Dominant performance by BMW in Brno - Porteiro and Muller claim wins. Brno (Czech Republic), 17th June 2007. All the places on the podium were reserved for the BMW national team drivers for rounds nine and ten of the FIA World Touring Car ...
Dominant performance by BMW in Brno - Porteiro and Muller claim wins.
Brno (Czech Republic), 17th June 2007. All the places on the podium were reserved for the BMW national team drivers for rounds nine and ten of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Brno (CZE). In front of 52,000 spectators, Felix Porteiro from BMW Team Italy-Spain secured his maiden WTCC victory in the morning race. At the "Automotodrom Brno", the 23-year-old won ahead of BMW Team Germany driver Jorg Muller (GER) and his team-mate Alessandro Zanardi (ITA), who finished second and third respectively. In race two, BMW Team Germany celebrated its first one-two finish of the season: Muller crossed the line as winner ahead of Augusto Farfus (BRA), who finished fourth in the first race of the day. Porteiro rounded off his perfect weekend by finishing third.
Farfus succeeded in regaining the championship lead from Andy Priaulx (GBR). The defending champion, who is racing for BMW Team UK, retired from the race shortly after the start, but fought his way back up from 22nd to seventh place in the second round, despite carrying 60 kilos of handicap weight. Having 53 points under his belt, Farfus is the new leader, with Muller lying in second place, who is trailing his team- mate by four points. Priaulx is ranked third and has 44 points to his tally. In the Manufacturers' Championship, BMW successfully increased the gap to the competition and is in the lead with 142 points.
In the morning, Porteiro made perfect use of his pole position and claimed a start to finish win. However, the young gun had the BMW 320si WTCC of Muller, who had improved from seventh to second place at the start, in his rear mirror over the complete race distance. Farfus gained more places when the red lights went off, jumped from ninth to third place and exited the first corner ahead of Zanardi. Priaulx's race, however, was over before it had even really started. In turn one, the two-time world champion was hit by SEAT's Pierre-Yves Corthals (BEL), spun and got stuck in the gravel.
Following a brief safety car period, the four BMW drivers opened up a gap. Having the maximum ballast of 60 kilograms on board his car, Farfus fended off the attacks from Zanardi, who was running without any extra kilos. On lap seven, however, Zanardi finally managed to overtake the BMW works driver. In the front, Muller closely followed Porteiro, but there was no chance for an attack due to his 45 kilograms of ballast. Therefore, Porteiro was able to record the biggest success in his still young career in touring car racing.
The Spaniard also delivered in fine style in race two. From eighth place on the grid he gained many positions and finally took over third place from Gabriele Tarquini (ITA/SEAT) on lap seven, which he kept until the end of the race. Zanardi's chances for scoring another podium result, however, were diminished before the start. Between the two races, the mechanics had started working on his car seconds too early, which was regarded as an infringement of the Parc Ferme regulations. The consequence was a stop-and-go penalty. Even before he had the chance to serve the sentence, Zanardi was forced to pit in for a new tyre, which was damaged during a collision with Chevrolet's Alain Menu (SUI). Zanardi finished in 20th position.
Meanwhile, Priaulx was ploughing through the field and gained one position after another. On lap eight, he passed SEAT drivers Jordi Gene (ESP) and Tiago Monteiro (POR, who got off the racing line while fighting each other. Now Priaulx was running in seventh place - and stayed there until the chequered flag was waved. At the top, Farfus and Muller delivered a gripping duel. Just like Mulller, Farfus performed an excellent start and took the lead from Tarquini on lap three. However, this time Muller was determined to seize the opportunity to score his second win of the season with his 15 kilos lighter car. On lap four, he launched the attack and took the lead. After ten laps, he crossed the line 0.812 second ahead of his team-mate.
Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):
"It's just fantastic to score a win and a second place with 45 kilos in the car. The whole team worked exceptionally well as we focussed on improving my qualifying performance. This was the key for today's result. BMW Team Germany is now leading the championship with both drivers. That's the most important thing."
Felix Porteiro (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"It was about time that we got rewarded for our work. Not only my victory, but also Alessandro's third place in race one and my second podium result prove how competitive our car has been. I knew that I had to put in a flawless performance if I wanted to have a chance for the win. And I did just that. With this success behind me, it was just about having a lot fun in race two."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"This has been a nice weekend for me. Despite carrying 60 kilos of ballast, I was able to jump into the championship lead again. In race one, I gained many positions and had an exciting duel with Jorg in the second race. He was a bit faster than me and I had to let him go."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"It's a great result for our team. Unfortunately Felix and I were together on the podium after race one, and still had to do a second round, but if not I'm sure we would have started celebrations straight away. My team-mate and the whole team did a fantastic job today."
Roberto Ravaglia (Team Principal BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"Following Felix's performances in the practice sessions and in qualifying this victory was somehow in the air. However, when he finally crossed the line, it took a load off our minds. This success will give the team a big boost and motivation."
Charly Lamm (Team Manager BMW Team Germany):
"Brno has always been good to BMW - and this also was the case today. For our team this has been a fantastic weekend. Jorg and Augusto managed to be in the right place at the right time during the races and delivered a perfect performance. If two team-mates fight for victory with each other, it always makes the heart of the team manager go faster. But they both coped well with this situation."