Weather: overcast sunny and warm, with a breeze BMW DOMINATE, AS SEAT CLAIM FIRST PODIUM JÃ¶rg MÃ¼ller took both wins at Magny Cours in Rounds 3 and 4 of the FIA WTCC. The weekend began well for JÃ¶rg as he qualified on pole for the first race...
Weather: overcast sunny and warm, with a breeze
BMW DOMINATE, AS SEAT CLAIM FIRST PODIUM
Jörg Müller took both wins at Magny Cours in Rounds 3 and 4 of the FIA WTCC. The weekend began well for Jörg as he qualified on pole for the first race and didn't allow anyone to pass him. In the second, he fought remarkably from 8th on the grid to take another win.
BMW continued their Championship success with Jörg and Priaulx finishing 1st and 2nd in the first race and Jörg, Dirk, Priaulx and García making it a BMW 1-2-3-4 in the second. Alfa Romeo and SEAT fought hard to spoil this BMW festival. Rydell gave SEAT the first podium result of the season as he finished 3rd in Race 1. In Race 2, Gené was the best for SEAT with a 6th place. Tarquini and Farfus led the Alfa Romeo Racing Team quartet. Tarquini passed the chequered flag 4th in Race 1 and Farfus was 5th in Race 2.
Chevrolet are clearly learning fast as Nicola Larini finished 13th in race 2, the best result so far for the Lacetti. Ford are also making progress as both the new Focus cars finished the second race.
The weather was superb throughout the whole weekend and many spectators camped overnight waiting for the gates to open; official figures reported a clear increase compared to last year's 22,000. The FIA WTCC drivers definitely put on a good show, particularly in the second race as there were vast amounts of overtaking and bumper to bumper moments.
The FIA WTCC will now head to Silverstone for Rounds 5 and 6 on 15th of May.
BEFORE THE START 32 CARS ON THE GRID
Both GR Asia and DB Motorsport teams worked hard to repair Tom Coronel's and Andrea Larini's cars, which had been exstensively damaged in shunt during the morning warm-up. Their efforts made possible to have like in Monza three weeks ago 32 cars on the starting grid for the first race, with only one missing: Frank Diefenbacher's Ford Focus.
RACE 1 JÖRG FROM LIGHTS TO FLAG
Another Müller occupied the top spot of the podium, but this time it was Jörg who won Race 1 at Magny Cours. Jörg started from pole and stayed ahead of the field for the entire race. Fellow BMW driver, Andy Priaulx had a spectacular start, overtaking Augusto Farfus and Rickard Rydell before entering the first corner. The 2004 FIA ETCC title holder did not surrender this advantage and crossed the line in second place 2.882 seconds behind the winner.
Rydell represented SEAT Sport on the podium by finishing third in his SEAT Toledo Cupra after an exciting duel with Gabriele Tarquini's Alfa Romeo. Antonio García, Dirk Müller, Jordi Gené and Farfus filled the other point positions, while
Peter Terting made a daring move on the very last corner of the race to overtake Fabrizio Giovanardi, meaning the rookie German claimed ninth place.
Early in the race Chevrolet's Alain Menu was involved in an incident with Stefano D'Aste which resulted in a premature finish for both; almost at the same time Adam Lacko went off into the gravel trap. Menu's team-mates, Nicola Larini and Robert Huff however, kept team spirits high by finishing 17th and 19th.
Ford Hotfiel Sport are still suffering with difficulties as Thomas Klenke only completed 8 laps of the race due to a contact with another car. His team-mate Thomas Jäger managed all 12 laps and finished 24th. The third Ford in the race, Sascha Plöderl old Focus, retired with a broken driveshaft.
Marc Hennerici continued his success as an independent driver and obtained maximum points by overtaking rival Carl Rosenblad on the penultimate lap. He crossed the line 13th overall. Alessandro Zanardi overcame a gearbox problem that occurred during qualifying to secure his third consecutive win of the Italian Superturismo Championship, finishing 15th overall.
RACE 2 FOUR OF A KIND FOR BMW
BMW have yet again been victorious at Magny-Cours. Not only did they take the race win; the first four to finish were BMW 320i cars. Jörg Müller was first, making it two consecutive wins. The 35 year old German started from 8th on the grid and drove a superb race. After gradually overtaking the seven drivers ahead of him, he edged away and finished just over 5 seconds ahead of the rest. The battle behind provided great entertainment for spectators, with non stop action. In the early stages Augusto Farfus, who had started on pole, took the lead. On lap 4, under pressure from BMW drivers, the young Brazilian made a mistake and went wide dropping to fifth. Dirk Müller inherited the lead, chased by Antonio García, but on lap 5 Jörg Müller managed to overtake both.
Behind the three leaders Andy Priaulx made some impressive manoeuvres to overtake Farfus and García. Finally he had Dirk Müller in his sights but despite many efforts was unable to capture second spot. Dirk finished just 0.168 seconds ahead of Priaulx and caused some drama on the start/finish grid as he spun. Farfus, who was the best placed of the Alfa Romeo drivers with fifth position, could not swerve in time and hit him. SEAT Sport had two drivers in the top 10 with Gene sixth and Terting tenth.
Positive steps have been made by Ford Hotfiel Sport this weekend as round 4 saw both Ford Focus cars crossing the chequered flag for the first time. Thomas Jäger and Thomas Klenke finished 22nd and 23rd respectively. Chevrolet too had an improvement with Nicola Larini moving closer obtaining a top 10 finish. He finished 13th, whilst team-mate Robert Huff was 16th .
Tom Coronel emerged as the winner of the Independents' race in his GR Asia SEAT Toledo Cupra. The Dutchman took 14th place overall just ahead of Carl Rosenblad, while his team-mate Valle Mäkelä's pursuit for points was put to an end after contact was made with Alessandro Zanardi's BMW during a fight for the ledership of the Italian Championship. Proteam Motorsport's Giuseppe Cirò finished the race 18th overall and inherited win in the Italian Supertursimo Championship.
After the race Coronel was excluded, his car failing to compy with the ride height, meaning that Rosenblad was promoted to first of the Independents.