Magny-Cours: Round two preview

BMW DRIVERS TO DEFEND WINNING STREAK IN FRANCE Magny-Cours is a BMW track. At least so it seems when you look at the results of the three latest seasons. Since 2003, every time the FIA Touring Car Championship visited the circuit in the Nievre...

BMW DRIVERS TO DEFEND WINNING STREAK IN FRANCE

Magny-Cours is a BMW track. At least so it seems when you look at the results of the three latest seasons.

Since 2003, every time the FIA Touring Car Championship visited the circuit in the Nievre region, the Bavarian cars won all the races. Jörg Müller claimed two wins in the 2003 FIA European Touring Car Championship, while Dirk Müller and Andy Priaulx took one victory apiece the year after. In 2005, on the first visit of the new FIA WTCC to Magny-Cours, Jörg Müller managed to repeat his double, the only one obtained by any driver in the past season.

The total is of six consecutive race wins, something unusual for a championship which is based on the balance of performances. Next week BMW's five works drivers will try to extend this winning streak further, proving that the French racetrack suits the new BMW 320si as well as the old 320i.

MAN OF THE WEEK: YVAN MULLER

This year is Yvan Muller's first in the FIA WTCC after moving from the British Touring Car Championship. He had two second places in Monza with SEAT Sport and now leads the Drivers' Championship. As the only French driver in the field, we spoke to him ahead of his home race at Magny Cours.

You must be feeling confident after a great performance in Monza? "I am never confident. If you are confident you make mistakes and don't work as hard as you should. I am happy however, and very pleased that the car was so competitive in Monza."

How does it feel to be competing in the World Touring Car Championship? "The atmosphere is amazing. In my experience international championships and events have a better feel than national ones, possibly because of the mixture of nationalities, languages and cultures. Besides this, at Monza there were sixteen cars within a second of each other, which gives an idea of just how close this championship is."

What do you think of Magny-Cours and what do you expect to achieve there? "It's a very technical circuit, interesting to drive and certainly not easy. It has uphill and downhill sections, but that's bad news for me because my car will be so heavy with the ballast. In Monza the times were very close but that may change at Magny-Cours because of the differing ballast. I don't expect much, realistically I don't think I can even get on the podium because of the weight handicap. I would be pleased to be in the top ten."

BMW TEAMS TESTED IN BUDAPEST

BMW Team Germany and BMW Team Italy-Spain spent two days testing at Budapest's Hungaroring this week.

On Wednesday and Thursday Dirk and Jörg Müller, Alessandro Zanardi and Marcel Costa focused on their cars' set-up in view of Magny-Cours.

"The Hungaroring is a very interesting track for testing," commented Roberto Ravaglia, team manager of BMW Team Italy-Spain. "Its kerbs are quite similar to those of Magny- Cours, which enabled us to simulate a number of racing situations we may encounter in France."

The track remained dry for the first day, however rain came to partially spoil the test on day 2.

WELCOME TO MATTEO TARQUINI

Gabriele Tarquini has become father for the second time. His partner Beatrice has given birth today to a lovely boy who has been given the name of Matteo and joins Giulia, his little sister who was born one year ago.

Congratulations and best wishes to their proud parents.

A GIFT FOR ALAIN MENU

On next Saturday at Magny-Cours, Alain Menu will be given a unique Louis Chevrolet stopwatch on which has been engraved the wording "Monza, 2 April 2006" in memory of the first WTCC podium achieved by Chevrolet.

The ceremony will happen at the Chevrolet hospitality at 8.00 PM.

THOMPSON DEFENDS LEAD IN IRELAND

This weekend at Mondello Park in Ireland, SEAT Sport UK driver James Thompson defends his leadership in the British Touring Car Championship. After they won two races out of three in the opening meeting at Brands Hatch, Thompson and his SEAT León have a six-point margin over Colin Turkington, but they also have to cope with the maximum 45-kg ballast.

ADAC PROCAR TO START ON SUNDAY

This weekend Oschersleben is hosting the opening meeting of the ADAC Procar, formerly DMSB Produktionswagen Meisterchaft, the German Touring Car Championship for Super 2000 cars. Twelve of them are expected to compete in Division 1, while the field is completed by cars of Divisions 2 (Super 1600) and 3 (2-litre turbodiesel). Among the competitors are two ex-WTCC Chevrolet Lacetti cars run by the Swiss Maurer Motorsport and 2005 FIA WTCC Independents' Trophy winner Marc Hennerici, at the wheel of a Schubert Motors BMW 320i.

The ADAC Procar will race again at Oschersleben on June 3 and 4, as a supporting event during the FIA WTCC fourth meeting.

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Dirk Müller , Jorg Muller , Yvan Muller , James Thompson , Colin Turkington , Marcel Costa , Marc Hennerici , Gabriele Tarquini , Roberto Ravaglia , Alain Menu