|Rounds 13 and 14 of the World Touring Cars Championship (WTCC) saw an all-out dominance by British racers with Robert Huff and triple WTCC champ Andy Priaulx staking a claim on race wins for the two races held at the Brno Circuit, Czech Republic over the weekend.|
Huff secured his first victory of the season for Chevrolet in the first race, while Priaulx captured a milestone for BMW – the 50th victory in WTCC – in race two.
In Race 1, Huff, starting from pole, claimed a lights-to-flag victory despite a short safety car period interrupting proceedings. The Briton took a commanding lead right from the start and finished ahead of Gabriele Tarquini and team mate Alain Menu.
He commented in post-race, “In Race 1, I managed to stay alongside Tarquini at the start and kept the advantage at first corner, which was crucial. We had prepared the car set-up thinking about the second half of the race, and it did work well. It was hard to defend P1 in the first 3-4 laps, but then it was a little bit easier. After the safety-car period, I could hold the 1-second advantage I had and tried to finish smoothly, preserving the tyres.”
Huff’s victory marks Chevrolet WTCC’s fourth win in the current WTCC season and allows the team to pile up extra points for the Manufacturers’ lead. Menu’s third place also aided the team’s points accumulation.
Race 2 saw a different strategy by the factory teams, particularly Chevrolet and BMW Team RBM. The race was won by Priaulx from fourth on the grid, but more importantly it was in Brno in 2003 Priaulx won for the first time for BMW. BMW Privateer Colin Turkington finished second after holding off the charge from Menu, who obtained his second podium finish at Brno. Race 1 winner Huff managed a decent fourth place in the second race.
Huff could have had a better race 2, but the British driver had a clutch problem at the start of the race. He lost a position and recovered to close up on Menu for several laps, but could not pass him. On the last lap the Briton had a good tussle with Team RBM’s Augusto Farfus where the Brazilian passed Huff at the end of the straight, but the Briton was able to re-pass the Brazilian immediately afterwards on the very last corner. ” I’m really proud of that move! I took fourth and some more good points, which are useful for both the team and myself in the championship,” he said after the race.
With his win at Brno, Priaulx achieved a further milestone for BMW in international touring car racing, with the marque posting its 50th victory in WTCC since 2005. In addition, BMW drivers have crossed the line in a one-two formation no less than 31 times. No other manufacturer has scored more successes in the WTCC than BMW as proven by these statistics; 57 fastest laps, 139 podium places, 667 laps in the lead, and no less than three drivers’ titles and an equal number of manufacturers’ championships between 2005 and 2007.
A total of eight drivers have scored victories for BMW in the WTCC since 2005, with the most successful being Priaulx. To date he has claimed 17 victories, with the first coming in Oschersleben, Germany in 2005. Team mate at BMW Team RBM, Augusto Farfus is next on the listing with 11 victories, followed by Jörg Müller (10 wins), Dirk Müller ( 4), Alessandro Zanardi (4), Félix Porteiro (1), Duncan Huisman (1) and Sergio Hernández (1).
Championship leader Yvan Muller did not score in both races, but remained in the lead of the drivers’ standings on 199 points with Tarquini (who retired in the second race) now just 5 points adrift on 194. Priaulx lies third, only 16 points behind the leader, while Huff’s win in race 1 and fourth in race 2 put him fourth overall. Huff’s consistent finishes and Menu’s podium finishes allow Chevrolet to capitalize more points and to extend their lead in the Manufacturers’ championship.
The championship will resume after the summer break for rounds 15 and 16 at Oschersleben, Germany on 5 September
.1.Yvan Muller 199 pt.
2.Gabriele Tarquini 194 pt.
3.Andy Priaulx 183 pt.
4.Robert Huff 167 pt.
5.Alain Menu 116 pt.
6.Tiago Monteiro 113 pt.
7.Augusto Farfus 109 pt.
8.Tom Coronel 101 pt.
9.Colin Turkington 60 pt.
10.Fredy Barth 45 pt
1.CHEVROLET 445 pt.
2.SEAT Customers Technology 405 pt.
3.BMW 382 pt.