BMW are chasing a strong set of results from this weekend's World Touring Car Championship races at Okayama in Japan as the 2010 season heads towards its conclusion in Macau next month.
BMW Team RBM driver Andy Priaulx currently sits second in the drivers' standings, 25 points behind leader Yvan Muller. Teammate Augusto Farfus is seventh in the standings with four races remaining.
A total of 14 BMW 320si WTCC cars will be taking part over the weekend, more than half of the 27 car field. As well as the works cars of Priaulx and Farfus and the six regular independent BMW drivers, there will be six additional BMWs on track in the hands of privateer drivers. Amongst these will be Colin Turkington, who has already scored three podium finishes from his six starts this year.
BMW enjoyed a successful meeting at Okayama last year, with Priaulx and Farfus sharing the two race victories.
Team Principal Bart Mampaey is well aware of how crucial this weekend could be for BMW's title hopes. “The two races in Okayama are enormously important for us,” he said. “Andy is currently 25 points behind the leader in the Drivers' Championship. We have to close this gap as much as possible, so as to travel to the season finale with our title chances still intact. We all know anything can happen in Macau.”
Mampaey added that he felt the team was well prepared to repeat its results from last year. He said: “Our drivers have always done well in Japan in the past and both picked up a win in 2009. Everyone in the team is really motivated and has worked hard over the past weeks to ensure we are perfectly prepared for the Asian rounds.”
Having won the WTCC three times before, Priaulx has plenty of experience of the championship run-in. “Once again the World Touring Car Championship comes down to the last few races. We have to maintain the momentum and ensure we get some great results from Japan to carry the chase for the championship to Macau,” the Guernseyman explained. “I really enjoy the challenge of Okayama, and just hope we have better weather than last year – not just for us, but for the thousands of dedicated local fans.”
Farfus is happy to be racing again after the six week gap since the last round in Valencia, and is looking forward to racing in Japan. The Brazilian said: “It’s back to racing at last. The final overseas leg of our series is always very exciting. I like the track as it generally suits our car well. In addition, it’s great to be back in Japan. It’s a fascinating country, and the people are very friendly and really into what we do. It’s an important weekend for us, as we want to put ourselves in a promising position for the season finale in Macau.”