Jorg Muller fastest BMW driver in closest WTCC qualifying session ever. Valencia (Spain), 07th October 2006. In qualifying for the 17th round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, held at the "Circuit de Comunitat", BMW Team Germany driver...
Jorg Muller fastest BMW driver in closest WTCC qualifying session ever.
Valencia (Spain), 07th October 2006. In qualifying for the 17th round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, held at the "Circuit de Comunitat", BMW Team Germany driver Jorg Muller (GER) claimed ninth place. The 37-year-old's fastest lap time was clocked at 1:45.065 minutes. Jorg Muller was therefore 0.531 seconds slower than Alfa Romeo's Augusto Farfus (BRA), who secured pole position, ahead of Jordi Gene (ESP) and Salvatore Tavano (ITA).
Qualifying at the 4.005-kilometre track will enter the history books of the World Touring Car Championship: 22 drivers finished the session within one second of one another. Never before, since 2005, has the field been as competitive as at Valencia today. Consequently Jorg Muller was satisfied with his top-ten grid position. "I'm quite happy with this result," he said. "This qualifying was extremely exciting, and it's great to be the best-placed BMW driver. Now I have a promising chance to score a good result in the two races."
Luca Rangoni (ITA) delivered a remarkable performance: At the wheel of a Proteam Motorsport BMW 320si WTCC, the BMW privateer finished tenth. Behind him, the BMW Team Italy-Spain drivers, Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) and Duncan Huisman (NLD), took 11th and 12th position respectively.
The fight for the drivers' title will be fought in the middle of the pack this weekend. Championship leader Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK had to make do with 17th place in qualifying. For the Spanish WTCC rounds, the 32-year-old is carrying 65 kilograms of handicap weight aboard his BMW. BMW Team Germany's Dirk Muller (GER) also had to pay the price, finishing 22nd, with a ballast of 55 kilograms.
"Obviously I'm very disappointed," said Dirk Muller after the session. "Following the practice session I was optimistic of securing a better grid position. However, when I was out on new tyres, I suffered a bit of bad luck. Yellow flags and a lot of traffic hampered me on my way to improving my lap time. But anything can happen in the two races." The biggest rivals of the two BMW drivers in the title fight will also start outside the top ten. Championship runner-up Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) finished 15th, his third-placed SEAT brand-mate Rickard Rydell (SWE) qualified 16th.
Conditions at the twisty race track were ideal: The drivers contested the penultimate qualifying session of the season in bright sunshine with temperatures reaching 28 degrees Celsius. For Sunday's two races the weather experts forecast warm and dry conditions. Race one will start at 15:15hrs local time (14:15hrs BST), while the lights go out for the second round at 16:25hrs (15:25hrs BST).