Ekblom fourth on the grid for BMW in rainy Anderstorp qualifying. Anderstorp (Sweden), 28th July 2007. Fredrik Ekblom (SWE) claimed fourth on the grid in qualifying for the 13th round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. At Anderstorp's ...
Ekblom fourth on the grid for BMW in rainy Anderstorp qualifying.
Anderstorp (Sweden), 28th July 2007. Fredrik Ekblom (SWE) claimed fourth on the grid in qualifying for the 13th round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. At Anderstorp's "Scandinavian Raceway", the new addition to BMW Team UK set a personal best time of 1:50.922 minutes, thus being 0.866 seconds slower than SEAT driver Tiago Monteiro (PRT), who clinched pole position. Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) finished 11th for BMW Team Italy-Spain, with his team-mate Felix Porteiro taking 12th place on the time sheets. Championship leader Jorg Muller (GER) and his fellow BMW drivers Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Andy Priaulx (GBR), however, will face a difficult catch up, if they want to add further points to their tallies.
A heavy rain shower opened qualifying. Towards the end of the 30-minute session, conditions improved again with a drying racing line. Nevertheless, the changeable weather didn't play into the hands of the best-placed BMW drivers in the drivers' classification. BMW Team UK driver Priaulx finished 15th at the 4.025-kilometre track, BMW Team Germany's Farfus had to make do with 18th position. His team-mate Muller will start the first race on Sunday from 20th place. All of the three BMW works drivers are carrying the maximum handicap weight of 60 kilograms in Sweden. Due to a 10-place grid penalty for Roberto Colciago (ITA/SEAT), Priaulx and Farfus as well as the two BMW Team Italy-Spain drivers will gain one spot on the grid.
Ekblom was happy with his successful WTCC debut after the exciting qualifying session. "Competition is extremely close in this championship. So you cannot predict a result like this," the local hero commented. "With such conditions as we saw them today, it gets even more difficult. Therefore, I'm very satisfied that all worked out so fine for me. The team gave me a fantastic welcome. I was called into the pits at exactly the right times, which gave me the chance to improve once more in the dying moments of the session. Now I'm eagerly waiting for the two races on Sunday. I will do my very best to score a good result."
Despite their less promising grid positions, the title aspirants within the ranks of the BMW national teams have anything but given up their hopes for scoring further valuable points tomorrow. "You can be sure I won't give up," said Muller. "In the final part of qualifying when conditions got better and better, we didn't manage to make our tyres work. There just wasn't enough grip. To make it into the points, however, won't be an easy task. But everything is possible in this championship." Priaulx added: "Augusto, Jorg and me are arguably in the same boat tomorrow. I will try hard to gain some lost ground. However, the 60 kilos on board my BMW won't help this mission."
Changeable weather conditions are also likely to influence the outcome of Sunday's races. The first of the two rounds will start at 12:05hrs local time (11:05hrs BST). The red lights go off for race two at 14:35hrs (13:35hrs BST). Both championship races will be contested over 13 laps and can be followed live on Eurosport International.