BMW drivers aim for finishing 2008 WTCC season on a high. Munich, 10th November 2008. This weekend sees the drivers in the FIA World Touring Car Championship competing for points and victories for the final time this year. While the drivers from...
BMW drivers aim for finishing 2008 WTCC season on a high.
Munich, 10th November 2008. This weekend sees the drivers in the FIA World Touring Car Championship competing for points and victories for the final time this year. While the drivers from the BMW national teams can no longer challenge for the World Championship title at the "Guia Circuit" in Macau (MO), history shows that BMW should never be written off at this famous city circuit, despite suffering a difficult season: six out of the eight touring car races held on the 6.117-kilometre track since 2004 have been won by BMW drivers.
No fewer than 15 drivers will line up for the two sprint races with a handicap weight of 70 kilograms. These include BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GB) and the BMW Team Germany drivers, Jorg Muller (DE) and Augusto Farfus (BR). Each of these three drivers can still move up to third in the Drivers' Championship. Felix Porteiro (ES) and Alessandro Zanardi (IT) race for BMW Team Italy-Spain with 51 and 32 kilograms of ballast respectively.
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"Obviously this will be the first time for ages that I have gone to Macau with no chance of winning a title. I suppose in some ways I can enjoy my favourite circuit a little more as I shall not be thinking about anything other than the races. It is difficult to find a driver who doesn't like this track."
Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):
"Macau is always a highlight for me. The circuit is as unique as the atmosphere. The teams are closer together here than anywhere else. I like street circuits in general, as they are very unforgiving. It goes without saying that my big goal is to stand at the top of the podium again at the end of the season."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"Last year I had to wave goodbye to my title aspirations following a crash in Macau. For this reason, I am now highly motivated to return to winning ways on this fantastic circuit. My season has not gone entirely to plan, and I would like to go into the winter break with a great result behind me."
Felix Porteiro (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"I have not exactly been blessed with luck over the last few races. Hopefully Macau will be better for me. I drove there for the first time in 2007 and gained a lot of experience. This should stand me in good stead."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"Previously I only picked up World Championship points in Macau in 2005. I want to change that record, and end the year with a good result. It will be crucial to avoid dangerous situations at the start. If I can manage that, then there is a lot in these races for me."
History and background:
For the first time in the history of the World Touring Car Championship, no BMW driver is still in with a chance of winning the title going into the season finale. Previously, Andy Priaulx achieved this feat three times in succession. As well as this, BMW secured the Manufacturers' Championship three times in a row in Macau, between 2005 and 2007.
Last year's WTCC finale could hardly have been more dramatic. Priaulx finished eighth in the first race to put him in an excellent position going into the final race of the year. Starting from pole position, he went on to win this crucial race. Ninety-two points was eventually enough to relegate SEAT driver Yvan Muller (FR) to second place in the overall standings.
BMW has tasted victory at all the touring car events held at the "Guia Circuit" since 2004. At the end of the European Touring Car Championship in 2004 a team of BMW drivers went to the Macau races and Jorg Muller a double success. A year later, as WTCC made is debut, Duncan Huisman (NL) claimed victory in race two. Despite not yet driving for BMW, a certain Augusto Farfus won the first race in 2005 - his first Macau victory. In 2006, both Priaulx and Muller were triumphant. Last season, Priaulx won again to become world champion.
Muller has not only enjoyed victory in the former Portuguese colony as a touring car driver: he also won the legendary Formula Three race there in 1993.
As with all street circuits on the World Touring Car Championship race calendar, qualifying at the "Guia Circuit" lasts 45 minutes rather than the usual 30 minutes. This is to give each driver the chance to complete a free "flying" lap, despite the anticipated yellow flags and interruptions.
Motorsport has a tradition in Macau: this year the Formula Three race takes place for the 55th time. The finale of the WTCC is just one of the highlights on a comprehensive programme. Another feature of the weekend is the 42nd Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Formula BMW is also making its debut in Macau: Formula BMW Pacific is staging its season finale in the Asian gamblers' paradise. 18-year-old Ross Jamison (HK) has already secured the title in the junior series.
Macau consists of a peninsula and two islands, which are connected by bridges. The majority of the 500,000 residents live on the peninsula. Macau covers a total area of 25.4km". The official languages are Chinese and Portuguese. In 1999, Macau was integrated into the People's Republic of China as a special administrative region.
The first race begins on Sunday at 12:00hrs local time, with race two following at 13:15hrs. The time difference to Central Europe is minus seven hours. Both races are broadcast on Eurosport, and can be seen online at the official BMW Motorsport website, at www.bmw-motorsport.com. The drivers in the BMW national teams will be available for interviews with media representatives from 18:00hrs local time on the Friday.
Facts and Figures:
Circuit / Date Guia Circuit / 16th November 2008
Lap / Distance 6.117 km / 55.05 km (9 laps)
Winners 2007 Race 1: Alain Menu (Chevrolet)
Race 2: Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK)
Pole position 2007 Alain Menu (Chevrolet),2:31.209 minutes
Fastest laps 2007
Race 1: Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT), 2:32.517 minutes
Race 2: Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT), 2:32.840 minutes