BMW national teams conclude first half of the WTCC season in Brno. Munich, 15th June 2009. The first half of the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship comes to an end in Brno (CZ) this weekend. Following the first BMW victory of the season in...
BMW national teams conclude first half of the WTCC season in Brno.
Munich, 15th June 2009. The first half of the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship comes to an end in Brno (CZ) this weekend. Following the first BMW victory of the season in Valencia (ES), claimed by Augusto Farfus (BR), the BMW national teams again want to play a major role when it comes to fighting for top positions at the "Automotodrom Brno".
For the first time since the Marrakech (MA) rounds, all the title favourites from BMW, SEAT and Chevrolet will compete with the same compensation weight. Farfus, second in the championship, has to load 40 kilograms of ballast on his BMW 320si WTCC car. The same goes for his team-mate Jorg Muller (DE), BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GB) and Sergio Hernandez (ES) from BMW Team Italy-Spain. Hernandez team-mate, Alessandro Zanardi (IT), will take the start at the wheel of his BMW 320si WTCC with its sequential gearbox without carrying any ballast. Last year Zanardi was the dominant force in Brno: After scoring his maiden WTCC pole position, the Italian won the first race and finished second in race two.
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"As Brno is the scene of my first win in the ETCC days it has always been a special place for me. I like the track. We go there with all of us on the same weight, and the need for a big points' weekend. It's an all out attack for the rest of the season."
Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):
"Brno definitely is one of my favourites on the calendar. And I cannot complain about my record on this track either, as I scored victories there in 2006 and 2007. Following our one-two in Valencia, everyone in our team is fired up to make it onto the podium again in the Czech Republic."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"I walked away from the past four races having bagged 31 points. Obviously I want to continue this trend in Brno. The track suits me well. Since I have been driving for BMW, I have never finished worse than fourth there. We will try to be as strong here as we were in Spain."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"Even if I hadn't enjoyed such good results there in the past I would still say: Wow! What a circuit. My victory in 2008 was great, but the pole position on the Saturday was even better. It is all about pure performance on the decisive qualifying lap. It is a great feeling to come out as the fastest."
Sergio Hernandez (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"I'm looking forward to our races in Brno an awful lot as BMW Team Italy-Spain has won there in the past two years. Our current form is improving from race weekend to race weekend. Therefore I'm confident we can be very competitive again in the Czech Republic."
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 follows the contours of the impressive 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 eight of the 12 World and European Touring Car Championship rounds contested by the manufacturer, a BMW driver has been the winner. In both 2003 and 2004, Andy Priaulx won a European Championship race there. Jorg Muller has claimed two WTCC race wins.
In the past years, the two Czech WTCC rounds were particularly good for BMW Team Italy-Spain: On the 5.402-kilometre track, Felix Porteiro (ES) celebrated his maiden WTCC win at the wheel of the BMW 320si WTCC in 2007. Last year, Alessandro Zanardi (IT) won the first race after scoring his first WTCC pole position. The Italian narrowly missed out on a dominant double victory. But by finishing second in race two, Zanardi still put the icing on the cake of his most successful weekend in the World Touring Car Championship.
The Automotodrom is one of the faster circuits on the WTCC calendar, and is a classic, undulating track. The corners flow into each other, and the track surface is flat, thanks to recent resurfacing. The drivers must master numerous left-right combinations. After the start-finish straight, the circuit descends for almost three kilometres. The subsequent climb requires a high degree of torque and engine performance.
The track features a long straight with a length of 636 metres, a total of 14 corners and inclines of up to eight percent. After Macau, Brno is the second-longest track on the 2009 WTCC calendar.
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 in 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 races will both be held over 10 laps - a total distance of 54.02 kilometres. The first race begins on Sunday at 12:50hrs local time (11:50hrs BST). Race two gets underway at 15:05hrs (14:05hrs BST).