BMW privateer Franz Engstler scored the first ever World Touring Car Championship win for both himself and the BMW 320 TC. The win came on home ground for both Engstler and BMW, on the Oschersleben circuit in Germany.
Engstler, who had turned fifty just days before the race, secured the pole for race two with his tenth-place finish in the first qualifying session. His team had worked quickly to repair the car for race two after a crash late in race one.
BMW racer Norbert Michelisz, starting third on the race two grid, seized the lead at the start and held on until he spun on lap eight, opening the door for Engstler, who took over and held on for the remaining seven laps to take the win. Michelisz recovered from his spin to run in fourth, but he crashed into the tire wall later in the race after colliding with the 320 TC of ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel. Coronel went on to finish fourth behind Engstler, the Chevrolet Cruze of Alain Menu, and the SEAT of Gabriele Tarquini.
In race one, Chevrolet Cruze racers Yvan Muller and Robert Huff finished first and second. BMW’s Stefano D’Aste was sixth and Coronel was tenth. (Text continues after photo)
BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said, “BMW drivers have already celebrated numerous podium places with the BMW 320 TC in the World Touring Car Championship. It is fantastic that the first victory for this car can be celebrated, even more so that it happened at the BMW home round at Oschersleben. The BMW 320 TC proved to be competitive from the word go. Together with our customer teams, we work hard to improve it from race to race. We, and especially the LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler, have now been rewarded for these efforts at Oschersleben.”
It should be noted that before Oschersleben the BMWs had been granted a 20 kg weight reduction that left them 40 kg lighter than the Chevrolet Cruzes that have been dominating the series this season.
The WTCC takes a break in August and resumes competition in Spain on September 4.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.orgBack to News