Text: JP Cariño / Photos: JP Cariño | posted December 04, 2007 00:00
Priaulx wins hotly contested title in Macau
The World Touring Car Championship went into the final rounds in Macau wherein four drivers mathematically had the chance to win the title. BMW Team UK's Andy Priaulx was tied in the championship with Yvan Muller of SEAT. Augusto Farfus also of BMW was a few points behind in third and the final championship contender was ex-F1 driver, Nicola Larini of CHEVROLET. The odds were against BMW as SEAT has been dominating the final rounds leading up to Macau with the introduction of their turbo diesel engines.
Qualifying saw the Chevrolet of Alain Menu snatching pole from Yvan Muller under the checkered flag with a 2m31.209s laptime and showed that the Lacetti was the car to beat in street circuits after wining on the streets of Porto. Muller's 2m31.395s effort with the Seat was relegated to second on the grid, but his championship campaign was made easier by his rival Priaulx qualifying poorly in twelfth place. Taking third grid spot was Gabriele Tarquini of Seat, further solidifying the championship of Muller.
As soon as the lights went out, Yvan Muller got the jump on Alain Menu on the first straight leading to the famous Lisboa corner. Everyone got through Lisboa and San Francisco hill without much drama. The order was Muller from Menu with Augusto Farfus and Gabriele Tarquini, up until lap number eight when Yvan Mullers' Seat had a fuel pump problem and had to stop on the road. Alain Menu took advantage and took another Chevrolet street circuit win with Tarquini taking second after a long battle with Farfus who eventually spun and hit the barriers. Rob Huff went to finish third for Chevrolet. Andy Priaulx finished the race in eight and that meant pole position for race two on the reverse grid format. The WTCC teams had only fifteen minutes to the start of race two but both cars of Farfus and Muller didn't make it to the start after trying to repair the cars.
With Yvan Muller and Augusto Farfus out of the championship running, the battle shifted to Andy Priaulx and James Thompson of Alma Romeo. Thompson's only hope to win the title was if Priaulx wouldn't finish the race and he scores a win for Alfa. Priaulx built up a 2 second lead over Thompson at the start of the race. Towards the end, James Thompson was slowly eating away at Priaulx's lead. But even if he won, he still needed the BMW driver to score no points by not finishing the race. But this wasn't meant to be as Andy Priaulx gathered up all of his reserves and took a comfortable win over the Alfa of James Thompson. Nicola Larini finished third in the Chevrolet. Not only did BMW win the drivers title, they also won the manufacturers trophy after being the underdogs with the new regulations allowing the super fast turbo diesel of Seat. This is how the championship looked like after twenty two rounds of tin-top racing all over the world.