Weather gamble in Oschersleben: Three BMW drivers in the top-ten. Oschersleben, 5th September 2009. Changeable weather conditions turned qualifying for round 17 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Oschersleben (DE) into a tyre lottery....
Weather gamble in Oschersleben: Three BMW drivers in the top-ten.
Oschersleben, 5th September 2009. Changeable weather conditions turned qualifying for round 17 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Oschersleben (DE) into a tyre lottery. In the second part of the session the BMW national team drivers opted for wet tyres. However, the track dried out faster than expected. BMW Team Germany's Jorg Muller (DE) was the best-placed BMW driver and had to make do with eighth after setting a lap time of 1:46.249 minutes.
His team-mate, Augusto Farfus (BR), finished ninth in the decisive knockout qualifying session. Alessandro Zanardi (IT) of BMW Team Italy-Spain came tenth and will join the 26-year-old on the fifth row of the grid for the first race on Sunday. SEAT's Gabriele Tarquini (IT) secured pole position. He was among the drivers who set their best times on dry tyres in the final stage of "Q2".
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen commented: "We have seen an exciting qualifying session with changeable weather conditions. In the second half of phase two of qualifying the circuit gradually dried out. As our cars went out on wet tyres and at the end did not have enough time to switch back to slicks, our three drivers only managed to claim eighth, ninth and tenth on the grid."
At the start of qualifying the skies above Oschersleben produced a down pour. Muller and Farfus went into the second phase by finishing third and fourth respectively. Zanardi also managed to advance into "Q2" after clocking the tenth- fastest lap time. His team-mate Sergio Hernandez (ES) and BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GB), however, were eliminated after coming 11th and 15th. As the rain got worse with 12 minutes to go, neither of the two drivers had enough time to improve their lap times. Some more famous names walked away from this "weather gamble" empty-handed: Among them championship leader, Yvan Muller (FR/SEAT), was kicked out of the fight for pole position by finishing 17th.
In the second part the remaining three BMW drivers went out early on wet tyres. However, as the session evolved, all the drivers who had switched to dry tyres proved to have an advantage on the drying track. As a result, the BMW trio dropped back down the timesheets as their competitors improved in the dying moments of the 10-minute session. "Obviously I'm disappointed," said local hero Muller. "We topped the timesheets in free practice, so our car is far better than reflected now by our grid positions. Now I'm in the middle of the pack at the start of race one. I hope to survive the first corner, which is extremely tight."
The 17th race of the FIA World Touring Car Championship will start at 12:50hrs local time (11:50hrs BST) on Sunday, race two will get underway at 15:05hrs (14:05hrs BST).
-credit: bmw sauber