BMW drivers want to defend their World Championship lead - a visit to BMW ORACLE Racing. Munich, 14th May 2007. The FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) is on full swing: Next weekend, rounds five and six of the series will take place in ...
BMW drivers want to defend their World Championship lead - a visit to BMW ORACLE Racing.
Munich, 14th May 2007. The FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) is on full swing: Next weekend, rounds five and six of the series will take place in Valencia, Spain. On a fortnightly basis, the events in Pau (FRA) and Brno (CZE) will follow.
BMW Team Germany driver Augusto Farfus (BRA) will be travelling to Spain as the unrivalled leader in the World Championship. With his fifth and second position, the 23-year-old managed to increase his score to 28 points in Zandvoort (NLD) and was able to build up a lead to his team-mate Jorg Muller (GER). Muller who also achieved a podium position in the Netherlands, now holds the second position in the Drivers' Championship with 22 points. In Valencia, reigning World Champion Andy Priaulx (GBR) will try to move up further to the top again. At the moment, the 32-year-old is on fourth position in the drivers' classification with his 21 points.
In the races in Valencia, the three will have to take on extra weights on their BMW 320si WTCC again. With 50 kilograms of handicap weight, Farfus will be the "heaviest" driver on the grid. Muller and Priaulx will have to take on 45 kilograms each.
The Spanish WTCC fans will not merely be looking forward to an exciting battle for the World Championship lead, but also to the ambitious BMW national team driver: Felix Porteiro (ESP). The former GP2 driver comes from Castellon which is in the close vicinity of Valencia. Porteiro has gathered self confidence for his "home match" at the "Circuit de la Comunitat". In Zandvoort, Alessandro Zanardi's (ITA) team-mate of the BMW Team Italy-Spain was able to score his first point in the World Championship, finishing eighth in the second race, after having passed nine cars in race one with a defective steering system.
However, before they can think about World Championship points, the BMW national team drivers await a very special experience on Friday. They will be present on the accompanying boat, when the BMW ORACLE Racing team ventures into its fourth Louis Vuitton Cup semi-final race against Luna Rossa Challenge. In this best-of-nine regatta series the contenders for the reigning America's Cup winners Alinghi will be determined.
Felix Porteiro (BMW Team Italy-Spain): "I am very much looking forward to the racing weekend in Valencia. It will be my home match, and my family's and friends' support will be an additional motivation. In Zandvoort, I managed to score my first point, at last. It is especially the way I managed to get into eighth position that encourages me. I passed many drivers, and now I know that it is possible to overtake in the WTCC. I know the circuit in Valencia like the back of my hand. This fact should be of great help to me. It would be fantastic to gain a podium on my home turf. But before that, I will be able to witness my first America's Cup race on Friday. Everybody in Valencia is currently mad about sailing. I really hope that BMW ORACLE Racing manages to get into the final."
History and background:
The "Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo", as the venue of rounds five and six is known in full, has developed into an evergreen on the World Touring Car Championship calendar. In the two previous years, drivers of the BMW national teams have already been fighting for World Championship points here. The technically challenging track specifically suits BMW Team Germany driver Jorg Muller. He was able to win a race both in 2005 and 2006. The most impressive performance of the BMW drivers was achieved in 2005: All five drivers managed to finish within the first six positions.
Aside from the WTCC, many other race series take place at the Valencia circuit. The BMW Sauber F1 Team regularly performs test runs here. In addition, the Formula BMW Racing Center is located on site, where the licence and scholarship courses for Formula BMW newcomers have taken place since 2001. The second Formula BMW World Final final took place here at the end of November 2006. Christian Vietoris (GER) was able to secure the victory - and thereby his chance for a test drive with the BMW Sauber F1 Team.
At the Formula BMW World Final in 2006, BMW Team Italy-Spain driver Alessandro Zanardi did something unique in international motor sports. He was the first ever person with amputated legs to take to the track at the wheel of a BMW Sauber F1 Team car. He inspired the spectators with fast laps and wrote another chapter of motor racing history.
Next season, it is very likely that a Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Valencia. However, the race will not be held at the "Circuit de la Comunitat". Instead, Formula 1 will race on a new street circuit - similar to Monaco - which will lead past the America's Cup harbour. The contract with Formula 1 Promoter Bernie Ecclestone constitutes a further milestone in Valencia's efforts to draw level with important Spanish metropolises Madrid and Barcelona.
Local hero Felix Porteiro will already be performing on Wednesday. He will be representing the BMW national teams at the official presentation of the WTCC event at the "Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias", probably the most spectacular work by the architect Santiago Calatrava. The impressive ensemble of buildings was created in the bed of the Rio Turia.
With its 800,000 inhabitants, Valencia is the third largest city in Spain and simultaneously the capital of the Valencia region in the east of the country. 1.8 million people inhabit its larger metropolitan area. A wide variety of sporting activities, as well as a thriving nightlife, make visiting the city a unique experience. At the same time, Valencia is one of the most dynamic places in Spain and it is one of the economically most efficient regions in the whole of Europe.
Both of the WTCC rounds will be 13-lap races, representing a distance of 52.07 kilometres. Eurosport will be broadcasting the first race on Sunday, from 11:45hrs. The second race can be seen live at 15:30hrs.