BMW Team Germany scores points at WTCC debut in Morocco. Marrakech, 3rd May 2009. BMW Team Germany added some points to its tally in rounds five and six of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in Marrakech (MA). In race one at the...
BMW Team Germany scores points at WTCC debut in Morocco.
Marrakech, 3rd May 2009. BMW Team Germany added some points to its tally in rounds five and six of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in Marrakech (MA). In race one at the "Ciruit de Marrakech" it was Jorg Muller (DE) who scored one point by finishing eighth, with Chevrolet's Robert Huff (GB) emerging as the winner. Starting from pole position, Muller was fourth in race two. His team-mate Augusto Farfus (BR) finished 12th and sixth respectively. BMW private driver Franz Engstler (DE) had a satisfying afternoon, as by finishing eighth in race two he scored a championship point. The second round was won by Nicola Larini (IT, Chevrolet).
The first FIA World Championship races on Moroccan soil since 1958 were less successful for the other BMW national team drivers. BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GB) missed a points' finish in race one after crossing the line tenth and had to retire in the second race of the day. BMW Team Italy-Spain driver Sergio Hernandez (ES) did not finish the race either, coming 14th in race one. His team-mate Alessandro Zanardi (IT) wasn't able to start race two, after suffering substantial damage to his car's cooler, which meant an engine change.
In the Drivers' Championship Farfus stays the best-placed BMW driver. With 23 points under his belt, the 25-year-old is fifth. SEAT's Yvan Muller (FR) is still top with 43 points. In the manufacturers' standings, BMW holds second with 64 points, while SEAT is again in the lead, having scored 93 points to date.
Following race two BMW Team Germany filed a protest on behalf of the BMW national teams against the four SEAT Leon TDI cars that started this race. The protest is aimed at receiving clarification of the technical regulations regarding the precise definition of the maximum boost pressure of 2.5 bar in turbo-diesel engines. Therefore the results remain suspended pending the technical checks of the concerning cars.
Apart from a safety-car phase at the start, when Rickard Rydell (SE) crashed his SEAT into the wall, the first race at the extremely narrow track went without further interruptions - and without many overtaking manoeuvres. Because of this, Muller's good start meant he was able to defend his eighth grid position to the line, and secure pole position for race two. Priaulx lost one place at the start and came home in tenth, while Farfus improved from 13th to 12th. Hernandez made the biggest progress, gaining five places to eventually finish 14th. Zanardi was involved in a collision, which saw his car heavily damaged, forcing the Italian to retire on lap four. The damage to his cooler prevented him from competing in the second race of the day.
Muller shot off well from pole position in race two and fended off attacks from the opposition for a remarkable period. On lap nine, however, he could now longer defend his lead from Larini, who was running in a much lighter Chevrolet car. Muller and Huff also managed to get past him. Muller held on to fourth until the end of the race, thus taking five points home to Europe. His team-mate Farfus had an excellent start, improving from 12th to seventh. When Alain Menu (CH, Chevrolet) slowed down on lap five, the Brazilian gained another position, which he kept until the chequered flag. Engstler also put in a flawless performance, recording victory in the Independents' Trophy and one championship point by coming eighth. Hernandez had to retire after an accident, which caused another safety-car phase in the early stages of the race. Priaulx didn't make it to the line either, as he had to pit on lap 12 due to brake problems.
Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):
"This is the best result possible today. Our rivals had a clear advantage on this track. It was just a matter of time before Larini would pass me. He pushed me slightly off line. If this happens on a track like this, the tyres instantly pick up dirt, making it impossible to accelerate smoothly out of the corner. That's why other cars managed to overtake me as well. I fought as long as I could - and this was good fun!"
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"In race two it was just important not to risk too much in order to safely score at least a few points. Having a bad qualifying on such a track, where overtaking is virtually impossible, means you cannot expect any miracles during the races. Thanks to a good start I moved up from 12th to sixth, which is a positive result. The gap to the front-runners, however, was just too big."
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"We just weren't competitive enough here. In the first race I was not in a position to attack, but was just defending. In the second my problems got even bigger, when I had troubles with my brakes. This was a weekend to forget."
Sergio Hernandez (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"I want to leave this weekend behind as quickly as possible. In race two I was taken out by a competitor, which reflects this entire weekend. I will now focus on the next races in Pau. I will push hard and hope we will be much stronger there."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"In the first race I was hit by several cars and never got into my rhythm. But that's racing. In one incident my cooler was damaged, which forced me into retirement. The engineers changed the engine, but there just wasn't enough time to get the car ready for race two."