Difficult wet races in Sweden - Farfus scores championship point for BMW. Anderstorp (Sweden), 29th July 2007. Augusto Farfus (BRA) of BMW Team Germany was the only BMW driver who walked away with a point from the FIA World Touring Car ...
Difficult wet races in Sweden - Farfus scores championship point for BMW.
Anderstorp (Sweden), 29th July 2007. Augusto Farfus (BRA) of BMW Team Germany was the only BMW driver who walked away with a point from the FIA World Touring Car Championship races in Anderstorp. Several rain showers made for changeable conditions at the "Scandinavian Raceway", tyre choice for rounds 13 and 14 of the series turned out to be a true gamble. Chevrolet drivers Robert Huff (GBR) and Rickard Rydell (SWE) secured one win each at the 4.025-kilometre circuit.
At the top of the Drivers' Championship not much has changed despite the rather poor outcome of the Swedish WTCC races. BMW Team Germany's Jörg Müller (GER) is still holding the lead having 58 points under his belt. Only one point adrift is his team-mate Farfus, who is ranked ahead of Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK by another point. In the manufacturers' classification, BMW now has 177 points to its tally and succeeded in defending its comfortable lead.
As it was the case on Saturday, the weather conditions also took centre-stage at Anderstorp on Sunday. Twenty minutes before the start of the morning race, a torrential rain shower hit the circuit. The BMW national teams had to make a choice between wet and dry tyres. With the sun coming out, the track started to dry out. However, the racing line was still extremely wet and slippery during the first half of the race. Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) of BMW Team Italy-Spain was one of the few drivers who opted for slicks. The BMW drivers running on wets faced problems with the performance of their tyres in these mixed conditions. At the beginning they were able to match the pace of their competitors. Over the course of the sprint race, however, the tyre performance unexpectedly dropped off rapidly, representing a massive disadvantage in the fight for points. For Müller, Farfus and Priaulx, the maximum handicap weight of 60 kilograms meant a further negative factor.
Nevertheless, Priaulx was the best-placed representative of the BMW national teams by finishing 11th. Behind him his team-mate, Fredrik Ekblom (SWE), crossed the line in 12th place. Félix Porteiro (ESP) of BMW Team Italy-Spain held a promising eighth place until lap seven. With the track getting dryer and dryer, the cars shod with dry tyres gained the upper hand - and the 23-year-old dropped back to 14th place. Müller had to make do with 15th, despite a fantastic start which saw him improving from 20th to 11th place. Farfus finished 16th. Zanardi's choice to take the risk of racing on dry tyres did not pay off: In turn 2, he was sent into the gravel by another driver, thus losing his tenth position. At the back of the field the 40-year-old was no longer able to convert the advantage of running on slicks into a good result and finished 20th. Another shower directly after the end of the race underlined the unpredictability of the weather conditions today.
The teams faced a similar situation prior to the start of race two. The track was still wet after some more rain - again conditions were likely to improve over the course of the 13 lap race. This time all BMW national team drivers decided to use dry tyres. Porteiro, however, completed the formation lap on wets, only to pit afterwards to change to slicks. He started from the pit lane. In the first part of the race, the BMW drivers had a disadvantage compared to their rivals running on wet tyres. Only from lap six did the dry tyres turned out to be the better option.
Farfus made use of this small opportunity to win at least one point. Starting from 16th on the grid, he worked his way up to ninth place. As the eighth-placed driver, Robert Dahlgren (SWE/Volvo) was not eligible to score points, Farfus managed to increase his points tally by one. One place behind him, Müller crossed the line after starting from 15th. Priaulx's catch up suffered a dampener on lap eight, when he had to let two cars pass after an overtaking move against SEAT's Yvan Muller (FRA). The defending champion came 13th. Ekblom claimed 14th position ahead of Zanardi and Porteiro.
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany): "No one in the team expected we would manage to take a point away from Anderstorp after the problems we had. In race two we took the risk of running on dry tyres. This turned out to be successful. The team did a great job and proved their fighting spirit. Now I'm looking forward to my first home event with BMW Team Germany in Oschersleben. Conditions are likely to play into our hands a bit better than was the case here in Sweden."
Jörg Müller (BMW Team Germany): "This was a pure tyre lottery. Different to race one I contested the second round on slicks. In addition, we took the risk of setting my car up completely for dry conditions. That's why I lost some ground in the beginning. But I succeeded in coming back over the course of the race. If the race had been one lap longer, it could have worked out for me to score a point."
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK): "The second shower after the first race unfortunately came a little late. Otherwise I could have achieved a better result. We made the right decision by using wets, however, the weather just wasn't on our side today. Race two kicked off well for me, but ended with a disappointment. Yvan Muller was slower than me, but I couldn't overtake him for quite a while. When I launched an attack, we had a small coming together. I lost the momentum and some other cars passed me. From this moment points were out of reach."
Fredrik Ekblom (BMW Team UK): "It was a pleasure to race for BMW again. The car was great and BMW Team UK supported me in a perfect way. I had a good qualifying, but in the races there was nothing more I could do under these conditions. My next appearance as Andy Priaulx's team-mate will be in Monza. Hopefully I will have a chance to fight for points there."