Pau: BMW qualifying report

BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx claims his first pole position in 2009. Pau, 16th May 2009. In qualifying for round seven of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Pau (FR), BMW Team UK driver Andy Priaulx (GB) secured pole position. Setting a lap...

BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx claims his first pole position in 2009.

Pau, 16th May 2009. In qualifying for round seven of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Pau (FR), BMW Team UK driver Andy Priaulx (GB) secured pole position. Setting a lap time of 1:22.462 minutes, the triple world champion relegated BMW Team Germany's Augusto Farfus (BR) and SEAT driver Tom Coronel (NL) to second and third respectively. For Priaulx this is his first pole since the 2006 Macau race weekend and the fifth of his WTCC career. In Puebla (MX) Priaulx and Farfus also shared the front row of the grid, but in reverse order.

Apart from Priaulx and Farfus, a further four BMW drivers went through into the decisive top-ten qualifying at the "Circuit de Pau Ville". Jorg Muller (DE) from BMW Team Germany came fourth, BMW Team Italy-Spain's Sergio Hernandez (ES) finished eighth. The two BMW privateer drivers, Felix Porteiro (ES) and Franz Engstler (DE), rounded off the excellent BMW overall result by taking ninth and tenth on the grid.

"It has been a long time since I was on pole," commented Priaulx, who had been beaten narrowly by Chevrolet's Robert Huff (GB) in "Q1". "This success is really important for us. Like every street track, it is all about having confidence in braking and just getting the best out of the car without too many risks, but here there are always going to be risks. I was pretty much a free spirit in the car and I just wanted to drive a good lap with no mistakes, although I did make a small one on that lap."

Farfus, who was just 11 thousandths of a second slower than Priaulx, said: "This is a very small gap - but it's still enough for me not to start from pole! Nevertheless I'm really happy with this result. We didn't expect to be up in front. Due to my strong races here in the past, everyone expects another success from me. But there's still a long way to go. Our grid position is excellent, now we have to wait and see what tomorrow's races will bring."

As early as the first qualifying session the BMW drivers were able to demonstrate their competitiveness. Next to Priaulx, Muller and Farfus were third and fourth, Hernandez also qualified for "Q2", for the second time since Puebla (MX). His team- mate Alessandro Zanardi (IT), however, was unlucky: First, an accident in the early stages of first free practice cost him valuable track time, then he was pushed out of the top-ten with just a few seconds to go in the first qualifying phase.

Five minutes before the end Farfus took the lead, but Priaulx launched a counter- attack, setting the fastest time of the day. Muller was particularly quick in the first sector, but ultimately was unable to challenge his fellow BMW drivers for the top positions. "I just didn't manage to put in a perfect lap," said the 39-year-old. "Maybe I was a bit too careful. From the second row, however, everything is possible."

The seventh race of the FIA World Touring Car Championship will start at 13:05hrs local time (12:05hrs BST) on Sunday, race two will get underway at 15:20hrs (14:20hrs BST).

-credit: bmw

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Tom Coronel , Jorg Muller , Augusto Farfus , Sergio Hernandez , Felix Porteiro