BMW drivers Priaulx and Zanardi qualify for top ten grid positions. Puebla (Mexico), 29th July 2006. In qualifying for round 11 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in Puebla, Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK was the fastest of all...
BMW drivers Priaulx and Zanardi qualify for top ten grid positions.
Puebla (Mexico), 29th July 2006. In qualifying for round 11 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in Puebla, Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK was the fastest of all BMW national team drivers. With a personal best lap time of 1:42.202 minutes the reigning World Champion secured tenth place. Priaulx, who is contesting the Mexico rounds with the maximum ballast of 80 kilograms, will benefit from an engine change on the car of Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) and start from ninth grid position into Sunday's first race. Tarquini's brand-mate Rickard Rydell (SWE) secured pole position at the "Autodromo Miguel E. Abed", setting a best time of 1:41.259 minutes.
BMW Team Italy-Spain's Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) posted his personal best in the final minutes of the 30-minute session, and was just 0.173 seconds slower than Priaulx. The 39-year-old will also gain one position on the grid and starts his quest for further Championship points in 10th place. Jorg Muller (GER) of BMW Team Germany succeeded in claiming a promising grid position in his final stint. The 36- year-old will give his best to gain further ground from 12th position.
His team-mate Dirk Muller (GER), however, suffered a dose of bad luck. When the track offered the drivers more and more grip and lap times dropped towards the end of qualifying, the 30-year-old was standing in the pit of his Schnitzer Motorsport team. A gearbox problem had robbed him of all chances to improve his time. Consequently, Dirk Muller had to make do with 17th place. As not only Tarquini, but also Chevrolet's Robert Huff (GBR) got his engine changed, the BMW works driver will gain two positions on the grid. Duncan Huisman (NLD) of BMW Team Italy-Spain did not come to terms with the slippery circuit over the course of the session. He finished 21st. However, Huisman will also gain one grid position.
The start of qualifying was delayed by several hours. Only a few days ago there had been massive modifications to the 3.24-kilometre race track. The circuit received a new layer of tarmac. But already over the course of the 30-minute test session on Friday, the track surface broke open in certain sections. Therefore, the drivers had to cope with dangerous bumps and a very low grip level. Following long discussions with the drivers and amendments to the track, race control decided not to cancel Sunday's races but to proceed with the WTCC weekend. However, the second free practice session was called off. The time was used for further improvements to the critical sections of the track.
Race one will start on Sunday at 13:05hrs local time (19:05hrs BST). The second race of the day starts at 14:15hrs (20:15hrs BST).