BMW national teams continue WTCC title chase in Brands Hatch. Munich, 13th July 2009. The fight for the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) enters its next stage in Brands Hatch (GB) this weekend. The 3.703- kilometre Grand Prix...
BMW national teams continue WTCC title chase in Brands Hatch.
Munich, 13th July 2009. The fight for the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) enters its next stage in Brands Hatch (GB) this weekend. The 3.703- kilometre Grand Prix Circuit will host rounds 15 and 16 of the series. A look to the past proves the track suits the BMW 320si WTCC: In 2007 local hero Andy Priaulx (GB) claimed victory for BMW Team UK there, last year BMW Team Germany's Jorg Muller (DE) made it to the top step of the podium.
Following his 2008 pole position, Muller's team-mate Augusto Farfus (BR), currently ranked third in the drivers' classification, is fired up to score his maiden win at this classic circuit. Sergio Hernandez (ES) has fully recovered from the foot injury he suffered in an accident in Porto (PT). He and his team-mate, Alessandro Zanardi (IT), equally want to improve the points' tally of BMW Team Italy-Spain. The BMW 320si WTCC cars with the H-pattern gearbox will carry the same compensation weight (40 kilograms) as their main rivals, the SEAT Leon TDIs. Zanardi contests the eighth event of the year with no ballast onboard his vehicle with its sequential transmission.
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"I am looking forward to another great weekend in Brands Hatch. It is always a huge challenge to race on the Grand Prix circuit. It is not simple to overtake there, and it is easy to make mistakes. The immense motor racing tradition which Brands Hatch can look back on is everywhere."
Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):
"My performance in Brands Hatch has constantly improved. In 2006, I had to retire. Then I scored points, and last year I celebrated victory there. Apart from these results, I just like the track a lot. It's nicely embedded in the landscape and a true classic on the calendar."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"Last year I claimed pole position in Brands Hatch, but couldn't use it to celebrate a big points' finish. Now I'm fired up to improve my tally on this great circuit. It will be crucial to score another strong result. Only then I will be able to keep the pressure up on the guys who are in front of me in the drivers' standings."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"I had a strong weekend in Brands Hatch last year and brought home 11 points from Great Britain. I don't see any reason why this shouldn't again be a successful weekend for us. After the races on Porto's street circuit, I'm now happy to return to a proper race track."
Sergio Hernandez (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"I'm glad that I can take the start in Brands Hatch. In 2008 I scored a point there as a privateer. That shows that I cope really well with this circuit. My accident in Portugal is a thing of the past."
History and background:
In the 2005 season, when the World Touring Car Championship made a comeback, Silverstone hosted both British legs of the series. Andy Priaulx was forced to retire due to a tyre failure, with the local hero also being denied victory the following year when Brands Hatch made its debut on the WTCC calendar: he lost the lead after sliding off the track at "Paddock Hill" in wet conditions. In 2007, though, Priaulx finally claimed an emotional victory in front of his home crowd.
Last year he not only thrilled the British fans by claiming another podium after finishing third in race one, but he also put in several demo laps at the wheel of a BMW Sauber F1 Team racing car. This time it was Jorg Muller, who scored victory for BMW at the 3.703-kilometre circuit. Alessandro Zanardi also had reason the cheer: The Italian finished third in the second race.
Brands Hatch has hosted motor racing since 1926, with the first events catering for motorcycles on an anti-clockwise circuit. In the 1950s the circuit was laid with tarmac, and the direction of travel reversed.
The Grand Prix circuit, as used for both WTCC rounds, was inaugurated in 1959. It is a flowing track and includes some of the best-known corners in international motor racing. Nothing is symmetrical at this circuit, which is rich in tradition and nestled perfectly in the surrounding countryside. The very first corner, "Paddock Hill" is a challenge in itself, with drivers heading blind into a corner before descending into a dip. In the return sector of the track, four fast right-handers really put the drivers to the test. The car must react extremely precisely to the driver's steering.
Between 1964 and 1986 this challenging circuit, which follows the natural contours of the area, hosted 12 British Grands Prix. Two further Formula One two races were run as European Grands Prix. Niki Lauda (AT) scored three Grand Prix victories, making him Brands Hatch's most successful Formula One driver, followed by Nigel Mansell (GB) with two victories.
Brands Hatch is in Fawkham, near Dartford in the English county of Kent. Dartford is the administrative centre for this area, which is home to approximately 60,000 inhabitants.
Two of Dartford's sons have achieved worldwide fame: Rolling Stones' frontman Mick Jagger (GB) and guitarist Keith Richards (GB) were born in the town, and later started their musical careers there.
Both WTCC races will be contested over 14 laps, giving a total distance of 51.84 kilometres. The first race starts at 11:50hrs BST, and the second at 14:05hrs local.
The BMW national team drivers will be available for interviews in the BMW Motorsport Hospitality unit from 16:50hrs on Saturday.