World Touring Car Championship title will be decided in Macau. Munich, 14th November 2005. The FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) is revving up for the final of its exciting season. The Guia Circuit in Macau will decide which of the...
World Touring Car Championship title will be decided in Macau.
Munich, 14th November 2005. The FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) is revving up for the final of its exciting season. The Guia Circuit in Macau will decide which of the drivers takes the first World Championship title in touring car racing since 1987. BMW has two red-hot irons in the fire for races 19 and 20. Dirk Muller (GER) of BMW Team Deutschland will be heading for China as the championship leader with 86 points. Just one point adrift of him is BMW Team UK driver Andy Priaulx (GBR) who, after winning last year's European Touring Car Championship, is keen to tuck the WTCC title under his belt as well.
In the Manufacturers' Championship, BMW has a lead of 25 points over Alfa Romeo and every chance of ending the season in the top slot - as it did in the last two seasons of the European Championship. In total, there are another 36 points up for grabs in this contest. The season final will have private entrants on their best mettle as any points won in Macau will count double towards the overall score. BMW privateer Marc Hennerici (GER) can justifiably entertain serious hopes of winning the Independents Trophy by virtue of being in the lead with a gap of 15 points to his fellow-BMW driver Giuseppe Ciro (ITA).
The legendary "Macau Grand Prix" takes place for the 52nd time in 2005, but it is a first for races in an FIA-sanctioned championship. The 6.2-kilometre city circuit holds a unique fascination: drivers clock the highest speeds of the season here while at the same time having to negotiate the slowest turn in the entire WTCC race calendar - a tight hairpin bend where overtaking is prohibited. It is a distinction to which this Asian metropolis lays sole claim.
Last year Dirk Muller appeared on the Macau circuit for the first time, but was forced to retire from the race after an accident. That leaves Priaulx with a slight edge on the championship leader as far as circuit experience goes. He is familiar with the challenging maze of turns from numerous races in the FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup. In 2004 he drove a BMW 320i for BMW Team Germany - and instantly took second place.
Only one driver proved faster than him last year: Jorg Muller (GER) of BMW Team Deutschland. After winning the famous Formula 3 race in 1993, the 36-year-old achieved the feat of being the first driver to win a touring car race in Macau as well. It was also the tenth win for Schnitzer Motorsport since 1980 in this classic event. "I just love this circuit," says the seasoned driver. Being fourth in the drivers' rankings puts him out of contention for the title, though he intends to provide cover for his fellow-BMW drivers Dirk Muller and Priaulx.
The same goes for Duncan Huisman (NLD), the 34-year-old driver who will be representing BMW Team Holland on the circuit in the former Portuguese colony. His BMW 320i is being fielded by the Priaulx's RBM Team. Huisman, who was a member of the winning BMW team in the Nurburgring 24 Hours in May, has made history in Macau. In 2003 he climbed to the top of the podium for the third time in succession. No other driver can claim as many wins in this event. A total of 33 drivers will line up on the grid in Macau. Among them will be the winner of the Asian Touring Car Championship, Franz Engstler (GER), in a BMW 320i.