BMW national teams return to successful territory in Brno. Munich. This weekend, the BMW national teams have the chance to continue their upward trend in the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Brno (CZ). Following the wins for Augusto Farfus...
BMW national teams return to successful territory in Brno.
Munich. This weekend, the BMW national teams have the chance to continue their upward trend in the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Brno (CZ). Following the wins for Augusto Farfus (BR) and Andy Priaulx (GB) in Pau (FR), the quintet of BMW drivers travels to the Czech Republic with a confidence boost. This optimism isn't by chance. In the past, the "Automotodrom Brno" - built into an impressive landscape - proved to suit BMW well. Last year, the rounds held at the Czech circuit were won by Felix Porteiro (ES) and Jorg Muller (DE), with BMW drivers taking all the other podium places.
However, handicap weight makes a bigger impact at Brno than elsewhere, due to lots of uphill sections. This disadvantage will particularly affect BMW Team UK ace Priaulx and BMW Team Germany's Farfus. The pairing will have 58 and 46 kilograms respectively on board their cars. Farfus' team-mate, Muller, will race carrying 20 kilograms, while Porteiro will only have to cope with nine kilos of ballast. The only driver who won't be hampered by "success ballast" will be Porteiro's BMW Team Italy-Spain team mate, Alessandro Zanardi (IT).
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"Brno is a great circuit and I really love the uphill sections. I won my first race for BMW there in 2003, repeated this in 2004 and last year, despite carrying 60 kilos of ballast, qualified for the front row of the grid. The Pau win was a great confidence boost for all of us in the team."
Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):
"Of all the circuits on the calendar, Brno is my favourite. Its layout lends itself to a flowing style, and basically it has no slow sections. The track follows the contours of its undulating surroundings. Brno provides what I expect from a challenging circuit."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"I like the circuit in Brno. Last year I had a good pace there and finished on the podium in race two. That's exactly where I want to end up again this year, in order to reduce the gap to the front-runners. My victory in Pau was a good start, but there still lies a lot work in front of us."
Felix Porteiro (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"Obviously, I have a lot of fond memories of Brno. To score pole position, my maiden race win and another podium finish there was a fantastic result in 2007. Once again I won't carry a lot of handicap weight this weekend. So I will give my very best to add some chapters to my personal success story on this circuit."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"I'm really pumped up by the fact we now return to a circuit where overtaking is possible. My speed in Pau was okay, but there it's just impossible to gain track positions. In 2007 I made it to the podium in Brno. But the competition is even tougher this year. Points would be a good result for me."
History and Background:
The "Automotodrom Brno" - also known as "Masaryk Ring" in the Czech Republic - is a regular in international touring car racing. The impressive race track which is very much part of the landscape was a venue for the inaugural World Touring Car Championship, held back in 1987. In the years prior to the WTCC's return to the circuit, Brno staged several European Touring Car Championship events.
BMW has fond memories of Brno. In seven of the ten World and European Touring Car Championship rounds, which were contested by the manufacturer, a BMW driver was the winner. In both 2003 and 2004, Andy Priaulx won a European Championship race there. Jorg Muller also claimed two race wins in Brno but celebrated these successes in WTCC events.
The 2007 rounds were particularly pleasant for BMW Team Italy-Spain: On the 5.402-kilometre track, Felix Porteiro celebrated his maiden WTCC win at the wheel of the BMW 320si WTCC after clinching his first pole position in qualifying. In the first race of the weekend, his team-mate, Alessandro Zanardi, also made it to the podium by finishing third and in the Sunday round, the Italian again demonstrated his driving skills by clocking the fastest race lap.
The "Omega Turn" represents a special characteristic of the "Automotodrom Brno". This section of the circuit resembles the final letter of the Greek alphabet. The track features a longest straight with a length of 636 metres, a total of 14 corners and inclines of up to eight percent. Together with Macau and Monza, Brno is one of the three longest tracks on the 2008 WTCC calendar. The lowest spot, shortly before the home straight, lies 73 metres below the pit lane.
In the off-season, the major part off the track was resurfaced. The BMW drivers will have the chance to adapt to the new conditions as early as this Thursday as the WTCC teams will have a day of testing right before the start of the race weekend.
The circuit looks back on more than 70 years of history. Originally, it was a 29.1- kilometre natural circuit on the public roads from Brno to Prague. Today's facilities were opened in 1986. With 370,000 inhabitants, Brno is the second-biggest city of the Czech Republic and the capital of the Southern Mahren region. Brno's history began back in 1021 when the castle bearing the same name was built. In 1243, Wenzel I founded the city that is well-known today.
The two WTCC rounds will be 10 laps each, representing a total distance of 54.02 kilometres. The first round will start on Sunday at 12:20 hrs local time (11:20 hrs BST), the second at 15:45 hrs local time. The two races will be covered by both Eurosport International on TV and on the official BMW Motorsport Website.