Magny-Cours: BMW Motorsport qualifying notes

Jorg Muller takes third place in a thrilling qualifying at Magny-Cours. Magny-Cours (France), 29th April 2006. BMW Team Germany's Jorg Muller (GER) proved once again that Magny-Cours' "Circuit de Nevers" suits him really well. In the qualifying...

Jorg Muller takes third place in a thrilling qualifying at Magny-Cours.

Magny-Cours (France), 29th April 2006. BMW Team Germany's Jorg Muller (GER) proved once again that Magny-Cours' "Circuit de Nevers" suits him really well. In the qualifying for the third round of the 2006 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), the 36-year-old set a personal fastest lap time of 1.49.555 minutes to finish third, thus laying the foundation for a promising result in the two races held on Sunday. With just three more seconds to go in the 30-minute session, the German even held second grid position to then be pipped by Rickard Rydell (SWE) by the small margin of just one thousandth of a second, with Rydell's SEAT team-mate, Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), clinching pole position at the challenging circuit with a 1:49.306-minute lap.

In spite of the late loss of a position, Jorg Muller was happy with the result. "In consideration of the fact that I suffered a clutch failure in the opening stages of the session, thus being particularly hampered when shifting down, third grid position is a good result," said the experienced German who succeeded in winning both French WTCC rounds last year. "I'm not worried regarding tomorrow's races."

At the season's second race weekend, the other BMW national team drivers are also in promising positions when it comes to securing World Championship points. Dirk Muller (GER), also racing for BMW Team Germany, qualified sixth, with BMW Team Italy-Spain driver Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) being seventh on the grid. Andy Priaulx (GBR), who won the season kick-off at Monza and has to contest the Magny-Cours weekend with 45 kilos handicap weight aboard his car, clinched ninth grid position, thus also being in a good position for adding further points to his tally. "The car feels great. However, the handicap weight takes its toll at this circuit." Due to his accident in the second Monza round, his BMW Team UK had to work flat out to build up a new BMW 320si WTCC for the reigning World Touring Car Champion. At the same time, Zanardi's team-mate, Marcel Costa (ESP), will have to perform a successful chase if he wants to score points as he will start his third WTCC race from 16th position on the grid.

In the dying moments of the session, many drivers were on the way to improving their lap times, but then yellow flags were shown in turn two, due to an accident of Augusto Farfus jun. (BRA) and the drivers just racing in this section had to lift the throttle. "In the closing stages there was a lot of traffic on the track - and than we had to cope with the yellow flags," said Zanardi who also was on the way to improving his lap time. "I had to abort my lap and this was a real pity. Still, I should be able to go faster tomorrow."

Jorg Muller is of a similar opinion regarding his chances in tomorrow's two races at the 4.411 kilometre circuit. "I've won four of the last six rounds held at Magny-Cours, therefore, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. It should be very close and there will are a lot of drivers who have the potential to prevail. But I hope that I'll be able to battle at the very front." Race one will start on Sunday at 15:10hrs local time, the second race will be started at 16:15hrs.

-bmw-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Jorg Muller , Augusto Farfus , Marcel Costa , Rickard Rydell , Gabriele Tarquini