BMW national teams kick off WTCC European season in Valencia.
This weekend the FIA World Touring Car Championship is going to make its first stop on European soil in the 2008 season. The "Circuit de la Comunitat" in Valencia (ES) will be the venue for the fifth and sixth rounds of the season. Following the disappointing races in Mexico about a month ago, the BMW national teams are keen to rejoin the battle for top positions in the two 50-kilometre sprint races.
Four of the five drivers will contest the third race weekend of the year with relatively low handicap weights. The drivers will have to take onboard their BMW 320si WTCC cars the same amount of kilos as they have points' tallies. Consequently, BMW Team UK driver Andy Priaulx (GB) will race with 14 kilograms of success weight, while BMW Team Germany driver Jörg Müller will have to load an additional 11 kilograms. Müller's team-mate, Augusto Farfus (BR), has three kilograms of handicap weight. BMW Team Italy-Spain's Félix Porteiro (ES) will try to excite his home crowds despite being handicapped by nine kilograms. However, his team-mate, Alesando Zanardi (IT), will start without being hampered by any additional weight.
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK):
"I'm confident we shall be able to move closer to our competitors in Valencia than we were in the Mexican rounds. The races in Spain used to be extremely thrilling and action-packed, so they will be entertaining events for the crowds. It is the start of the European season – and I hope it will begin well for us."
Jörg Müller (BMW Team Germany):
"For me, Valencia is a kind of a second home. I'm there very often, particularly when doing my job as a Formula BMW instructor. In the past, Alfa Romeo used to be our toughest competitor on this track. But this year they aren't racing in the WTCC, therefore, I'm more confident about the first round of the European season."
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany):
"In Valencia the handicap weights are usually a key factor. This year things look rather positive for us, as we are much lighter than – for instance – the SEAT Diesel drivers. I've scored just three points to date, but I want to change this in Spain."
Félix Porteiro (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"For me, the races in Spain are the most important ones of the entire season. It's just great to race in front of your family and friends. In winter testing, we found several details on the car we were able to improve specially for this circuit. At the end of the straight top speed will be vital as most of the overtaking takes place there."
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain):
"The venue for the kick off to the European season isn't exactly what you would call a BMW circuit. However, this doesn't mean we can't be successful at Valencia. The qualifying certainly will be difficult, but in the races we should prove to be competitive."