Curitiba: BMW qualifying report

Farfus claims third place for BMW in maiden WTCC qualifying of the year. Curitiba. In the first qualifying session of the 2008 FIA World Touring Car Championship, Augusto Farfus (BR) finished up the most successful driver of the BMW national ...

Farfus claims third place for BMW in maiden WTCC qualifying of the year.

Curitiba. In the first qualifying session of the 2008 FIA World Touring Car Championship, Augusto Farfus (BR) finished up the most successful driver of the BMW national teams. With a 1:24.482-minute lap he was third quickest at the "Autodromo Internacional de Curitiba". BMW Team Germany's second driver, Jorg Muller (DE), also claimed an encouraging grid position for the season opener: The 38-year-old will start the first of the two sprint races from sixth place. Pole position went to Yvan Muller (FR/SEAT), who lapped the 3.695-kilometre circuit in 1:24.295 minutes.

Defending world champion Andy Priaulx (GB) of BMW Team UK was unhappy with the balance of his car and had to make do with 12th place on the grid. The two BMW Team Italy-Spain drivers, Felix Porteiro (ES) and Alessandro Zanardi (IT) follow in 13th and 14th positions.

Local hero Farfus was happy with his performance in qualifying, which was red- flagged for ten minutes due to an accident involving Chevrolet's Alain Menu (CH). "When the red flags came out I was just starting a flying lap," said the 24-year-old. "Then following a spin by Jorg Muller, neither was I able to improve my time on my last attempt. The races will most definitely be interesting affairs. A lot can happen over 14 laps - but we should be able to give a strong performance. I will do my best to give my fellow countrymen a good reason to cheer for me."

Last year Farfus celebrated his maiden win at the wheel of the BMW 320si WTCC in front of a massive crowd. His team-mate Muller also tasted victory in Curitiba. "My 2007 Brazilian race weekend was almost perfect," said the experienced racer. "However, I won't make any predictions for tomorrow's races. It will be difficult to overtake the SEAT diesels. But the starting position could be worse. It's a pity that I spun shortly before the end of the session. Otherwise I could have ended up further up the grid."

Priaulx is pinning his hopes on benefiting from the reversed grid regulation in the World Touring Car Championship. "In Macau last year I started from 12th place, and after the two races I was a triple world champion," said the 33-year-old. "Therefore I certainly will not give up fighting for a good result early in the season. On my last flyer I made a mistake in turn 7, which cost me a better position. We have not yet come to terms with the low grip level at this circuit. Now we will work hard to eliminate the problems."

The first WTCC race of the 2008 season will start on Sunday at 13:20hrs local time (16:20hrs GMT). Race two will get underway at 16:20hrs (19:20hrs GMT).

-credit: bmw.de

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Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Jorg Muller , Yvan Muller , Augusto Farfus , Felix Porteiro , Alain Menu