Priaulx best-placed BMW driver in WTCC qualifying at Istanbul. Istanbul (Turkey), 17th September 2005. In qualifying for the 15th round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at Istanbul, BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GBR) finished ...
Priaulx best-placed BMW driver in WTCC qualifying at Istanbul.
Istanbul (Turkey), 17th September 2005. In qualifying for the 15th round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at Istanbul, BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GBR) finished seventh, after setting a personal best time of 2:05.363 minutes. Thus, he was the quickest of all BMW drivers. Despite carrying the maximum handicap weight of 60 kilograms, Priaulx is now in a promising position to add further championship points to his tally in tomorrow's races.
Dirk Muller (GER), who is competing for BMW Team Deutschland and currently leads the Drivers' Championship, will start from tenth place. The German lines up one row behind Priaulx, his closest rival in the title fight, on Sunday's grid. Ahead of the two races at the Istanbul Speed Park, the Guernsey-born driver is trailing Dirk Muller, who is also carrying 60 kilograms on board of his BMW 320i, by just one point.
None of the three other BMW national team drivers succeeded in matching the pace of pole-sitter Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), who posted a best time of 2:04.525 minutes. The Alfa Romeo driver is carrying 20 kilograms of ballast. Antonio Garcia (ESP) of BMW Team Italy-Spain finished 13th, directly ahead of Jorg Muller (GER), the second BMW Team Deutschland driver. Following a mistake in the weighing procedure after qualifying, Jorg Muller's time was cancelled. Garcia's team-mate, Alessandro Zanardi, benefited and will start the race from 15th position. Jorg Muller, however, has to start from the tail end of the grid.
Despite the difficult qualifying, the drivers were impressed with the 5.340 kilometre circuit, situated in the Asian part of the Turkish metropolis. "The circuit is just great," commented Dirk Muller, "Apart from turn 11, which can be taken flat-out, you can lose valuable time in each turn - and gain split seconds, too. Therefore, it is essential to remain fully concentrated for the whole lap. There are loads of overtaking opportunities, which will make for a lot of action in the races. Even from tenth position on the grid, a satisfying result is possible."
Like his brand-mate and championship rival, Priaulx also praised the undulating track that was designed by German architect, Hermann Tilke. "This circuit is indeed very challenging, and it's difficult to find a good set-up," said the reigning European Touring Car Champion, adding: "My car is not yet as well balanced as it was at Oschersleben, however, we are working hard to get on top of this. It's easy to make mistakes here. Tyres will be a crucial factor tomorrow."
The 15th round of the 2005 season will start on Sunday at 16.15hrs local time (15.15hrs CEST). Race two is scheduled to start at 17.20hrs (16.20hrs).