Zandvoort: BMW Motorsport race notes

BMW Drivers Farfus and Muller on Podium Positions in Zandvoort Zandvoort (Netherlands), 06th May 2007. BMW Team Germany drivers Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Jorg Muller (GER) have reached podium positions in round four of the FIA World Touring Car...

BMW Drivers Farfus and Muller on Podium Positions in Zandvoort

Zandvoort (Netherlands), 06th May 2007. BMW Team Germany drivers Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Jorg Muller (GER) have reached podium positions in round four of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. In the afternoon race at the "Circuit Park Zandvoort", the team-mates came in second and third after Gabriele Tarquini (ITA/SEAT). In race one, BMW privateer Luca Rangoni (ITA) caused a stir by finishing third for Proteam Motorsport. Chevrolet driver Alain Menu (SUI) won, followed by his team-mate Nicola Larini (ITA).

Farfus has now taken over the lead in the Drivers' Championship, with 28 points. He is followed by Muller with 22 points. Reigning World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK scored five championship points in Zandvoort, finishing in eighth and fifth position. The 32-year-old has accumulated 21 points in the first four rounds, securing him fourth position in the championship. In the WTCC's premiere on Dutch soil, BMW was able to consolidate its position in the Manufacturers' Championship. The brand has scored 60 points altogether. BMW leads by 17 points, followed by SEAT.

The spectators at the 4.3 kilometre track experienced a turbulent first race. At the start, which was a "rolling start" as in the first race in Curitiba (BRA), all of the BMW national team drivers lost a few positions. Subsequently, however, they displayed some fighting spirit and worked their way forward in the field. In the beginning, Farfus dropped back from third to fifth position, resulting in a duel with Tiago Monteiro (POR). On lap seven Farfus passed the SEAT driver, and a little later Monteiro launched a counter-attack. Farfus finished fifth, thus being the best-placed driver of the BMW national teams.

Behind him, his fellow BMW drivers provided a true display of passing manoeuvres. At the end of lap one, Priaulx was in eleventh position. However, he never lost the eighth position - and with it the pole position in round two - from view. He passed first Thompson (GBR), then Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), followed by Jordi Gene (SEAT) and then benefited from Robert Huff's (GBR) dropping out in a crash on lap eight which was followed by a lap under safety car conditions. Finishing eighth, Priaulx had an ideal position for the second race. Felix Porteiro (ESP) for BMW Team Italy-Spain caused the greatest stir: After his collision with Stefano d'Aste (ITA) he had dropped back to 20th position, and still fought his way through the field, lap for lap, despite his damaged steering system. In the end, he finished eleventh, right behind Jorg Muller. Porteiro's team-mate, Alessandro Zanardi (ITA), who had had problems with the balance of his car throughout the entire weekend, improved his position during the race from 14th to 12th.

Before the second race, there was a brief spell of rain which hardly affected the conditions, however. Priaulx had a good start and stayed in front of Tarquini. On lap two, the SEAT driver attempted to pass him. The cars collided - and Priaulx found himself well off the racing line. He managed to get back into the field in fifth position.

The start of the race was much better for Muller. The experienced driver had a fantastic start and propelled himself from tenth to fifth position. Following Priaulx's mishap and after having passed Rangoni, he was already in third position on lap four, the position he was able to secure to the end of the race. In front of him, Farfus was pursuing Tarquini. The Brazilian had also had a good start and went from fourth to second position. After a flawless race, Farfus defended his second position until the end of the race.

Although he had a brief off-track moment on lap seven and was passed by Larini, Priaulx did not give up. On lap ten, he regained fifth position from Rangoni and held this position to the end. Porteiro was also able to score a championship point in the 12-lap race - his first this season. After having started from eleventh position, the 23- year-old displayed a strong performance and finished eighth. The BMW Team Italy- Spain, however, was unable to solve the balance problems in Zanardi's car and so he had to make do with eleventh position.

Reactions:

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen:
"We have seen two very exciting races. Regrettably we have not seen that many passing manoeuvres which normally constitute the specific appeal of this series. On this track it is really only possible to overtake on the straight, except if someone makes a mistake. Today we faced the counter-reaction to our two triple-victories in Curitiba, which is in part due to the handicap weights. We have expanded our lead in the Manufacturer's Championship."

Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"This was a wonderful weekend for me. We had expected that the cars with front- wheel drive would be very strong here. In the light of this it is especially rewarding that I was able to score many points in both races. This had been my goal and I have reached it. The bad news, however, is that I will be going to Valencia with a lot of handicap weight. But that is just the way it is. The championship has only started, and it feels good to be on top."

Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):
"Today my car felt a lot better than at the beginning of the weekend. We have made significant changes in the set-up and these have paid off. In the first race, I was well on my way after the difficult start, and was quickly able to close the gap with Jordi Gene. Then, however, you noticed the difference in weight, so I had no chance of passing him. In the second round I managed a true rocket-start. That was the basis for the third position."

-credit: bmw motorsport

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