BMW national teams conclude European WTCC season in Monza. Munich, 29th September 2008. This weekend, Monza (IT) hosts the final event of the FIA World Touring Car Championship's European leg. The BMW national team drivers face a huge challenge...
BMW national teams conclude European WTCC season in Monza.
Munich, 29th September 2008. This weekend, Monza (IT) hosts the final event of the FIA World Touring Car Championship's European leg. The BMW national team drivers face a huge challenge if they are to improve their positions in the championship ahead of the last four overseas races of the year. In 2007 the BMW 320si WTCC had a massive disadvantage compared to the competition using diesel engines on Monza's long straights. It is expected to be the same this year.
Following the difficult race weekend in Imola (IT), the handicap weights of the BMW drivers can be calculated using a simple formula: Apart from BMW Team Germany's Jorg Muller (DE), who will be carrying 62 kilograms in the two sprint races, all the BMW aces will have exactly the same number of kilos on board as their respective number of points. Therefore, BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GB) races with 55 extra kilograms, while Muller's team-mate, Augusto Farfus (BR), carries 46 additional kilograms. BMW Team Italy-Spain drivers Felix Porteiro (ES) and Alessandro Zanardi (IT) contest the event with 50 and 29 kilograms of extra weight respectively.
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"I like Monza as it is a great track with lots of history. I also gave the BMW 320si WTCC its first win there. I know the weekend is not going to be easy for any of us, but that doesn't mean I won't be driving as hard as I can. I shall never give up on this championship until I know without any doubt I cannot win it."
Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):
"When we travelled to Imola, we didn't have high hopes of a good result. But then I walked away with nine points in the bag. Who knows, maybe we will achieve something comparable in Monza. However, this won't be an easy task. On the long straights, especially, the SEAT diesels will once again benefit from their extra power."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"I like the circuit because of its tradition. However, it's not really challenging for us drivers. Compared to Imola I have got less weight in the car - and I hope this will pay off on the ultra-long straights. In 2006 I claimed victory in the Royal Park, but it will be really difficult to repeat this."
Felix Porteiro (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"I have fully recovered from my Imola accident. The neck pain I suffered after hitting Gabriele Tarquini's car soon gave way to disappointment about having to leave the track empty-handed. In Monza I want to be successful again and score some good points for BMW."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"I really like the Monza circuit, although I wouldn't call it my favourite. Especially with touring cars, we spend too much time down the straights where drivers cannot effect the performance of the car other than drafting each other. In the other end, it's exiting to challenge your rivals in the braking areas."
History and Background:
Since 2001 Monza has been on the schedules of the European and World Touring Car Championship every year except one: in 2002 the Italian ETCC event took place in Pergusa. Three times (in 2001, 2004 and 2005) the "Autodromo Nazionale di Monza" has been the venue for the opening race of the season, and in 2003 it provided the backdrop for the European Championship title ceremony.
For BMW, Monza has been the setting for Jorg Muller's two victories in the European Touring Car Championship and for two WTCC triumphs. In 2006, the track also hosted a very special occasion involving Andy Priaulx: in the opening race of the day he took the BMW 320si WTCC out for its competition debut, claimed pole position and was the front runner with a lights to finish win in race one.
Last year, the diesel-powered SEAT cars stamped their authority on the Monza event: Yvan Muller (FR) and Jordi Gene (ES) claimed the two victories. Only Augusto Farfus and Alessandro Zanardi managed to secure points for BMW.
The history of the race track goes back to 1922, since when it has undergone repeated modifications with the aim of reducing its speed. 1935 saw the first chicanes set up, and in 1950 two banked curves were built, which have since crumbled. At one stage the circuit was ten kilometres long. Since the 1000-kilometre Monza race in 1967 the oval, which formed part of the original track layout, has fallen into disuse.
Since the official launch of Formula One in 1950, this circuit inside a high-walled park has hosted more GPs than any other venue. 2008 saw the 58th Formula One race to be staged there. In a wet race, Robert Kubica (PL) secured third for the BMW Sauber F1 Team.
After the "Guia Circuit" in Macau, the "Autodromo Nazionale di Monza" is the second-longest track on this year's WTCC race calendar. The two races require drivers to complete nine laps of the 5.770-kilometre track before the chequered flag is waived. This represents a total distance of 51.93 kilometres.
WTCC's European season ends in Monza. The final four races of the year will take place in Okayama (JP) and Macau (CN). Right after the two races in Italy, the team's equipment will be loaded into containers to starts its journey to Asia by truck and freight ship.
The town of Monza in Lombardy is just over half an hour's drive from Milan. Monza has a population of over 120,000 and since 11th June 2004 has been the official capital of the newly created province of Monza and Brianza.
The first round will start on Sunday at 12:20hrs CEST (11:20hrs BST), the second at 15:50hrs CEST. The two races will be covered by both Eurosport International on TV and the World Wide Web at the official BMW Motorsport website, www.bmw- motorsport.com. On Saturday from 17:00hrs, the BMW national team drivers will be available for media interviews in the BMW Hospitality.
Facts and Figures:
Circuit / Date Autodromo Nazionale di Monza / 5th October 2008
Lap / Distance 5,770 km / 51,93 km (9 Runden)
Race 1: Yvan Muller (SEAT)
Race 2: Jordi Gene (SEAT)
Pole position 2007 Yvan Muller (SEAT), 1:59.487 minutes
Fastest laps 2007
Race 1: Jordi Gene (SEAT), 2:00.864 minutes
Race 2: James Thompson (Alfa Romeo), 2:01.055 minutes