BMW's hopes of taking the fight to reigning World Touring Car champions SEAT suffered an early setback when they were comprehensively out paced during the opening round of the season at Curitiba.

BMW, champions with Andy Priaulx in 2005, 2006 and 2007, had hoped a change in the regulations would aid their cause in Brazil, but they couldn't manage a result any better than fifth as their Spanish rivals dominated.

Those positions belonged to Augusto Farfus in race one and Jorg Muller in race two, although the latter driver's surge from 19th on the grid in the wet gives him confidence that a more representative grid slot will see him challenging for honours in the coming rounds.

"Following the disappointment in race one the successful fight back in the second felt really sweet," said Muller who crashed out on the opening lap after contact with Priaulx and Alain Menu.

"We made the perfect set-up choice for these conditions. At first, we considered taking the risk to run on dry tyres, but then we forgot the idea as there was just too much water on the track. Had the race gone on for another few laps I could have made it even further up. Overall I'm happy."

Priaulx was disappointed though, even if his ninth place in race one would eventually become seventh following two penalties ahead.

"Also lifting him up to second on the grid for the next race, Priaulx was confident of a good result, but found his 320si difficult to drive in the slippery conditions as he plummeted to an eventual ninth.

"I was just relieved to finish race one, despite the incident after the start, and I was feeling pretty confident for race two from the front row of the grid. Sadly what I felt would be a good race for me turned into a nightmare.

"For some reason I just could not drive the car in the wet conditions, and I was going backwards in race two. It was a shame as up to then I was happy with how things had gone."

Describing SEAT as 'unbeatable', BMW manager Friedholm Nohl is hoping Brazil doesn't set the tone for the remainder of their season.

"This weekend, SEAT was unbeatable in both dry and wet conditions. However, our drivers also had some highlights. Andy managed to move up from the back of the field in race one following a collision at the start. J?rg put in a fantastic performance in the second race, improving from 21st to fifth.

"Augusto and Sergio finished in the top eight in both races. So we at least took home some points. Now we must immediately set our sights on the future. We will do our best to close the gap to the frontrunners as quickly as possible."



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