ETCC: Estoril: BMW race report

Privateer BMW team takes first trophy of the season. While the BMW national teams found life difficult against the Alfa Romeos in Estoril it was Duncan Huisman in the Carly Motors entered 320i who won the first trophy of the season for BMW....

Privateer BMW team takes first trophy of the season.

While the BMW national teams found life difficult against the Alfa Romeos in Estoril it was Duncan Huisman in the Carly Motors entered 320i who won the first trophy of the season for BMW. Duncan clinched the Independents' Trophy after the first race of the day. In the overall battle Jörg Müller (BMW Team Deutschland) and Andy Priaulx (BMW Team Great Britain) kept their championship hopes alive by each claiming a fourth place and now Jörg and Gabriele Tarquini go to the last two races in Monza on equal points. However, the situation in the Manufacturers' Championship looks very healthy for BMW as the marque needs just two more points to take the title.

BMW Team Deutschland - Schnitzer Motorsport - Charly Lamm: "Of course we would have hoped for a better result, but I think both our drivers did the best possible job under the circumstances. Dirk started very well in race one, but a drive through penalty, which we considered very harsh, robbed him of the chance to fight the Alfas. This left Jörg by himself to battle with the Alfa quartet and he did well to finish fourth and fifth respectively. The season^Òs finale in Monza will be tough for us but we will fight for our chance."

Dirk Müller (GER) - Qual 5th; Race 1 - 13th; Race 2 - 7th: "I have to say a thank you to the team as my car was perfect. I had a good first race and don't know why I got the drive through penalty, but that is not up to me. Starting from the back was difficult but at least I got two points. We have to see what happens in Monza, but it is going to be hard."

Jörg Müller (GER) -  Carrying 40 kilos of ballast: Qual 7th; Race 1 - 4th; Race 2 - 5th : "I think I did the best I could do this weekend. Lap time wise in the second race I was the fastest BMW. It was a little bit frustrating driving behind Thompson, but I had to wait for my chance. When he offered me the chance I took it. I am quite happy as  I still have the same points as Tarquini so it is going to be even more interesting in Monza. I kept it open and that is important."

BMW Team Great Britain - RBM - Bart Mampaey: "We were struggling with the set up of the car with the 40 kilos of ballast. We managed to improve the car in qualifying. Then we tried something else for the warm up which did not work very well, but it gave us a very clear indication of what way we had to go. I think we improved the car a lot for the races. There was a lot of commotion going on in race one, and we took advantage of it. We had a second set of new tyres for race two. Andy made a brilliant start but sadly then had an Alfa train go by. He kept up with them, although I think they may have been sandbagging, and we got fourth. All in all I think this was the best result we could get out of this weekend so I am very pleased with the performance Andy put in both the races."

Andy Priaulx (GBR) - Carrying 40 kilos of ballast:  Qual 3rd ; Race 1 - 7th; Race 2 - 4th: "I am very happy with what I got out of the weekend. I said if I could here and be sixth and fourth I would be happy and I was seventh and fourth. At the end of the day we did what we could do and achieved our maximum. I drove a couple of consistent races and played the percentage game when I needed to. I had to overtake quite hard in the first race but consolidated my position for the second. Going to Monza I think we have a lot to do to win the championship, but if I could finish in the top three I would be really happy."

BMW Team Italy-Spain - Ravaglia Motorsport - Umberto Grano: "The big problem for all of us is how strong Alfa is and I think it could be worse in Monza. I think now we have to work very hard for the future."

Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA)- Qual 20th - this position was due to being relegated to the back of the grid following an engine change after first free practice; Race 1 - 10th; Race 2 - 13th: "From the very start the gear shift broke and the car started to judder and it was just very difficult to drive."

Antonio Garcia (ESP) - Carrying 10 kilos of ballast: Qual 6th ; Race 1 - DNF; Race 2 - DNS:  "I am still not sure exactly what happened to my car, but we decided not to start the second race as we think we have some sort of electrical problem."

-bmw-

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