Five questions, five answers: Interview with the BMW title aspirants. Munich, 10th November 2006. Three drivers from the BMW national teams competing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) hope to become the 2006 champion during the ...
Five questions, five answers: Interview with the BMW title aspirants.
Munich, 10th November 2006. Three drivers from the BMW national teams competing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) hope to become the 2006 champion during the season finale, which is held in Macau on 19th November. Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK travels to the former Portuguese colony second in the championship, having 59 points under his belt. BMW Team Germany's Jörg Müller (GER) holds third place, being on equal points with the reigning champion. His sixth-placed team-mate, Dirk Müller (GER), has 53 points to his tally. Prior to the title decider at the "Guia Circuit", the three drivers talk about the exciting season and the showdown in Macau.
The season finale is drawing ever closer. How do you prepare for Macau?
Andy Priaulx: "I won't change anything in my preparation compared to last year. It worked out fine last year, I had an exceptional weekend. I will go there early and start working with the team. I feel extremely well-prepared."
Jörg Müller: "Before travelling to Macau, I spend some days diving in Thailand. This helps me a lot to relax and to get a clear mind. For me, diving for recreation is the best sport in the world. Therefore, I will arrive in Macau totally laid-back. I know that I'm strong there, and I'm determined to win the title for BMW."
Dirk Müller: "I approach the two rounds as I do it with every overseas event. I won't complete a special preparation programme. Obviously I'm continuing my personal fitness programme in order to be in top shape. It doesn't take me long to get used to the climate and the time difference. What will be far more important is to focus on the two races as early as possible."
Do you like the "Guia Circuit"?
Andy Priaulx: "I just like driving really quickly and very close to the barriers and the walls. The fast and sweeping corners ask a lot of commitment from the drivers. This challenge brings out the best in me."
Jörg Müller: "The circuit is great and very diversified. Up in the city we are going really fast, down at the sea there are some slow sections. Most of all I like the very narrow track with the close barriers. Driving at such tracks makes me feel comfortable. It's good fun to make use of all the track"
Dirk Müller: "Macau is definitely a highlight on the calendar and it's surrounded by a sort of myth. This special reputation is mainly caused by the prestigious Formula 3 race, which still is a perfect springboard for the career of a young racer. For touring car racing, however, there are some circuits that are even more interesting. Nevertheless, Macau is a tremendous challenge."
Which role will the handicap weights play during the title decider?
Andy Priaulx: "Weight won't be of any help in the title fight, that's for sure. The lighter you are, the better you will be. I'm nicely placed with my 45 kilograms, to be honest. I haven't driven with a car that light since Magny-Cours - and this was the second weekend of the year. The situation could be worse for me."
Jörg Müller: "In theory, weight is more of a factor at Macau than at many other tracks, as it's the longest circuit on the calendar. On the other hand, it's even more important to know the track well. In this respect I don't distress myself."
Dirk Müller: "The handicap weight will be crucial. Meanwhile, most of the WTCC drivers know the Macau circuit very well. Therefore, it has become difficult to gain anything by just having more experience of the track than the other drivers. However, knowing the circuit is still an advantage in Macau."
Would you tell us your strategy for rounds 19 and 20?
Andy Priaulx: "It's not useful to arrange a certain strategy. I will do my best - and we will see if this will be enough to win the title."
Jörg Müller: "In Macau, it's impossible to drive with a set strategy. The goal is simply to score as many points as possible in both races. Therefore, the motto will be to push the pedal to the metal."
Dirk Müller: "Quite obviously, it's my goal to score a good grid position in qualifying, to finish on the podium twice and to become the new world champion. However, I'm certain that many others will share this plan with me at Macau. You shouldn't put yourself under too much pressure. There are many unexpected things that can happen."
What has been your personal season highlight in 2006?
Andy Priaulx: "Winning the very first race of the season in Monza from pole was special. The same goes for the win in Curitiba, carrying 65 kilograms of handicap weight. I was able to take 12 points away from Brno, despite having 60 kilos onboard of my car. So there have been some great moments this year. I would even go so far as to say that 2006 has been my best year ever."
Jörg Müller: "Although I didn't win in Magny-Cours, I achieved my best result of the season there by finishing second in both rounds. I like the circuit and always enjoy going there. It was fantastic to collect 16 points in these two races."
Dirk Müller: "For sure, this hasn't been an easy year for me. I was often involved in close duels and had to fight hard for every single championship point. In many situations I suffered a dose of bad luck. But that's what motor racing is all about. Therefore, I'm even more fired up to score a great result in Macau."