Jörg Müller wins for BMW in Spain - title to be decided in Macau.
Valencia (Spain), 2nd October 2005. After races 17 and 18 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in Valencia, Dirk Müller (GER) of BMW Team Deutschland snatched back the World Championship lead from his fellow BMW driver Andy Priaulx (GBR). The 29-year-old runner-up stepped onto the podium after the first race along with winner Jordi Gené (ESP) and his SEAT team-mate Peter Terting (GER). In the second race Dirk Müller failed to make the podium after finishing fourth, but BMW Team Deutschland nevertheless had cause for celebration: Jörg Müller (GER) took his third win of the season before a crowd of 52,000. Alfa Romeo driver Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA) and Priaulx of BMW Team UK came second and third.
In the second race, the drivers of the BMW national teams swept up five of the top six places. Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) of BMW Team Italy-Spain finished fifth. He had previously made sensational progress in the first race, advancing from 20th to eight place and thus securing pole position for the race two. His team-mate Antonio Garcia (ESP) also picked up three points by finishing sixth.
Dirk Müller leads the Drivers' World Championship with 86 points, just one championship point more than Priaulx. Ahead of the final race of the season in Macau, Giovanardi with his tally of 81 can also entertain hopes of winning the first World Championship title since 1987. In Valencia the threesome already delivered some gripping duels and the competition for the title before the season's final in the former Portuguese crown colony could hardly be closer. In the Manufacturers' Championship, BMW has extended its lead over Alfa Romeo. The Munich carmaker has 244 points after 18 out of 20 races. Alfa is second with 219 points and SEAT follows in third place (170).
Reactions: Jörg Müller (BMW Team Deutschland): "I'm really happy about my third win of the season. I have to admit that Giovanardi made things very easy for me in the second race. There was some fighting going on behind him and I was able to leave them behind. In the first race I had an exciting duel with him. It was a fair contest, as we like to see in the WTCC. In Macau I now have to take a lot of ballast on board. The street circuit is a constant up and down, which means it will have a negative impact. But still, I won there in 2004 - and that's my aim again this year."
Dirk Müller (BMW Team Deutschland): "Of course I'm really pleased to have regained the lead in the World Championship. Now I will be heading for Macau with an added incentive and plenty of self-confidence. Last year I had a twelve-point lead before the final race of the season and didn't make it. This time I'm ahead by one point - and I will make it."
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK): "It isn't easy winning a World Championship. That was made clear again today. Out on the track there were some tough battles. It was great fun. Both races were clean affairs. With last year's European title behind me, I feel relatively little pressure before the final. Now it's a matter of finishing both races and collecting as many points as possible. Then we'll see who ultimately makes it. It will be exciting, that's for sure."