BMW driver Augusto Farfus secures third-row grid position in Imola. Imola, 19th September 2009. Augusto Farfus (BR) was the best-placed BMW national driver in what was - as expected - a difficult qualifying session for BMW in Imola (IT). The BMW...
BMW driver Augusto Farfus secures third-row grid position in Imola.
Imola, 19th September 2009. Augusto Farfus (BR) was the best-placed BMW national driver in what was - as expected - a difficult qualifying session for BMW in Imola (IT). The BMW Team Germany driver clocked a personal best time of 1:56.257 minutes, securing sixth on the grid for Sunday's 19th round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Like Farfus, BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GB) also advanced into the decisive top- ten qualifying session. The triple world champion was just 0.029 seconds slower than his fellow BMW driver and claimed seventh. SEAT's Gabriele Tarquini (IT) secured pole position, after setting a 1:55.530 minutes lap.
Sergio Hernandez (ES) came 11th at the "Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari" for BMW Team Italy-Spain, while Farfus' team-mate Jorg Muller (DE) finished 12th. Local hero Alessandro Zanardi (IT) had to make do with 13th on the grid.
"This was a truly difficult qualifying session," commented Farfus. "We did our very best, but a better result was just not possible. The gap to the front-runners is huge. This proves how big the performance advantage of the turbo diesel powered cars is at this race track. Despite this, in order to keep our title hopes alive, we will also try to make the most of any opportunities we are offered on Sunday. But again this won't be an easy task." Farfus narrowly missed out on fifth on the grid: A mere five thousandths of a second separated the 26-year-old from Tiago Monteiro (PT/SEAT).
On the long straights of the classic Italian circuit, in order to set quick lap times, the drivers were dependent on getting a good tow from the car ahead of them. Because of this, Muller and Farfus worked together during their two outings in the first part of qualifying, while Priaulx, Zanardi and Hernandez went out to complete their stints together. In "Q2" Farfus then teamed up with Priaulx.
Priaulx said: "I worked with Augusto, and we tried to get the best top ten positions possible. I am quite happy with the result as we always knew just how difficult it was going to be here Anything can happen tomorrow, so let's just wait and see."
The qualifying session in Imola was held in dry conditions with temperatures exceeding 20 degrees Celsius. The first phase had to be red-flagged for several minutes following an off-track moment for Andrea Larini (IT/SEAT). Apart from that, both sessions ran without major incidents. Alain Menu (CH/Chevrolet) could not take part of "Q2" due to technical problems. Should there be an engine change on the Swiss driver's car, Hernandez, Muller and Zanardi will gain one place each on the grid for this year's penultimate WTCC race on European soil.
The 19th race of the FIA World Touring Car Championship will start at 12:50hrs local time (11:50hrs BST) on Sunday, race two will get underway at 15:05hrs (14:05hrs BST).