Puebla: BMW Motorsport preview

BMW aims to defend its World Championship lead in Mexican debut. Munich, 20th June 2005. This weekend the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) celebrates a premiere: two championship races will be held overseas for the first time. At the ...

BMW aims to defend its World Championship lead in Mexican debut.

Munich, 20th June 2005. This weekend the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) celebrates a premiere: two championship races will be held overseas for the first time. At the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed near the eponymous capital of the state of Puebla, Mexico, the BMW drivers will be aiming to conclude the first half of the season with further successes.

The shortest circuit in the race calendar at 3.032 kilometres will celebrate its debut as the venue for an international touring car series. For the teams, it presents a challenge in many respects. The logistical task of getting the cars and equipment to Central America has been significant. Immediately after the WTCC races in Imola, most of the teams had their entire material put into containers, which set off on the more than 10,000-kilometre journey by truck and ship to Mexico. Last Sunday the equipment finally arrived in the city of Puebla with its population of two million.

Before last year's modifications to the race track, only the oval was used for races. The FIA WTCC, however, will be competing on a new circuit variant which also includes a twisty infield section. That means the drivers will have to gear up for a challenging mix of tight corners and long straights. In addition to that, the World Championship contenders will have to settle for an estimated 20 percent curtailment of engine output lost due to the circuit's high-altitude location at 2,200 metres above sea level.

Puebla, which is located 113 kilometres southeast to the country's capital Mexico City, was founded in 1531 and is one of the largest cities in Mexico today. While the BMW national teams will be entering new territory this weekend, the BMW Group and Mexico have enjoyed close relations for some time. An example of this is the Festival de Mexico, which BMW backed as a partner for the tenth time in the spring of 2005. This significant cultural event attracts more than a million visitors to Mexico City every year. Musicians, dancers and actors turn the metropolis into a vast stage. The festival is supported as part of BMW Group Cultural Communication project, which promotes an active exchange between BMW and the cultural landscape - both at local and global level.

BMW heads for Mexico as the leader of the Manufacturers' standings with 113 points. Behind them are Alfa Romeo (100) and SEAT (75). In the Drivers' Championship, too, BMW heads the standings with Dirk Muller (GER) of BMW Team Deutschland. The 29-year-old leads with 47 points ahead of his fellow BMW-driver Andy Priaulx (GBR), who has so far collected 41 points for BMW Team UK. In third place is Alfa-Romeo driver Gabriele Tarquini with a tally of 30. Dirk Muller and Priaulx are also the drivers who will be taking the greatest weight handicap on board their BMW 320i cars in Mexico - both of them racing with 60 kg of ballast. Antonio Garcia (ESP) of BMW Team Italy-Spain will carry 30 kg, while BMW Team Deutschland driver Jorg Muller (GER) will have an extra ten. Both are level-pegging with 27 points in seventh and sixth places respectively in the rankings. Alex Zanardi (ITA), the second BMW Team Italy-Spain driver, is currently in 12th place with six points.

-BMW

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Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Antonio Garcia , Dirk Müller , Alex Zanardi , Jorg Muller , Gabriele Tarquini