After a two-week gap WTCC takes the BMW national teams to Pau.
This weekend, the BMW national team drivers contest the first street races of the FIA World Touring Car championship season. The "Circuit de Pau Ville" in France will be the venue of this year's second European WTCC event. The first two rounds on European soil were held last week at Valencia (ES). Just a fortnight after the Pau races, the season will continue in Brno (CZ).
In the second of three events staged within four weeks, BMW Team Germany driver, Jörg Müller (DE), takes the highest handicap weight on board his car. Having finished fifth and fourth in Spain, the German is sixth in the championship and will be handicapped by 35 kilograms. BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx (GB), currently fifth in the drivers' ranking, will have to cope with 27 extra kilos. The success weights for BMW Team Italy-Spain driver, Félix Porteiro (ES), and Müller's team-mate, Augusto Farfus (BR), are obviously lower: nine and three kilograms respectively. Alessandro Zanardi (IT) goes into the races for BMW Team Italy-Spain without any ballast.
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"Considering our results in the previous events, I hope we shall be able to turn the tables in Pau. And I'm confident, as I shall travel to France with clearly less handicap weight on board my car than I had last year. Overtaking in Pau is really difficult. Therefore, a good grid position is particularly important there."
Jörg Müller (BMW Team Germany):
"For me, last year's races in Pau didn't run as well as I had hoped they would. However, I still love this track – as I do every street circuit. On top of that, I won the Formula 3000 round held there in 1996. In several of the corners on this circuit you have to drive over extremely high curbs. That's a peculiarity you hardly find on any other street track."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"This circuit definitely is one of my favourite venues. It's like a mini version of Monaco's Formula One circuit. Pau also gives you the feeling you are staying at a very special location. Having made it to the podium last year – despite rolling the car in qualifying – was a unique experience."
Félix Porteiro (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"In Pau last year I drove in my maiden WTCC race on a street circuit – and made it into the points at my first attempt. In the second race I was even in reach of a podium finish. After my disappointing home races in Spain, I'm quite happy with the rather short break between the two events."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"The second race in Pau last year was fun. From the back of the grid I managed to improve lap by lap. However, I finished in the thankless ninth position. The same as on all street circuits, overtaking is difficult in France. But there are some sections of the track where it's worth having a try."