BMW driver Priaulx takes second pole of the year in qualifying thriller. Oschersleben (Germany), 03rd June 2006. In a gripping qualifying session, Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK clinched pole position for the seventh round of the FIA World ...
BMW driver Priaulx takes second pole of the year in qualifying thriller.
Oschersleben (Germany), 03rd June 2006. In a gripping qualifying session, Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK clinched pole position for the seventh round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in the "Motorsport Arena Oschersleben". The 31-year-old set a time of 1:35.661 minutes, thus relegating SEAT's James Thompson (GBR) and Rickard Rydell (SWE) to second and third place respectively. BMW Team Germany's Dirk Muller (GER) was the second-fastest driver of the BMW national teams, posting a lap time of 1:36.335 minutes.
Conditions at the 3.67 kilometre track in the "Magdeburger Borde" were changeable. Just like a fortnight ago at Brands Hatch, the drivers started qualifying on wet tyres. However, over the course of the 30-minute session, the track dried out. As a consequence, lap times rapidly improved in the dying minutes of the session with the cars on slicks. Qualifying was red-flagged three times, with the final interruption happening just 3:16 minutes before the chequered flag. The stage was set for a nail- biting finale following the re-start. All drivers only had one more chance to set a competitive lap time under improved conditions. Despite carrying a handicap of 50 kilograms, Priaulx succeeded in keeping his cool.
"This time, it was no tyre gamble as had been the case at Brands," he said after scoring his second pole position of the season. "Conditions were identical for everybody on the final lap. The final minutes turned out to be really exciting. There were many position changes, and everybody pushed very hard. Fortunately I was able to find a hole in the pack of drivers. Thus, I was able to make full use of the potential of my BMW 320si."
Under the watchful eye of BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen, who followed qualifying on-site, Dirk Muller and his BMW Team Germany team-mate, Jorg Muller (GER), were hampered by the intense traffic on the track during their final efforts. Jorg Muller recorded a personal best of 1:36.648 minutes, taking 11th place. Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) and Marcel Costa (ESP), the driver pairing of BMW Team Italy-Spain, had been among the top ten throughout the session, but fell back at the end of the session. Last year's winner Zanardi also came across a lot of competitors on his last flying lap. He had to make do with 14th place. Following an 'off-track moment' on the decisive lap Costa took 24th position.
A truly positive foundation for a good result at the BMW home match at Oschersleben was laid by Priaulx. Statistics also hint at successful races for the reigning World Touring Car Champion: At the WTCC season opener in Monza, Priaulx succeeded in converting pole position into an undisputed victory. In addition, he had already proved in the past that Oschersleben is a welcome venue for him. Priaulx took two European Touring Car Championship wins in 2003 and 2004, and added a WTCC victory last year. Race one will start at 15:20hrs on Sunday. Another BMW driver had reason to be satisfied with her qualifying performance - however, this time in the ADAC Procar Championship. In a BMW 120d, Claudia Hurtgen (GER) claimed pole. This series will also hold two rounds tomorrow.