Brands Hatch, 19th July 2009. Thanks to his third win of the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship, BMW Team Germany’s Augusto Farfus (BR) successfully reduced the gap to championship leader Yvan Muller (FR). At Brands Hatch (GB) the 25-year-old won the 16th round of the year. As Farfus’ team-mate Jörg Müller (DE) finished second, BMW was able to celebrate its third one-two finish of the season. Andy Priaulx (GB) of BMW Team UK was BMW driver number three on a podium, after coming third in the first race of the day.
In an eventful race one, Priaulx took the chequered flag behind Chevrolet’s race winner Alain Menu (CH) and Robert Huff (GB). Müller finished sixth and collected three points, while Farfus notched up one point for eighth – and made sure of pole for race two. .The two BMW Team Italy-Spain drivers, Alessandro Zanardi (IT) and Sergio Hernández (ES), however, left Great Britain empty-handed.
As championship front-runner Muller only managed to score two points this weekend, Farfus closed in on the SEAT driver and now lies just six points adrift in third. Between these two, Gabriele Tarquini (IT) is second on 77 points. In the Manufacturers’ Championship BMW also gained ground on SEAT, and is now second with 201 points, just ten points behind the leaders.
Moments before the start of race one’s formation lap a brief rain shower hit the 3.703-kilometre circuit. Fortunately this was the only shower of the morning, and the race started without any delay. Nevertheless, it was just a matter of seconds until the first incident occurred. Farfus was hit by Muller, and dropped back to 24th. While Farfus was about to start an impressive fight back, Priaulx successfully defended his third on the grid. Müller benefited from the turmoil at the start, improving from 13th to eighth.
Towards the end of lap 6 the safety-car was deployed again, after another accident involving several cars had pushed Hernández to the back of the field. At this stage, Priaulx had lost third to Tarquini, while Farfus was running in 20th. Following the re-start, the BMW drivers made up some lost ground: Priaulx gained third back from Tarquini on lap 11, then started to put Huff under pressure. But the local hero couldn’t find a way past his fellow countryman and brought his BMW 320si WTCC home in third. Müller moved up into sixth, Zanardi held 12th after being passed by a storming Farfus, who went on to pass two more cars. When Nicola Larini (IT, Chevrolet) dropped back due to a technical problem, the Brazilian improved to eighth, making sure of a single point and pole position for race two. Hernández crossed the line in 16th.
Thanks to excellent starts the BMW Team Germany pairing laid the foundation for their one-two finish in the second round. Farfus defended his lead, Müller improved from third to second. This order remained unchanged to the chequered flag. Farfus finished 2.061 seconds ahead of his team-mate and celebrated his 12th career victory in the WTCC.
Priaulx was involved in an exciting fight with SEAT’s Tarquini, who he had battle with in race one. Over the course of the complete race he put his rivals under pressure, but couldn’t find a way to get past. Priaulx had to make do with fifth.
Zanardi was running in seventh, when another collision saw him losing several positions. The Italian got sandwiched by Huff and Tiago Monteiro (PT, SEAT), went off the track and ultimately finished 12th again. Hernández worked his way up from 16th place on the grid, but just missed out on points by making it over the line in ninth.
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
“This has been a complicated weekend for me. In race one I got hit and lost a lot of positions. For fractions of a second I thought: That’s it. But then I kept on pushing hard and fortunately made it to eighth. In race two I lead the way along with Jörg Müller, and together we celebrated another one-two finish. This success to a huge degree belongs to my team-mate and the entire crew, who once more did a great job. After the summer break I have to keep on scoring points consistently, in order to keep the title fight open.”
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
“I really wanted a win today and I had a car that was faster than the guys in front in both races. I had some good battles with Rob Huff and Gabriele Tarquini and was faster, but I could just not make any of my moves stick. I tried on many occasions but they defended heavily and it is difficult to overtake round this track. I have the speed this year to win, but if just hasn’t happened to date. Hopefully that will come later in the season.”
Jörg Müller (BMW Team Germany):
“Everyone is trying to get the most of each race for the championship fight. I’m glad that Augusto and I scored the best-possible result for BMW today. My car was just fantastic. Following our good starts I was really confident we would be able to keep the one-two right to the finish. And fortunately that’s exactly what happened.”
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
“After a disappointing first race I managed to work my way into the points’ positions in race two. But then, on lap 10, the track was just too tight for three cars running side by side. It’s a pity as the team deserved to be rewarded with points today.”
Sergio Hernández (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
“The races didn’t favour me. In race one I was involved in a collision which wasn’t my own fault. Then I finished ninth in round two, which is a thankless position as you don’t get points for it. We will work hard during the summer break to come back more competitive in Oschersleben.”