me. Yvan Muller's performance this year deserves my highest respect."
Felix Porteiro (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"I'm really disappointed by this end to the season. In race one I even had the chance to bag an eighth-place finish. But then persistent brake problems caused me to have an accident, and I lost several positions. On the formation lap of the second race, my car simply stalled due to a problem with the electronics."
Start: Andy Priaulx gets off well, defending second place. Augusto Farfus loses fifth
to Rickard Rydell, Jorg Muller stays in tenth. Felix Porteiro improves to 12th, while
Alessandro Zanardi drops back from 14th to 16th.
Lap 2: James Thompson passes Muller, Zanardi loses 16th.
Lap 3: Porteiro overtakes Muller for 11th, despite having brake problems.
Lap 4: Rydell drops back, thus giving Farfus the chance to take fifth. Porteiro, Muller and Zanardi also gain one place each.
Lap 7: Porteiro hits the barrier and loses four positions. Muller is among the drivers who benefit from this. Moments later Porteiro's team-mate Zanardi is in the same trouble after driving over debris. The Italian is forced to retire, his car is heavily damaged.
Lap 8: Farfus overtakes Huff.
Finish: Priaulx manages to close the gap to race leader Alain Menu, but fails to launch a final attack. For the second time this season he crosses the line in second. Farfus picks up five points by coming fourth, Muller leaves race one empty-handed after finishing tenth. Porteiro takes the chequered flag in 14th.
Start: Farfus makes a great start that elevates him into second. Muller drops to 11th,
Priaulx is running in eighth. Zanardi starts from the pit lane, while Porteiro cannot start
following a technical problem on the formation lap.
Lap 2: Third-placed Nicola Larini gets a drive-through penalty as he jumped the start. A little later, Muller cannot avoid Andre Couto's Honda, who has crashed into the barriers in front of the German. Muller's race is over.
Lap 5: Jordi Gene retires. Priaulx is now running in sixth.
Lap 8: In turn 10, Farfus tries to pass James Thompson. The two cars touch and Thompson hits the barriers.
Lap 9: The season ends with an eventful lap: First, Farfus retires from the lead, followed by Gabriele Tarquini and Alain Menu. Priaulx and Zanardi, the latter has impressively worked his way up lap by lap, benefit from these incidents.
Finish: Priaulx finishes third, Zanardi scores four points after crossing the line in fifth.
Stats and results Macau:
Circuit / Date Guia Circuit / 16th November 2008
Lap / Distance 6.117 km / 55.05 km (9 laps)
Pole position 2008 Alain Menu (Chevrolet),2:30.285 minutes
Race 1: Alain Menu (Chevrolet)
Race 2: Robert Huff (Chevrolet)
Fastest laps 2008
Race 1: Andy Priaulx (BMW), 2:33.327 minutes
Race 2: Augusto Farfus (BMW), 2:32.933 minutes