Priaulx wins for BMW in WTCC home event at Brands Hatch. Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK has regained the lead in the FIA World Touring Car Championship by claiming victory in the 18th round of the season at the "Brands Hatch Circuit". In ...
Priaulx wins for BMW in WTCC home event at Brands Hatch.
Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK has regained the lead in the FIA World Touring Car Championship by claiming victory in the 18th round of the season at the "Brands Hatch Circuit". In the afternoon race at the 3.703-kilometre track, the 33-year-old took his second race win of the year ahead of BMW Team Italy-Spain's Felix Porteiro (ESP) and Robert Huff (Chevrolet/GBR). This was Priaulx's maiden Brands Hatch victory in a touring car. In the first race of the day, guest driver Colin Turkington (GBR) scored third place at the wheel of a Team RAC BMW 320si WTCC behind Alain Menu (Chevrolet/SUI) and James Thompson (Alfa Romeo/GBR). Turkington is taking part in the British Touring Car Championship this year.
The penultimate WTCC round on European soil did not go according to plan for the BMW Team Germany drivers. Augusto Farfus (BRA), who travelled to Brands Hatch as championship leader, failed to score any points. Jorg Muller (GER) had to make do with three points. Priaulx is now ranked first in the drivers' classification, having 81 points under his belt. Farfus (69) follows in second position, while Muller holds fourth place with 66 points. In the Manufacturers' Championship, BMW consolidated its lead, now having 227 points to its tally.
The first race took a negative turn for Muller shortly after the start. He was hit by SEAT's Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) in turn 1, spun, dropped down the field and finally crossed the line 14th. Unlike Muller, the other BMW national team drivers were not involved in any accidents. Priaulx improved from tenth to eighth at the start, while Porteiro improved from 12th to ninth. Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) of BMW Team Italy- Spain gained five places, having started from 23rd spot on the grid. Following a safety-car phase which was caused by the first corner incident, only a few positions changes happened at the front of the pack. Priaulx took seventh place from Pierre- Yves Corthals (SEAT/BEL) in the final lap. Farfus, however, got stuck behind Tarquini and took the chequered flag in 11th place.
Zanardi overtook a couple of competitors to finish15th. On the penultimate lap, Turkington passed Jordi Gene (SEAT-ESP), thus securing third. Porteiro, on the other hand, experienced a rather uneventful race. The 24-year-old defended his ninth place until the very end - securing a championship point and pole for race two. As guest driver Turkington was not eligible for points in his WTCC debut, the top nine instead of the usual top eight drivers in race one were reversed for race two's grid.
In race two, Priaulx and Porteiro claimed the eighth BMW one-two finish of the season. Porteiro succeeded in holding the lead at the start. But on lap one Priaulx - who had already passed Corthals - also overtook the young gun. The delighted British crowds saw Priaulx holding first place until the end, while Porteiro celebrated his third podium finish of the year.
Further back in the field there was a lot of action. On lap one Zanardi retired after a fight with Roberto Colciago (SEAT/ITA). Following another collision involving several cars the safety-car was deployed again. At the re-start on lap 3 Farfus was the second BMW national team driver to retire: Running in eighth, the 24-year-old was hit by Menu before the start-finish line, lost control of his car and crashed into the pit wall. Menu was black-flagged, and later visited the BMW Team Germany pit to personally apologise for the incident. Muller fought his way up from 13th to seventh place, thus securing three points for the Schnitzer Motorsport crew. Turkington rounded off his strong performance by finishing fourth.
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK): "In the first race, we did exactly what we had to do. It was crucial to survive the start. I managed to keep out of all trouble. I kept the pressure on the guys ahead of me and hoped to pick up some places if possible. This worked out fine as well. The win in race two was pretty special. It has been a tough weekend but we have worked together as a team and this is the result. The second race was perfect and I was able to control things. It is great to have a 12 point lead in the championship, but this will not make any difference to how I prepare for the next races as I know only too well how things can change in this series. However, while I reckon this could be my greatest win to date, it has been a sad weekend for me and I want to dedicate this to the family of Colin McRae, who died so tragically last weekend."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany): "To leave Brands Hatch empty-handed is a set-back on my quest to win the title. Alain Menu came to see the team and me to apologise. I accept this, he is a professional driver. However, this doesn't bring back the points which I might have scored without the accident."
Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany): "Quite obviously I'm disappointed. At the start of race one I got hit, which put an early end to my hopes for a good result. At least I managed to score three points in race two. It's a blow for my chances to win the championship. But there are still four more races to come - and you never know what might happen in the WTCC."
Colin Turkington (Team RAC): "I did not expect this at all. As a guest driver I had the advantage of carrying only a relatively low handicap weight. I was very pleased with qualifying yesterday but I knew the races were going to be a lot tougher. My BMW was very strong over the race, as we have seen in the BTCC, I was able to keep the pressure on and I am just delighted to be on the podium."