Priaulx concludes first half of WTCC season with podium finish for BMW
Andy Priaulx (GB) successfully reduced the gap to the leaders in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. At the "Circuito do Estoril" the BMW Team UK driver claimed third in the second race of the day, while in race one the 33-year-old finished sixth. BMW Team Italy-Spain's Félix Porteiro (ES) also had a satisfying Sunday by finishing eighth and fourth respectively. SEAT drivers Rickard Rydell (SE) and Tiago Monteiro (PT) notched up the two victories at the Portuguese track.
Jörg Müller (DE) added two points to BMW Team Germany's tally by crossing the finish line of race two in seventh. His team-mate, Auguto Farfus (BR), however, retired from the first race following a collision. In the second race he moved up to tenth from 20th on the grid. Alessandro Zanardi (IT) finished 20th and 13th for BMW Team Italy-Spain. In the drivers' classification, Priaulx remains the best-placed BMW driver with 43 points. Championship leader Gabriele Tarquini (IT) left Estoril empty-handed, still with 58 points under his belt. In the Manufacturers' Championship, BMW is second with 135 points.
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"I am happy I got the most that was possible out of the car. We had a couple of tough races, and it is good to be back on the podium. I have closed the gap to the points' leader. Now I shall focus on Brands Hatch, which is next on the calendar. This is a weekend to really look forward to."
Félix Porteiro (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"Going home with six points is very good for me. I knew it would be hard to keep Tiago Monteiro in the SEAT diesel behind me in the second race. Towards the end of the race I had to cope with brake problems, which was the reason for me losing two positions just before the chequered flag. But overall I'm happy."
Jörg Müller (BMW Team Germany):
"Just after the start of race one there were four cars side by side. Unfortunately it was me on the outside – and I turned out to be the one who suffered. You don't really want to finish ninth in round one of a WTCC weekend. In the second race our performance was good, but better than seventh was impossible to achieve."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"I'm deeply disappointed leaving Estoril with zero-points. Our performance was really good during the whole weekend. But my hopes for a strong result were buried as early as the start of the first race."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"Despite the handicap weight I carried this weekend we were able to match the lap time of the other BMW drivers. The crucial factor was again my qualifying performance. If you start from the middle of the pack it's more likely you will be involved in a collision, and in my case this is what happened today."