BMW Team RBM endured a difficult weekend at the World Touring Car Championship season finale at Macau.
Brazilian Augusto Farfus finished sixth and fifth in the two races. Andy Priaulx was hit by Andre Couto at the beginning of race one, dropping to the back of the field, before fighting his way up to finish seventh in race two.
Priaulx ended the season fourth in the drivers' standings, despite taking more wins than any other driver. “Race one didn't turn out good for us,” he said. “Somebody hit me very hard from behind and spun me around. I had no chance and was turned around before the corner. Then for race two my car was hooked up – it was superb.
“The great thing is I am with a world class team and we all give it a hundred per cent. We must be proud of what we have achieved with our six wins this year. Despite being disappointed about the lost title chance, it is a great feeling and a great end to the season driving round Macau in a car that felt like this.”
Farfus finished seventh in the overall standings. “These have been two really hard races in which we had to fight for every single position,” he explained. “Of course we had hoped for a better result to finish this season, but this just wasn't possible today. I constantly had to defend. The fact the rear bumper of my car was loose for most of the race after I was hit by some other cars didn't make it any easier for me. In terms of results this hasn't been my best year, but the cooperation with Andy and the team worked perfectly well.”
BMW Team RBM Team Principal Bart Mampaey said: “This was all we could do in this season finale. Andy's hopes for a good result in race one were already over after the start, when he was hit by another driver. His car suffered quite severe damage, but the team was able to make the necessary repairs during the race and the following break. In race two Andy put in a sensational performance, and the pace of the car was good. However, our competitors still had a obvious advantage regarding top-speed, which was clearly proven by Augusto's races. In these circumstances he couldn't join in the fight for the top positions. Many thanks to the drivers, the team and BMW Motorsport. Everyone gave their all in 2010.”
BMW did enjoy some success in the Yokohama Independents' Trophy, where Sergio Hernandez reclaimed the title he won in 2008, with his team Scuderia Proteam Motorsport taking the teams' title. Fellow BMW drivers Franz Engstler and Kristian Poulsen finished second and third, with seven of the top ten driving BMW 320si WTCCs.
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said: “This has been a spectacular conclusion to a very demanding season. Macau once again lived up to its reputation. Andy was taken out of the competition shortly after the start of race one. However, he managed to make it back to the pits on three wheels. The team was able to repair the car in time for the second round. He started race two from the back of the grid and fought his way up in an impressive manner, recording the second-fastest race lap in the process. This proves what would have been possible for him from a better grid position. Race two was a defensive battle for Augusto. Although his car was damaged, he showed his fighting spirit and finished fifth.
“Our customer team of Proteam Motorsport experienced a perfect weekend: Sergio HernÃ¡ndez claimed his second title in the Independents' Trophy. A big thank you for their efforts in the past season go to Bart Mampaey, his RBM team and our drivers, Andy and Augusto. Following the opening races of the season it looked as if they wouldn't be in a position to fight for the championship. But they didn't give up and successfully fought back. Our title chances were only over after the exclusion from the results following the races in Okayama. Up to that point, Andy was still in with a chance of winning the title. We congratulate Yvan Muller and Chevrolet on winning the Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championships.”
BMW are known to be developing a 1.6 litre engine for use by customers in next year's WTCC, but it looks unlikely that BMW will continue to support an official factory team as they prepare to race in the DTM from 2012.