BMW driver JÃ¶rg MÃ¼ller claims pole for WTCC curtain-raiser in Curitiba. Curitiba (Brazil), 10th March 2007. The BMW national teams celebrated an excellent start to the 2007 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). In the first qualifying ...
BMW driver Jörg Müller claims pole for WTCC curtain-raiser in Curitiba.
Curitiba (Brazil), 10th March 2007. The BMW national teams celebrated an excellent start to the 2007 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). In the first qualifying session of the season at the "Autódromo Internacional de Curitiba", Jörg Müller (GER) set a best time of 1:24.769 minutes, thus taking pole position. The BMW Team Germany driver was only 0.055 seconds faster than his team-mate Augusto Farfus (BRA), who took second place. For the first time in WTCC history, the team led by Charly Lamm (GER) secured the top-two positions in qualifying.
The second row on Sunday's grid for race one is also an all-BMW affair. Reigning World Champion, Andy Priaulx (GBR), finished third for BMW Team UK, and BMW Team Italy-Spain's Félix Porteiro (ESP) recorded an impressive fourth place in his maiden WTCC qualifying. Alessandro Zanardi (ITA), also representing the colours of BMW Team Italy-Spain, rounded off the great overall result for BMW by coming tenth. Never before have four BMW drivers been the top-four in qualifying.
"I'm really happy about this start to the season," said Müller. "I didn't expect to make a further improvement in the dying moments of the session. However, I managed to complete an almost perfect lap - and now I'm on pole. We worked very hard over the winter. Apparently, this work now pays off. Thank you to the team."
The 30-minute qualifying was a true thriller. His very first flying lap had catapulted Müller to the top of the timesheets, where he remained until 32 second before the end of the session. Then one highlight followed the next: Firstly, it was Priaulx who took the lead on his 11th lap. However, Farfus also succeeded in improving his lap time only seconds after Priaulx had leaped into the lead. The Brazilian fans were delighted when their local hero stole pole position from Priaulx. Only Müller was now left in a position to relegate Farfus to second place. And he did just that. The session was virtually over, when Müller crossed the line and took pole. Porteiro also secured his fourth place with a quick final lap towards the end of the session.
Farfus commented: "This is my first race weekend with BMW. Therefore, I'm naturally very, very happy with this outcome. It's fantastic to kick off the season here in front of my home crowd - and competing on a similar level to Jörg and Andy from the word go. Tomorrow I'm determined to score as many points as possible, as collecting points consistently will be vital in the championship this year." Double World Champion Priaulx added: "Obviously you are disappointed if you lose pole so close to the end of the qualifying. But Jörg did a truly remarkable lap. This was a nice appetizer for the rest of the season."
The first race on Sunday will start at 12:20hrs local time (16:20hrs CET), and will feature a new starting format: for the first time in the WTCC the drivers will perform a "rolling" start. The standing start for race two is scheduled for 15:20hrs local time (19:20hrs CET).