BMW-Sauber drivers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld are relishing Formula 1's transatlantic trip to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend, as the pairing bid to consolidate the squad's third position in the constructors' championship from a resurgent Renault.

A strong performance in Monaco - where the duo took fifth and sixth places - brought the Munich outfit's points score up to an impressive 30 from the opening five grands pix, just six shy of its total last year. Although Montreal was not BMW's most successful race of the 2006 season - with only a seventh place for Heidfeld to take away with them - both drivers are confident they can shine at the challenging high-speed circuit, and maintain the team's 100 per cent record of scoring points in every race so far in the current campaign.

"Like most drivers, I really like travelling over to Montreal," Heidfeld enthused. "The race circuit occupies an incredibly beautiful location on the island in the St Lawrence River, which makes for an unmistakable atmosphere, and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve itself has a very special character too.

"It is a high-speed track with long straights, but also some tight chicanes and a couple of slow corners. To start with the asphalt always has very little grip, but when the track starts to get really grippy and the car is working perfectly you can run hard over the kerbs in the second chicane. This chicane also goes downhill, and you get seriously close to the wall on the exit.

"Away from the track, I also like the city of Montreal a lot. There is always a great atmosphere there and the people get really excited about the grand prix. I usually travel to Montreal a few days before the race and have time to do some shopping in the city. I also like to stop by at a few galleries in the old part of town. [My girlfriend] Patricia and I have several pictures at home which I bought there."

Team-mate Kubica has yet to race around the circuit, but does have some prior experience of it from driving in Friday practice for BMW in 2006. Although the Pole has had to adapt his natural driving style somewhat to adjust to the new-for-2007 regulations, he remains optimistic of a good result on his maiden competitive outing there.

"I'm really looking forward to Montreal," the 22-year-old stated, "as it is one of my favourite tracks on the Formula 1 calendar and means driving with lower downforce for the first time this season. Last year on the Friday I went quite well there. I am looking to repeat that performance and I think our car can perform very well because of the downforce configuration.

"I like the track because it is a street circuit and has pretty low grip, improving during the weekend. It will be interesting to see how I can cope with the Bridgestone tyres compared to the Michelins of last year, and how I have to change my driving style. I will see how big an influence it was for me to change to the different tyres. Montreal was a track where my driving style last year gave me an advantage, but as I am not driving the same anymore we will have to see how it goes."

 

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