Okayama: BMW Motorsport qualifying report

BMW drivers Priaulx and Muller narrowly miss out on pole position. Okayama, 31st October 2009. In qualifying for round 21 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GB) and Jorg Muller (DE) of BMW Team Germany missed...

BMW drivers Priaulx and Muller narrowly miss out on pole position.

Okayama, 31st October 2009. In qualifying for round 21 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GB) and Jorg Muller (DE) of BMW Team Germany missed out on pole position by fractions of a second. Priaulx set a lap time of 1:37.716 minutes to finish second, just 0.050 seconds behind SEAT's Gabriele Tarquini (IT), who will start the first of the two races on Sunday from first place. Muller on his part was only one hundredth of a second slower than his fellow BMW driver. He will start from third on the grid.

Augusto Farfus (BR), who is the only BMW driver still in with a chance of winning the drivers' title, came fifth for BMW Team Germany. Sergio Hernandez (ES), however, was eliminated in the first phase of qualifying after finishing 11th. Alessandro Zanardi (IT), also racing for BMW Team Italy-Spain, also missed "Q2" and set the 16th-fastest lap.

"This has been a tough qualifying," said Priaulx. "I don't know how often I have missed pole position by only a small margin this year. But of course it's great to start up front. In free practice I wasn't happy with my car, but the changes we made before qualifying worked well. If it rains on Sunday, as predicted, we will see two complicated races. I want to finish the season on a high and score maximum points tomorrow."

Priaulx finished third in "Q1", easily advancing into the second part. Farfus came eighth and also made it into the top-ten shoot-out. Fastest man of the first 20- minute session, however, was Muller. He said: "On my decisive flying lap I hit some traffic. All the cars let me go past, but still this possibly cost me some time. My car was perfect from the very beginning here in Okayama. This helps to get you into a good rhythm, in order to make the most of it. I will give my all tomorrow to support BMW in the title fight."

Farfus, currently ranked third in the Drivers' Championship, was not satisfied with his qualifying result, but still hopes for two successful races on Sunday. The Brazilian commented: "Obviously it was our goal to be in pole position, just as was the case last year. But we are still in the game. Should the rain really come on Sunday, it might shake up the whole field. Twenty-eight race laps are ahead of us - and I'm fired up to gain some ground."

The 21st race of the FIA World Touring Car Championship will start at 13:55hrs local time (4:55hrs BST) on Sunday, race two will get underway at 16:05hrs (7:05hrs BST).

-credit: bmw

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Jorg Muller , Augusto Farfus , Sergio Hernandez , Gabriele Tarquini