BMW WIN SECOND SUCCESSIVE MANUFACTURERS’ TITLE
19 September 2004
The title celebrations did not have to wait until the end of the weekend as a win for Andy Priaulx (BMW Team Great Britain) and third for Dirk Müller (BMW Team Deutschland) in race one secured the prestigious title.
This was not the only success for BMW over the weekend as Dirk was second in race two, moving him into a twelve point lead in the drivers’ table over Andy, with Jörg Müller (BMW Team Deutschland) third ensuring only a BMW driver can win the Drivers’ Championship. Meanwhile Tom Coronel lifted the Independents Trophy after winning the class in race one in his Carly Motors BMW 320i. This has also given the Dutch Carly Motors team its second successive title.
BMW Motorsport Director, Dr Mario Theissen, spent the weekend with the BMW national teams and said afterwards. “The Manufacturers’ title is of utmost importance to us. Obviously the drivers enjoy their championship much more and I am happy that we have effectively clinched both here, even if we don’t know which of our drivers will win the title. It has been a great day for BMW and BMW Motorsport. I should not forget Tom Coronel, who clinched the Independents title today and Claudia Hurtgen, who won the German Production Car Championship race. It could not have been better. It was two good races, even if sometimes tougher than I would have liked it to be. The Championship is on its way to becoming even stronger with the World Championship next year, and we can really look forward to something very interesting.”
While BMW was in celebratory mood, Dr Theissen, also congratulated SEAT who took their first ever win in the Championship. It was the Swede Rickard Rydell who took the win in race two. The weekend proved a disappointment for Alfa Romeo as their only driver to make it to the podium was Augusto Farfus Jr, who was second in race one and third in race two.
Andy was very happy with his win, but not with his second race where he felt a clash with the Alfa Romeo of Augusto Farfus, that put him out of the race, could have been avoided by the Brazilian. He is also realistic about the twelve point gap between him and Dirk: “Realistically I don’t think I can win the championship. However, you can have a lot of bad luck in one of the races and then go on to win the other. My goal now is to win every race and we will see what happens with the championship. It is very positive BMW has it wrapped up, and if it is not me who wins then hopefully next year I can have another go at the championship.”
However, Championship leader, Dirk, did not believe he could consider the title as his own and write off Andy’s chances yet. “It is quite comfortable to go Dubai with a big lead, but we need to push as anything can happen in these races as we saw with Taruini today when he had a problem with his car. I have a twelve point lead but there are twenty to fight for,” he said.
Andy Priaulx did exactly what he said he would. He got the perfect start and went on to score a win. Behind him things were not so straight forward, despite the fact the positions were not changing as many drivers had championship results rather than race results at the forefront of their minds. Gabriele Tarquini’s challenge disappeared on lap five when his Alfa Romeo came to a halt on the side of the track with smoke and flames coming out of the engine compartment while he was in third. This left Augusto Farfus to fend off Dirk Müller, who was also being caught by Fabrizio Giovanardi’s Alfa and Jörg Müller. This battle was settled when Giovanardi ran into the back of Dirk’s car and earned himself an immediate thrive through penalty from the Stewards. Dirk lost a couple of places but was able to make it back to third by the end of the race. Tom Coronel had a good start and so was able to lead the Independents class with his main rival Salvatore Tavano (Alfa Romeo) second. Antonio Garcia (BMW Team Italy-Spain) started from the back of the grid after an engine change, but his car was performing really well and so he was able to get up to ninth. Sadly his team mate, Alex Zanardi, didn’t have a good race as he had a clutch problem at the start and then, after a collision with the Alfa of Michele Bartyan, suffered a puncture. Despite a pit stop for a new tyre he eventually retired, as the car did not handle properly after that.
Tom Coronel started race two from pole with the SEAT of Rickard Rydell beside him. He was not able to keep the Swede at bay for very long and so not far into the first lap Rickard took the lead he never relinquished. Andy Priaulx had a bad start to his race as a coming together with Augusto Farfus, who was on the outside into the first corner, ended with Andy’s car being hit and his right front tyre being punctured. This was not the only collision of the race, as Jörg Müller and Alfa’s James Thompson, had several comings together on lap five. After the first of these Jörg didn’t realise he had a puncture and only realised this when he went to brake for the next corner and then could not avoid steering into Thompson, after which he retired. Meanwhile Antonio Garcia and Tom Coronel also had a collision on lap seven, which saw the Spaniard retire with broken steering. Dirk was able to work his way through the field and avoid the collisions, but knew the SEAT was out of reach unless he wanted to jeopardise valuable championship points.
BMW Team Deutschland – Schnitzer Motorsport
No 42 – Jörg Müller (GER) Qual 12th – Race 1 – 4th – Race 2 – DNF – 5 kilos ballast
No 43 – Dirk Müller (GER) Qual 4th – Race 1 – 3rd – Race 2 – 2nd – 30 kilos ballast
BMW Team Great Britain – RBM
No 11 – Andy Priaulx (GBR) Qual 2nd – Race 1 – 1st – Race 2 – DNF – 5 Kilos ballast
BMW Team Italy-Spain – Ravaglia Motorsport
No 4 – Alex Zanardi (ITA) Qual 16th – Race 1 – DNF – Race 2 – 14th
No 5 – Antonio Garcia (ESP) Qual 28th (due to engine change put to back of grid from 13th) – Race 1 – 9th – Race 2 – DNF
BMW Privateer Teams
Carly Motors – No 20 – Tom Coronel (NLD) Qual 11th – Race 1 – 8th – Race 2 – 4th
Carly Motors – No 26 – Duncan Huisman (NLD) Qual 10th – Race 1 – 10th – Race 2 – 10th
Crawford Racing – No 27 – Carl Rosenblad (SWE) Qual 15th – Race 1 – 12th – Race 2 – 7th
1. BMW 253
2. Alfa Romeo 192
3. SEAT 86