Alessandro Zanardi and Sergio Hernandez win for BMW in Brno. Brno, 21st June 2009. BMW Team Italy-Spain continued its impressive winning streak at the "Automotodrom Brno" today. Alessandro Zanardi (IT) and Sergio Hernandez (ES) crossed the line...
Alessandro Zanardi and Sergio Hernandez win for BMW in Brno.
Brno, 21st June 2009. BMW Team Italy-Spain continued its impressive winning streak at the "Automotodrom Brno" today. Alessandro Zanardi (IT) and Sergio Hernandez (ES) crossed the line as winners in rounds 11 and 12 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. This makes it four wins out of the last six races in Brno (CZ) for Italian team principal Roberto Ravaglia's squad. While Zanardi celebrated his fourth WTCC victory, it was first time Hernandez had climbed to the top step of the podium.
BMW Team Germany's Jorg Muller (DE) scored another podium finish by coming second in race one and increased his points' total to ten by taking seventh in race two. Hernandez also scored points in the first race after taking the chequered flag in fifth. Andy Priaulx (GB) from BMW Team UK had to make do with eighth place in round two. His hopes for a big points weekend were destroyed at the start of race one, when BMW Team Germany's Augusto Farfus (BR) crashed into him after making a mistake. Both drivers left the first 50-kilometre sprint of the day empty- handed.
Due to the early accident Farfus missed the chance to gain further ground on SEAT's championship leader, Yvan Muller (FR), who finished eighth and second respectively. Farfus now ranks third in the drivers' classification with 54 points, 12 points behind Muller. Muller improved from sixth to fourth and has 41 points under his belt. Thanks to their victories, Hernandez and Zanardi also reduced the gap to the front-runners. In the Manufacturers' Championship, BMW has 153 points and successfully shortened the gap to SEAT by the results in both races. The two manufacturers are only separated by eight points.
Following the pile-up after the start the way was free for Zanardi, who was third in qualifying behind Farfus and Priaulx. After SEAT's Gabriele Tarquini (IT) initially took the lead, Zanardi easily overtook his countryman after the end of the safety-car phase on lap four. He quickly opened up a gap and controlled the field from the front.
While Hernandez improved from ninth to sixth at the start, eventually finishing fifth, it was Muller who performed the most impressive fight back. He dropped back to 11th in the turmoil at the start, but then fought his way back up lap after lap. On lap ten he passed Tarquini for second, thus collecting his third podium result of the year. Priaulx rejoined the race on lap 8 after extensive repair works on his BMW 320si WTCC and clocked the fastest lap with 2:10.622 minutes.
Race two started in a less turbulent fashion. Hernandez again started well from fourth on the grid and had passed Muller for second by the end of lap one. Three laps later he also overtook BMW privateer driver Felix Porteiro (ES) and grabbed the lead which he defended to the end to score his maiden win in his 53rd WTCC race.
Zanardi was on the move as well, but then he was put out of the race by Rickard Rydell (SE/SEAT), who came back on the track after having an off. Race two also saw an early end for Farfus following another collision. The Brazilian had improved from 20th to 12th by that time. Muller and Priaulx, who had stormed his way up from 17th, were part of an exciting fight with the SEAT pairing Rydell/Tarquini, ultimately finishing seventh and eighth.
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"It's always the same in racing: Sometimes the odds are against you, sometimes they play into your hands. Today I benefited from the incident at the start. I managed to escape the pile-up without a scratch and quickly got past Gabriele Tarquini. Then it was all about controlling the race from the front. My car was simply too good to let anyone take this victory away from me. Jorg was a potential threat, but he came from too far behind to launch an attack on me. I'm really happy for Sergio Hernandez as well, he really deserves this victory."
Sergio Hernandez (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"I'm over the moon after claiming my maiden win for BMW. It's a perfect day for me and the whole team. This success means a lot to me as it proves that we are working in the right direction. I successfully kept the reigning champion, Yvan Muller, behind me, and withstood the pressure. I'm also happy that I could help BMW to reduce the gap in the Manufacturers' Championship. Alessandro Zanardi showing me the pit board with 'P1' when I crossed the line, makes me proud."
Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):
"My car was great today, especially in race one. Following the start I thought this race would be virtually over for me. I couldn't really see the starting lights and lost several positions. But then it was good fun to work my way up again. We gained some ground in the championship, and that's what we were here for."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"I take the blame for the accident in race one. I'm really sorry for the other drivers who had to retire due to my mistake. I'm extremely disappointed now."
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"This is not outcome of this weekend I had hoped for. Unfortunately I was involved in the first-corner accident in race one. My team did a sensational job in getting my car repaired even before the end of the race. In race two I was running behind Jorg Muller, obviously we had a good fight. But it was difficult to get past. It's a shame, as we lost some precious points again."