17 June 2007
Brno 2007: Muller completes BMW's day.
Jorg Muller underlined the authority of the 320si in the second World Touring Car race of the day at Brno, the German leading team-mates Augusto Farfus and Felix Porteiro for another all-BMW podium.
Having seen the Geman manufacturer lock out the top four positions in the first race, not even the advent of a reverse grid was able to give Chevrolet or SEAT a chance to spoil BMW's dominant day.
A more entertaining affair than the first race, partly due to the rise of the BMWs from fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth on the grid, it was Alain Menu who converted his pole position into an early lead, the traditionally strong BMW start not as evident from the off today.
Nonetheless, the gaggle of 3-Series' are equally as strong in the first few bends and it did not take long for Menu and Gabriele Tarquini to quickly be placed under pressure by Alex Zanardi, Farfus and Muller, the trio having been helped by a tardy Nicola Larini getaway and Yvan Muller's failure to make the grid.
However, while Zanardi was on the move, he already knew on the drive up to the grid that he would be forced to serve a stop-go penalty for an unknown reason, making his fight to the front somewhat futile.
Nevertheless, the Italian was charging regardless, getting past Tarquini and then diving down the inside of Menu for the lead on lap two when the Swiss driver ran wide at turn seven. However, in Menu's attempts to sweep back across for the next right hander, he instead clipped the back of the passing Zanardi, sending the Chevrolet bouncing across the gravel trap to retirement and Zanardi slipping and sliding back to the pit lane to replace a puncture.
Their demise promoted Tarquini into the lead, but he was under a fierce attack from Farfus and Muller immediately, the duo working together to get back at the front of the field and duly succeeding just a lap later when both eased past the SEAT, Tarquini seemingly allowing his rivals through before embarking on a likely unsuccessful defence attempt.
With the lead theirs, Farfus and Muller went on to have a bitter battle of their own, the lighter Muller crawling all over the back of his Team Deutschland team-mate, a tussle that likely had Charley Lamm slightly nervous at its close confines. The inevitable finally happened at the start of lap five when Muller pulled out from beneath his team-mate and claimed into the lead.
Pulling away from Tarquini, Porteiro was the next BMW on the move, the race one winner not getting the best of starts but making up for it as the race progressed, passing Larini early in the race for fifth, before catching and passing James Thompson's Alfa Romeo, the Brit having a wonderful race from ninth on the grid. However, he couldn't keep Porteiro at bay, the Spaniard sprinting off in pursuit of Tarquini, who, like he did with Muller and Farfus, actually waved him by and into third place with just a couple of laps to go.
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