11 March 2007
Curitiba 2007: Farfus leads BMW domination.
BMW have completed their dominance of the 2007 World Touring Car Championship opening round at Curitiba by recording another 1-2-3 finish, albeit with Augusto Farfus this time leading Andy Priaulx and Jorg Muller.
Triumphing on his debut with BMW, Curitiba-born Farfus made the most of a seemingly clear advantage for the 320si over the rest of the field to battle his way to the front of the field by lap three despite starting in sixth place thanks to the reverse grid system.
Priaulx and Muller ensured the Munich marque would complete a whitewash of the podium positions for the second race in succession, with Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini leading the best of the rest in fourth and fifth on a day that is unlikely to dampen SEAT's claims the rules are now too much in BMW's favour.
With the field reverting back to a standing start for the second race, Yvan Muller got a fine getaway from pole position, Alex Zanardi unusually producing a tardy start in his BMW Team Italy-Spain car, so much so that fourth place starting Rob Huff found a gap down the inside. However, Huff seemingly misjudged the length of his Lacetti as he went past and when he attempted to come back across in front of the BMW for a better line into turn one, instead found himself wrapped round the front of Zanardi's car, the Brit spinning away into retirement.
Despite Huff's off, the opening lap avoided the dramas of the first race, Muller holding onto the lead from Farfus, the Brazilian getting a magnificent start and making the most of a cautious first few corners for his rivals to be second by the end of the first lap.
Priaulx and Jorg Muller on the other hand were rather more delayed by Huff's off, getting ahead of Zanardi by the end of the first lap but being bottled up by Tom Coronel, the Dutchman enjoying being able to race his rivals having spent 2006 protecting an Independent's lead.
However, when Priaulx did finally execute a move on the SEAT for fifth he managed to drag Muller and Zanardi through as well, leaving Coronel with nowhere to go but to allow the BMW train to slip through.
At the front Farfus was now in the lead of the race much to the delight of his home fans, executing a relatively simple move on Muller into turn one having lined him up down the straight in a manoeuvre that would be repeated several times by BMW on SEAT as the race progressed.
With Farfus extending his lead, Priaulx and Muller wasted no time in catching the tail of Tarquini and Muller, the two BMWs working together briefly to haul their rivals in. The inevitable occurred on lap nine when Priaulx moved down the inside of Tarquini, the reigning champion taking just another lap to execute an identical pass on Yvan Muller for second. Jorg Muller took just another lap to find his way past his namesake and into third place to leave BMW running 1-2-3 by lap eleven of fourteen.
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