ETCC: Estoril: BMW qualifying notes

BMW Ready for a Sunday Battle The BMW national teams are prepared for what will be a tough couple of races on Sunday with the Alfa Romeo drivers. Although they were hoping the fastest 320i in qualifying would be higher than fifth, which is ...

BMW Ready for a Sunday Battle

The BMW national teams are prepared for what will be a tough couple of races on Sunday with the Alfa Romeo drivers. Although they were hoping the fastest 320i in qualifying would be higher than fifth, which is where Dirk Muller's BMW Team Deutschland car will start the race, none of them have given up hope of podium positions to keep the championship hopes alive. Sadly an engine failure in the first session for Fabrizio Giovanardi means he will have to start the race in his BMW Team Italy-Spain car from last place, but he will have new tyres for both races.

Positions for the BMW drivers are: 5th Dirk Muller, 6th Antonio Garcia, 7th Jorg Muller, 10th Andy Priaulx, 21st Fabrizio Giovanardi (his lap time was 15th fastest).

BMW Team Deutschland - Schnitzer Motorsport - Charly Lamm: "We saw a very impressive qualifying performance from Alfa today and this shows what a challenge we have for the remaining rounds of the championship. Dirk finished the fastest BMW qualifier, and we are also happy with Jorg's performance, as the 40 kilogram weight he carries is about the difference in lap time he is behind Dirk. We now have to try to do the best race performance we can tomorrow."

Dirk Muller (GER) (1m 47.702s): "I am happy as the team did a great job as usual, we improved the car practice by practice and now have a brilliant car for the race. I had a good qualifying but have to accept I am the best of the rest! It is a bit disappointing to see the big gap to the red cars at the front. I am looking forward to tomorrow as we have a good car and we will fight."

Jorg Muller (GER) (1m 48.142s) (carrying 40 kilos ballast): "I am quite happy with my qualifying result as I have my usual 40 kilos. What you can see is the Alfa Romeo is very strong round here. They have found about two seconds since last year, but we have only gained about one point two or three seconds. It is going to be very tough for the rest of the season, but we have said that before. I have a different strategy to most of the other BMWs. We will see if this works tomorrow but I am quite positive."

BMW Team Great Britain - RBM - Bart Mampaey: "We have equalled our worst qualifying position, but this time it is with 40 kilos in the car. I don't want to make excuses, but we are struggling with the weight in the car and we now need to find a good balance. We improved the car during qualifying, as the second run was a lot better than the first. If we want to play a major role in the race tomorrow we have to improve the car again in the warm-up, so we will work hard to see if we can manage that."

Andy Priaulx (GBR) (1m 48.614s) (carrying 40 kilos of ballast): "It was tough but I think gradually I am beginning to realise the reason why I was not as fast as I hoped I would be. I think I overcooked my brakes in the first practice session and carried that problem into qualifying. It just didn't hook up for me in qualifying when I was on the new tyres and it is just so tight. I am disappointed but not surprised. It is hard with the weight, but that is what it is there to do. I think I should have been eighth and that is what I am disappointed about."

BMW Team Italy-Spain - Ravaglia Motorsport - Umberto Grano: "I think it is impossible to beat Alfa Romeo here. They work hard on this series and we have to accept they do a very good job. It was a pity for Fabrizio that his engine went, but there is nothing we can change about what happened today on the circuit. Now we just have to hope something good happens tomorrow."

Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA) (1m 48.846s) (time disallowed as the team changed the engine after first free practice): "I was on my second lap in the first free practice, I heard a noise and then the engine went. It is a racing car and this is normal. I just tried to test the car in qualifying to make some changes so I can do the best possible race tomorrow."

Antonio Garcia (ESP) (1m 47.902s)(carrying 10 kilos ballast): "It doesn't look that bad. It was difficult to know how we would do in free practice as we only used very old tyres so didn't know how the car would be with new tyres. On my first set in qualifying I was up to fourth, but on the second I was hoping to slipstream Fabrizio. Due to a misunderstanding this did not happen. However, on my second lap on the tyres I was faster. I am fairly sure that without this problem I could have been the fastest BMW. Now we just have to fight with the four red cars in front."


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