Zanardi and Priaulx win for BMW at the WTCC races in Oschersleben.
Oschersleben (Germany), 28th August 2005. At the end of the 14th race of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in Oschersleben, the battle for the title momentarily took a back seat as Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) of BMW Team Italy-Spain won the first World Championship race since his impressive comeback to motor racing in 2003. In a serious accident on 15th September 2001 at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, the now 38-year-old had lost both legs. After Sunday's triumph he has definitively rejoined the world's racing elite.
Zanardi wasn't the only BMW driver delighted with his performance in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. In the first race of the day, Andy Priaulx (GBR) claimed the first win for BMW Team UK this season. Behind SEAT driver Rickard Rydell (SWE), Jorg Muller (GER) of BMW Team Deutschland took third place. His team-mate and World Championship leader Dirk Muller (GER) was fourth to cross the finishing line. Zanardi came eighth, not only picking up a championship point but also paving the way for his win in the second race, which he started from pole position. Antonio Garcia (ESP) of BMW Italy-Spain came 14th.
In the second race, the BMW national teams watched by BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen celebrated a triple success. Priaulx was runner-up this time, pocketing valuable championship points, while Jorg Muller took third place again. Dirk Muller finished sixth, and Garcia was the only one not to make it into the points as ninth-placed finisher.
BMW managed to strengthen its lead in both the Drivers' and the Manufacturers' Championships. Following the races in Oschersleben, Priaulx has 68 points to his credit, putting him just one point short of the leader, Dirk Muller. Number three in the championship, Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), left the fertile plains of Magdeburg empty- handed. With a tally of 193, BMW now has a lead of 29 points over Alfa Romeo (164) in the Manufacturers' Championship. SEAT is in third place with 136 points.
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "We could hardly have envisaged a better result for our two home races in Oschersleben. In the second race, one driver from each of the three BMW national teams was on the podium and both wins went to BMW drivers. This proves we have a very good lineup with our BMW 320i in the WTCC and that our idea of having national teams is a winning one. The fact that Alessandro Zanardi also managed to take his first win here is the icing on the cake of this successful weekend. He has done a tremendous job and his victory is well deserved. He's an impressive personality."