Valencia (Spain), 08th October 2006. BMW Team Germany's JÃ¶rg MÃ¼ller (GER) claimed victory in the 18th round of the FIA World Touring Car championship. While the 37-year-old secured his third win of the season, BMW Team Italy-Spain driver Duncan...
Valencia (Spain), 08th October 2006. BMW Team Germany's Jörg Müller (GER) claimed victory in the 18th round of the FIA World Touring Car championship. While the 37-year-old secured his third win of the season, BMW Team Italy-Spain driver Duncan Huisman (NLD) and BMW privateer Luca Rangoni (ITA) made for a cleansweep on the podium by crossing the line in second and third places respectively. In race one, Rangoni delivered a remarkable performance at the wheel of his of Proteam Motorsport BMW 320si WTCC, finishing second, behind winning Alfa Romeo driver Augusto Farfus (BRA).
Andy Priaulx (GBR) of BMW Team UK retired in round one, but fought his way up to eighth place in the second race. The Guernsey-born driver now has 59 points under his belt and holds second place in the Drivers' Championship, one point behind Farfus, the new leader. Thanks to his victory, Jörg Müller jumped to third place in the rankings, having equal points with Priaulx. Meanwhile, his team-mate, Dirk Müller (GER), scored two points in Valencia. With 53 points to his tally, he is among the nine drivers who still have the chance to secure the title. In the Manufacturers' Championship, BMW (221 points) has regained the lead from SEAT, and leads this classification by ten points, with two more WTCC rounds to be contested.
Race one was over for Priaulx right at the start. Entering turn 1 of the "Circuit de la Comunitat", the reigning Touring Car World Champion collided with SEAT's Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), went off and re-entered the track backwards. He subsequently hit Chevrolet driver Robert Huff (GBR) and damaged his car. Both drivers were forced to retire. Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) of BMW Team Italy-Spain also suffered bad luck. Following a fight with a rival driver, the 39-year-old went off into the gravel and rejoined at the back of the field. Rangoni, however, experienced a far more positive race. At the end of the safety car period caused by Priaulx' first-corner incident, the BMW private driver was running in fourth position. Jörg Müller had improved to seventh place, while Huisman held ninth position. Dirk Müller delivered the biggest chase: From 22nd place he worked his way up to 12th. On lap 5, Race leader Jordi Gené (ESP) had to stop for a drive-through penalty due to a jumped start. All BMW drivers consequently gained one position. Jörg Müller passed Alain Menü (SUI) on lap eight, but lost fifth place on the final lap to Peter Terting (GER). Following an intense fight with Yvan Muller (FRA), James Thompson (GBR) and Tarquini, Dirk Müller finished 11th. Zanardi moved up into 15th position, while Huisman took the chequered flag in seventh place, thus scoring points for the second time this year and securing a first-row grid position for race 2. Jörg Müller, who finished sixth, started from third position on the grid due to the reversed grid regulation.
The BMW pairing succeeded in making full use of its promising grid positions. Huisman passed Menü for the lead, while Jörg Müller also overtook the Chevrolet driver. The other BMW drivers also gained some ground at the start. Dirk Müller improved from 11th to eighth place. He was running in sixth place, when he lost two positions on a dramatic final lap. However, he launched a counter-attack on Menü and got past again, crossing the line in seventh. Priaulx started an impressive chase. After a number of spectacular overtaking manoeuvres he crossed the line in eighth position, scoring one point. Zanardi was involved in various wheel-to-wheel duels in the middle of the pack, however, he failed to improve. After 13 laps, he had to make do with 17th place. At the front, however, Huisman and Jörg Müller were in total control of the race, with Rangoni running in third. Towards the end of race, Huisman tyres lost some grip, enabling Jörg Müller the chance to pass the 34-year-old which he did on lap 12, thus securing victory.
Over the course of the WTCC weekend, 59,000 spectators followed the action at the "Circuit de la Comunitat". As was the case last year, Macau will see the two decisive rounds of the championship on 19th November.
Duncan Huisman (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"This is a great result for BMW Team Italy-Spain in our home event. Valencia is not my favourite track, which happens to be Macau. But the car was very good here. I didn't want to risk anything when Jörg tried to overtake me, as I'm not fighting for the title. I will now try to score maximum points in Macau, in order to help BMW win the Manufacturers' title".