ETCC: Donington: BMW qualifying notes

Weight penalties and an accident make Donington difficult for BMW Donington was always going to be a difficult track for the BMW teams as three of the five cars are carrying weight penalties for this race. However, Dirk Muller overcame his forty...

Weight penalties and an accident make Donington difficult for BMW

Donington was always going to be a difficult track for the BMW teams as three of the five cars are carrying weight penalties for this race. However, Dirk Muller overcame his forty kilo disadvantage to claim third on the grid. Although the grid positions for the BMW cars are not as high as at the last race, the top nine drivers are still only covered by less than a second.

The weekend started very badly for BMW Team Deutschland. Jorg Muller's car was severely damaged after he was involved in an accident in the first free practice and hit the barrier head on at Coppice. The car was so badly damaged it had to be taken from the circuit to the Nottingham body shop of Sytner BMW. There the mechanics are fitting a new engine and gearbox and replacing numerous body panels in the hope the car will be able to start the race. The accident happened after an incident with the privateer BMW of Tom Coronel, who was fined 750 euros for overtaking under a yellow flag and causing an avoidable collision.

Positions for the BMW drivers are: 3rd: Dirk Muller, 4th: Fabrizio Giovanardi, 6th: Antonio Garcia, 8th: Andy Priaulx, No time: Jorg Muller.

BMW Team Deutschland Schnitzer Motorsport - Charly Lamm: "I want to congratulate Dirk as he put in a fantastic performance in qualifying. He is the fastest BMW driver and this is despite carrying 40 kilos of ballast. Sadly it was not a good day for Jorg. He was instantly quick in the first free practice but then was the victim of an unfortunate accident. The car was badly damaged and we are trying to repair it in time for tomorrow. At the moment it is impossible to know whether we will make the race or not, but we are doing everything in our power to get Jorg on the starting grid."

Dirk Muller (GER) (1m 40.858s) (carrying 40 kilos ballast): "It was not an easy qualifying because in the race before our session all the braking boards were knocked down. I used two sets of tyres but on the first set I got blocked and so lost a couple of tenths. On the second set I tried something that didn't work so perhaps I could have been a couple of tenths quicker. However, I am satisfied being third on the grid with the forty kilos, and am quite optimistic for tomorrow as we have a good race set up. I want to thank the team for the great effort they have put in over the last couple of weeks. I am also proud of the team the way they have worked hard since Jorg's accident this morning."

Jorg Muller (GER) (No time): "I am disappointed with what happened today as I knew I had a great car for this circuit. The team is amazing. I am sure many would have put the car back in the transporter and not tried to do the repairs. The Schnitzer mechanics will probably have to work for most of the night and I can't thank them enough for this. It would be great to make the starting gird and give them a good result as a thank you."

BMW Team Great Britain - RBM - Bart Mampaey: "This is our home Grand Prix' with BMW Great Britain, but because of the good result in Brno we are carrying forty kilos of ballast. If we compare our times to the other BMWs I think we are in a good position except for one car. This is Dirk Muller who I need to congratulate as he is carrying the same amount of ballast. On the other hand, we improved the car from the first free practice. Unfortunately we didn't see the best out of the car because we had traffic on our second set of qualifying tyres. In general I think Andy is much happier with the car and looking forward to the race."

Andy Priaulx (GBR) (1m 41.371s) (carrying 40 kilos ballast): "I did an okay job on my first run, but on the second new tyre run I was blocked so I think I could have been one or two places higher up. Overall I am happy where I am. It is my first race with forty kilos of ballast and we have not embarrassed ourselves. We did have a few dramas this morning, just finding the balance of the car, but now I feel we have a direction and we can build on this for tomorrow in the warm-up and the race."

BMW Team Italy-Spain - Ravaglia Motorsport - Roberto Ravaglia: "I am happy having the cars on the second and third rows. I think tomorrow we will have an exciting race. The qualifying was very close and I think there are six or seven drivers that will be fighting for a victory."

Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA) (1m 40.935s) (carrying 10 kilos ballast): "I lost a lot of time with the first set of tyres. I need to feel the car better and push when the tyres are at their best. With the second set I felt better and put my fastest time in on the first lap with them. I need to understand the car more and at the moment I don't really feel a hundred per cent. My day was not helped with my gearstick breaking twice so I lost a lot of time in free practice."

Antonio Garcia (ESP) (1m 41.321s): "I missed the first good lap on new tyres so my time is not the best I could set. I used just one set of tyres so I have two new sets for tomorrow. I think I may be the only person in the top ten still to have two new sets. I don't know whether this will help me or not. I knew if I put on another set I would have been quicker like Fabrizio but I decided to stick to this decision."

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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Andy Priaulx , Antonio Garcia , Dirk Müller , Tom Coronel , Jorg Muller , Roberto Ravaglia , Bart Mampaey , Charly Lamm