BMW continues 2008 WTCC campaign on difficult territory. Munich, 31st March 2008. This weekend the BMW national teams will contest rounds three and four of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Puebla (MX). At the season opener in Brazil...
BMW continues 2008 WTCC campaign on difficult territory.
Munich, 31st March 2008. This weekend the BMW national teams will contest rounds three and four of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Puebla (MX). At the season opener in Brazil four weeks ago, the quintet of drivers amassed a total of 36 points with their BMW 320si WTCC cars. The goal of the drivers is to increase their tallies at the "Autodromo Miguel E. Abed". However, it's not an easy mission that will greet them in Mexico.
On the one hand, Puebla is located about 2,200 metres above sea level. This causes a loss of engine power which must not be underestimated. This loss, however, is considerably less for competitors running diesel engines due to the different configuration of the engine. On the other hand, four of the five BMW national drivers will carry "success weight" for the first time this year. Andy Priaulx (GB) of BMW Team UK, who is ranked third in the Drivers' Championship, carries 33 kilograms of ballast, while BMW Team Germany's Jorg Muller (DE) will have an additional load of 26 kilograms on his car. Felix Porteiro (ES) of BMW Team Italy-Spain and Muller's team-mate, Augusto Farfus (BR), will carry an additional 14 and three kilos respectively. Alessandro Zanardi (IT) is the sole BMW national team representative who will tackle the Puebla challenge without additional weight.
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"I wish I could say that I was looking forward to the Puebla race as my last visit there in 2006 was slightly coloured by the track itself, but we all had to cope with difficult conditions due to it breaking up. However, I did prove you must never give up as I battled through to seventh position in race two from 18th on the grid, despite being hampered by a full 80 kilos of ballast. The fun of being in a world championship is the different places we visit. I am confident the organizers will have done their best to improve all the facilities."
Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany):
"To date, the Puebla races haven't gone too well for me. I haven't scored a single point there so far. Following a heavy accident in practice, I even couldn't even race in the 2005 event. Therefore, it's quite obvious there are many tracks that I prefer compared to Puebla. However, hopefully I will manage to pick up some points this time."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"Puebla is in many respects a very challenging race track. In the past we had problems with the quality of the track surface. I really hope that the circuit is in a good condition this year. Should that be the case, then the fans can look forward to a thrilling weekend. It is a very tight course, which suits the WTCC cars very well. The banked corner is a particular highlight."
Felix Porteiro (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"In Puebla I'd like to carry on where I left off in Curitiba. I was very happy with sixth and third on the first weekend of the season. I have never been to Puebla, and it has not necessarily been a successful circuit for BMW in the past. However, let's wait and see how the new track surface will affect the balance of power. I am looking forward to it and will do my best."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"After some bad experiences in Mexico, the odds should be in my favour. The short history of our championship shows that Puebla is not suitable ground for our rear- wheel drive BMWs. However, a recent good test in Vallelunga, in which I think we made some progress, makes me feel quite confident. I'm not aiming for a win, but to leave the track on Sunday night with some championship points would definitely please me."
History and Background:
Augusto Farfus is the only current BMW driver who has tasted victory in Puebla. As an Alfa Romeo driver he was second in race one and won race two back in 2006. To date, Andy Priaulx has scored three points in Mexico. For Felix Porteiro it will be his maiden visit to the 3.240-kilometre track.
Puebla, the capital city of the state with the same name, has a population of approximately 1.5 million. The defining event in the town's history was the Battle of Puebla", during which a French expedition corps attempted to invade the town on 5th May 1862. After local farmers were able to drive back the French army, 5th May became a Mexican national holiday. Because of its impressive colonial architecture, Puebla was named an official UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
>From the city of Puebla it is possible to see the two Central American twin volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. With a height of 5,462 meters, Popocatepetl, which is also called El Popo", towers over its majestic neighbour by 176 metres. Located 15 kilometres outside Puebla are the city of Cholula and the Tepanapa pyramid. Based on its volume, it is the largest building of its kind in the world.
As part of its international cultural commitment, BMW is again supporting the "Festival de Mexico", which will be staged from 10th to 24th April in the country's capital, Mexico City. This important cultural event, which was first held in 1985, annually attracts over one million visitors, while 1,300 artists from around the globe take part. BMW has partnered the festival since 1996. Musicians, dancers and actors turn the capital city into a gigantic stage.
Both WTCC races will be run over 16 laps, which is an overall distance of 51.84 kilometres. The first race will begin on Sunday at 12:20hrs local time (19:20hrs BST), race two starts at 15:20hrs (22:20hrs BST). The drivers will have the opportunity to become acquainted with the track during a 30-minute Friday test session. Both races will be broadcast live on Eurosport International and on the official BMW Motorsport website.