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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Touring Car Round Up

Watching the highlights of the FIA WTCC on Eurosport's website, I'd say I missed a cracking race. One wonders why Eurosport did not elect to show more of the on track action on their short videos. Much of it was devoted to interviews with the drivers. Nevertheless the BMW Team Deutschland racked up pole position and the first race with Dirk Muller. The Alfa Romeos of Tarquini and Augusto Farfus in close attendance in second and third. The first 10 finishers in race 1 were covered by only 9 seconds. Monza with its long fast straights saw plenty of slip streaming action. Dirk Muller in the post race interview spoke of having holes on all corners of his BMW 320i from all the argy bargy that happened.

The WTCC regulations are such that the first 8 finishers of race 1 will start race 2 in reverse order at the head of the field. This placed race 1 winner Dirk Muller in 8th. Rikard Rydell driving the SEAT Cupra started from pole position after coming in 8th in race 1. James Thompson, reigning BTCC champion who finished 7th in race 1 completed the front row of the grid in race 2.

Again, another cracking race with Alfa Romeos and BMWs all getting pushed and shoved and some even into the gravel. Pole man Rydell was pushed into the gravel by Augusto Farfus after holding his own against the Beemers and Alfas. In the end James Thompson won the race for Alfa Romeo but Dirk Muller made his way up to finish second for BMW. Antonio Garcia of BMW Team Italy-Spain finished in third. Again the highlights on Eurosport saw some massive battles among the leaders. The chequered flag saw the top 9 finishers finishing in close order, slip streaming down the main straight.

Other notable mentions include Chevrolet who had a torrid time. Former BTCC champion Alain Menu finishing in 22nd in race 1 beaten by teammate Robert Huff. Former Ferrari and Sauber driver Nicola Larini in another Chevrolet Lacetti finished even further back in 24th. In qualifying the Chevrolets were over 3 seconds down on pole man Dirk Muller. Alain Menu, twice BTCC champion will want to put that in order as soon as possible.

Full official results of Round 1 of the WTCC can be found here.

Well, here's hoping I manage to catch a repeat on satellite sometime, probably a few weeks from now.

This weekend sees the season opener of the DTM at Hockenheim. We look forward to the return of one Mika Hakkinen. Word is that his return came really at the behest of Norbert Haug, hoping to add some speed to the Mercedes team after being beaten Audi last year. Mika though has not been particularly quick during recent official testing at Monza and Spa. Mika himself admitting that it will take time to adjust to the demands of these big heavy saloons. The Opel team particularly in the hands of Heinz Harald Frentzen has been setting the pace at both these venues. All in all I expect the DTM to be a close, if testing is anything to go by. Whilst the Opel Vectras look to be on top of their game, things are close between Mercedes and Audi, who are now running their new A4. An unknown quantity for this year's DTM will be the MG team from Britain. They've missed the official tests to concentrate on completing their new cars.

I just wish I could catch touring action live. Hopefully, bloody Eurosport will fix their live streaming. In the meantime... I wonder if anyone's got WTCC videos on bit torrent.

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