ETCC: Monza: BMW qualifying notes

BMW lead the way into the final races. The front row of the grid for the race at Monza is an all-BMW affair with perfect team-work between the BMW Team Deutschland drivers, Jörg Müller and Dirk Müller. While other drivers tried the trick of...

BMW lead the way into the final races.

The front row of the grid for the race at Monza is an all-BMW affair with perfect team-work between the BMW Team Deutschland drivers, Jörg Müller and Dirk Müller. While other drivers tried the trick of giving their team-mates a tow round the track, it was these two who did it to perfection. Before coming to Italy the BMW national teams had expected a strong showing from the Alfa Romeos, but with four BMWs in the top six the expectations for the races are now much higher.

Alex Zanardi also impressed with his first outing in the ETCC and was only just over a second off the pace, despite having to sit out the first free practice while BMW Team Italy-Spain fixed a problem with his clutch. Another driver to miss a session was Andy Priaulx, as he spun off in his BMW Team Great Britain 320i on his first lap of the second free practice, meanwhile for the second race running Fabrizio Giovanardi will have to start from the back of the grid as his engine is being changed.

Positions for the BMW drivers are: 1st - Jörg Müller, 2nd - Dirk Müller, 6th - Antonio Garcia, 7th - Andy Priaulx, 11th - Alex Zanardi, 15th - Fabrizio Giovanardi (he will start from the back of the grid).

BMW Team Deutschland - Schnitzer Motorsport - Charly Lamm: "Looking at the qualifying sheet I still cannot believe what is printed there. To be first and second in Monza is more than we could ever hope for and this puts us in a good position for the races tomorrow. We are now focusing on the preparation of our BMWs for the race and look forward to tomorrow."

Dirk Müller (GER) (2m 00.467s): "At the moment this result has to sink in as I never thought we could be first and second in both practices and qualifying. What we did was the best show of team-work I have known in my career and it was great slip streaming with Jorg, who I have to congratulate. We have no problems, we had luck on our side and I can't wait for the green light tomorrow."

Jörg Müller (GER) (2m 00.454s) (carrying 20 kilos ballast): "Obviously I am very happy with this result. There was a lot of pressure on us and the guys from Alfa Romeo and I think we just handled it a little bit better. We came here very well prepared. It is important in Monza to slip stream, we tried this in the first practice and it worked well. This is the best position I can have for winning the championship but it is going to be tough tomorrow."

BMW Team Great Britain - RBM - Bart Mampaey: "BMW looks really strong, which I don't think was expected. We still have a chance of the championship and that is what we will go for. I think we have the potential left in the car to get a better set-up and to have two very good races."

Andy Priaulx (GBR) (2m 01.250s) (carrying 10 kilos of ballast): "We had a knock on effect from missing the second free practice when I went off. I think we did really well considering the time we have had at Monza. I think we can only get stronger for tomorrow. I think it is going to be a question of being clever like we have been through the year in the races and hopefully not get caught up in anything happening. Today in qualifying I think we have made it possible to finish in the top two places in the championship."

BMW Team Italy-Spain - Ravaglia Motorsport - Roberto Ravaglia: "We knew we had an engine problem before qualifying so Fabrizio did qualifying only to help Antonio. Unfortunately Antonio has a broken differential,but it is still a good sixth position. BMW is looking very good with four cars in the top six. We are happy because Alex did a really good lap time. He lost the first practice and in the end he was only one point one seconds behind pole, which is not a lot for a circuit like Monza. I think he can do a really good job in the race."

Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA) (2m 02.576s)(time will be disallowed as he is having an engine change): "I have an engine problem, which is now being changed so I will have to start from the back of the grid. To be honest I would prefer to start from the back with a good engine than in the middle of the grid with one that is not so good."

Antonio Garcia (ESP) (2m 01.093s): "It was not a perfect day for us as Fabrizio had an engine problem so it was very difficult to slip steam with him. My other problem came on the last corner of what I thought was a very good lap. It was a problem with the differential. I went straight on almost onto the gravel. Then on the long corner between the first and second chicanes I had wheelspin on the rear, so I was certain I had a problem with the differential. Anyway we are still on the third row and anything can happen in the first corner."

Alex Zanardi (ITA) (2m 01.612s): "I am partially happy. On my last lap I missed a gear a couple of times at reasonably high speed out of the Ascari chicane. This definitely cost me a couple of tenths, which could have placed me a little better on the grid. I did the lap time on my own, not in a slipstream, which helps here. These are really the things that come with experience and the feeling for the car. For me it is more a question of getting on the rhythm, and making a clean lap without any mistakes with the gears or spinning off. I am happy I kept it out of trouble in a day where other people with more experience did not. We missed the first session, which did not help at all. From the one free practice we did and qualifying we were able to make an improvement , which was probably mainly on my side with my driving. I hope tomorrow I can drive a clean race and bring it home in the first round in eighth, which is my goal."

Results: 1. Jörg Müller (GER/BMW 320i) 2m 00.454s, 2. Dirk Müller (GER/BMW 320i) 2m 00.467s, 3. Roberto Colciago (ITA/Alfa Romeo) 2m 00.613s, 4. James Thompson (GBR/Alfa Romeo) 2m 00.786s, 5. Duncan Huisman (NED/BMW 320i) 2m 00.928s, 6. Antonio Garcia (ESP/BMW 320i) 2min 01.093s.


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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Andy Priaulx , Antonio Garcia , Dirk Müller , Alex Zanardi , Jorg Muller , James Thompson , Roberto Colciago , Roberto Ravaglia , Bart Mampaey , Charly Lamm