ETCC: Magny-Cours: Race one and two notes

WEATHER: Cloudy, with a fresh breeze and dry track. DIRK MÃœLLER AND PRIAULX WIN TWO FOR BMW TARQUINI LEADS THE CHAMPIONSHIP BY 5 POINTS BMW struck back and won both races in Magny-Cours, in revenge for the Alfa Romeo domination in the...

WEATHER: Cloudy, with a fresh breeze and dry track.


BMW struck back and won both races in Magny-Cours, in revenge for the Alfa Romeo domination in the previous meeting at Valencia.

The first race was a family affair for the BMW Team Deutschland duo of Jörg and Dirk Müller. First and second in the qualifying, they jumped into the lead at the start and pulled out a gap. For most of the race Dirk was chasing Jörg, until he managed to overtake him, claiming his first win of the season.

In the second race, BMW Great Britain's Andy Priaulx started from pole position on the reverse grid, and simply took off, to claim his first success of 2004. Behind him, the Alfa Romeo drivers - Gabriele Tarquini, Augusto Farfus and Fabrizio Giovanardi - had a tough fight with Jörg Müller.

SEAT had a bitter weekend. In the first race Frank Diefenbacher - third on the grid - was involved in a collision at the start, and Rickard Rydell retired with a broken engine while he was sixth. Jordi Gené was the only one to finish, in seventh position. But he also retired early in the second race, while he was chasing Priaulx. The only consolation for the Spanish Manufacturer was the fastest lap clocked by Gené during Race 1, the first for SEAT since joining the Championship.

The brand new JAS Motorsport Honda Accord of Alessandro Balzan was impressive, fighting for the point positions; Jan Magnussen's Peugeot 307 did likewise until it retired as a consequence of a collision.

In the Independents Trophy, Oregon Team's Michele Bartyan scored his first win in Race 1, while Carly Motors' Tom Coronel made a fantastic recovery in the second race, from the last spot of the grid (23rd) to tenth in the overall and first of the Privateers.

Tarquini is still leading the Drivers' Championship, chased by the Müllers who are 5 (Jörg) and 6 (Dirk) points behind; but Giovanardi, Priaulx and Farfus are only a few points adrift, making six drivers covered by only 16 points. In the Manufacturers Championship, BMW leads from Alfa Romeo by only 2 points.


Collision between Diefenbacher and Priaulx
On the grid, Grunert's Ford Focus was demoted from 22nd to 25th, due to an engine change. At the start, the BMWs of J. and D. Müller took off from the front row; behind them Diefenbacher and Priaulx clashed: the former continued with a broken front spoiler, while the latter drove wide and rejoined at the back. Another collision involved Bartyan and Mollekens. The Müllers were leading, chased by García, Farfus, Coronel, Giovanardi and Tarquini, who overtook Rydell. Harrison retired after a collision with Tavano.

Rydell moves up to sixth place
On lap 2, Farfus overtook García for third position, while Rangoni and Bartyan were fighting over the ninth place. On lap 3, Giovanardi tried to overtake Coronel; they clashed and the Dutch driver defended his fifth position by driving sideways; however, in the same lap he retired with a broken driveshaft. Tarquini overtook Giovanardi, moving up to fifth; Giovanardi lost another position to Rydell on lap 4.

Dirk steals the lead from Jörg
On lap 6, Rydell retired with an engine problem. Recovering, Diefenbacher and Priaulx were chasing D'Aste who was placed 11th. The Müllers managed to pull out a gap. On lap 7, Priaulx overtook D'Aste and Diefenbacher at the same time; SEAT's German drivers stopped immediately afterwards with the steering damaged in his first lap collision. On lap 8, D. Müller stole the lead from J. Müller at the Adelaide hairpin. At the same time Farfus overtook García, moving up to third. Gené and Rangoni were fighting for the seventh position, they clashed and Rangoni eventually retired with a broken suspension. Grunert also retired with brake problems.

Bartyan wins the Independents race
On lap 9, Mollekens and Bartyan collided again while fighting for the ninth position; the Belgian came out worst and dropped down to 11th. On lap 9 Zanardi stopped after he ran over debris from Diefenbacher's car. On lap 10, Balzan was pushed into a spin, but rejoined; Magnussen retired with alternator problems.

D. Müller took the chequered flag first, from his team-mate J. Müller; Farfus was classified fourth, ahead of García, Tarquini, Giovanardi, Gené (who had set the race's fastest lap) and the recovering Priaulx. Bartyan finished in ninth position overall and won the Independents Trophy.


Priaulx leads, and Gené chases him
Harrison's Honda Civic and Rydell's SEAT Toledo did not make the grid, while Grunert's Ford Focus started from the pit lane. Priaulx was on pole on the reverse grid, and he took the best start, chased by Gené. Rangoni's Alfa stalled on the grid with a broken driveshaft. During the first lap, García, Giovanardi and Tarquini were fighting for the third position, and the Spanish driver went off after a collision with Tarquini. Another incident involved Mollekens and Rosenblad, who were fighting for the eighth position.

Tarquini and Farfus pass Giovanardi
On lap 2, Zanardi spun, while both the surviving SEATs of Gené and Diefenbacher retired with electrical problems. On lap 3, Farfus and Giovanardi clashed at the Adelaide hairpin, and the latter dropped down from second to fourth behind his two team-mates. Started from 23rd, Coronel recovered to tenth, but on lap 4 he lost one place to D. Müller. On lap 5, Tarquini moved up to second, passing Farfus.

Balzan's Accord breaks into the points
On lap 6, Balzan's Honda Accord broke into the point positions, overtaking Rosenblad for eighth place. The Swedish driver lost two further places to D. Müller and Coronel. J. Müller was chasing the three AutoDelta drivers, while D'Aste and Mollekens were in a tough fight for sixth place. On lap 8, both Mollekens and D. Müller managed to overtake D'Aste, demoting him to eighth.

Mollekens scores on his first appearance
On lap 9, Coronel overtook Balzan for ninth position. On lap 10, Magnussen went off with a broken suspension while he was placed 12th. D. Müller moved up to sixth, passing Mollekens on the same lap. On lap 11, Giovanardi braked too late at the Adelaide hairpin, and J. Müller dived inside, stealing the fifth place from him. Coronel overtook D'Aste for the win in the Independents Trophy. Priaulx won with a comfortable margin, from Farfus, Tarquini, J. Müller, Giovanardi, D. Müller, Mollekens (scoring his first ETCC points on his maiden race) and Coronel.


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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Andy Priaulx , Dirk Müller , Jan Magnussen , Tom Coronel , Jorg Muller , Frank Diefenbacher , Augusto Farfus , Rickard Rydell , Alessandro Balzan , Gabriele Tarquini , Jordi Gene , Michele Bartyan