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World Touring Car Championship: Farewell to Schnitzer: The bill is still open

World Touring Car Championship: Farewell to Schnitzer
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D a, where Schnitzer stands, is for usually up. It has been like that for almost 45 years, and that's exactly how it was at the final of the TW World Cup in Macau. Because in the last race of the 2009 season - and for the time being the last race of the Schnitzer team in the World Cup - Bayern achieved a double victory with Augusto Farfus and Jörg Müller. So it was appropriate to say goodbye to the top touring car class, even if there were doubts among the observers as to whether the Schnitzer team was also dismissed appropriately.

In any case, one of the best teams is unquestionably leaving the touring cars -WM, when success is linked to victorious racing battles. The wars, of course, were all lost. If you include the EM forerunner since 2002, the Schnitzer team fought five times in a row for the driver's title from 2003 to 2007 and returned home four times as vice-champion. Schnitzer Motorsport traveled six times with intact title chances to the final races, including in Macau in 2009. Six times it came to nothing. This wound gapes even further: four times - between 2004 and 2008 - you lost to a BMW customer team in the drivers' championship. The Schnitzer team has contested 170 races in the European Championship and World Championship since 2002, 45 wins and 108 podium places are in the annals.

No reward for all the effort

Failure looks somehow different. 'Statistics can be deceptive.' Schnitzer team manager Charly Lamm squints his eyes at this sentence - as if he had to swallow a handful of spiders. 'We continued to improve our World Cup statistics in 2009 - but we didn't make it in the one statistic where we really wanted to improve.' That is only partially correct, because for the first time in World Championship history since 2005, a Schnitzer driver was after all the best BMW driver in the points table. 'The fact is that the final consequence of the statistics - namely the driver's title - is missing.'

The reasons in 2009 were as complex and complicated as touring car racing itself. 'The World Cup stands for sprint races in perfection I am sad when I think about the fact that we won't be there next year, 'said Lamm. In 2010 the Schnitzer team will take care of the Europe-wide use of the BMW M3 from the GT2 class. 'On the sporting side, the World Cup was a gigantic challenge, because the technical regulations are so tightly woven that one rarely feels technicalCan work out advantages. That is why you have to be perfectly positioned at all levels in order to be successful. That is very exhausting - but also demanding and fascinating. '

Too many accidents in the first lap as a stumbling block?

Title dreams burst in the TW-WM also so brutal because the races are turbulent. ' The World Cup races have a high intensity because of their short duration, everything happens very quickly. The pilots only have 50 kilometers to gain positions. And the brutal tough duel often inevitably leads to controversial racing situations. 'Ultimately, this is exactly where Charly Lamm locates one of the reasons for the failed title run in 2009.' We had too many situations where we followed on the first lap of the first race the flying start were involved in incidents. That was perhaps the crux of the matter. '

Augusto Farfus put in an almost flawless performance in the first races of the season, which earned him the support of BMW as the driver with the best points : Farfus was involved in incidents in Brno, Porto, Brands Hatch, Oschersleben, Imola and Okayama - sometimes through no fault of one's own, sometimes through fault. That reduced the number of points. Farfus was able to achieve six race wins - but all of them resulted from the situation where the starting grid was reversed for the race two.

More likely to win in the second race

This phenomenon is not easy to interpret: On the one hand, BMW only had two regular wins in the first runs of a weekend (Oschersleben and Okayama), which of course indicates that the BMW were inferior to the controversial Seat Leon Diesel TDI at the base speed in qualifying. Charly La mm takes a pragmatic view: 'Race victories in the first run are due to the performance in qualifying. Victories in run two are due to the upside-down starting grid - to be precise, an artificial show element. 'But victories in the second run also have to be achieved first.' We were usually able to win these races, also because we had the speed, which one very important point. With the BMW 320si we were second for much of the season and also first on some racetracks, 'claims Lamm.

Of course, the turbo factor rubberized the Seat Leon often enough in the front row, and the advantage of the Torque helped to defend the position in the race. Seat recorded half of all pole positions and fastest race laps in 2009. On the other hand, BMW leads quite clearly in the number of lead laps is difficult to quantify, and at BMW it is officially stated that the issueClassifications by the FIA ​​at the beginning of the season was not handled very professionally. That is unquestionably agreed.

The BMW 320si was able to win races

But it is also a fact that BMW calculated over the season had a car that was good enough to win the World Championship. 'It wasn't because of the BMW 320si that we lost the title, because the chances were there until the end in both World Championship rankings. We were from Pau able to actively fight for the world title. ' Which brings us back to the original explanation: Why was Farfus so involved in unfortunate racing situations in the second half of the season? Was it the driver?

Lamm believes that would make things too easy for yourself. He names the factors that have been criticized again and again with the rolling start: the fact that the optimal starting speeds of the BMW were calculable for the competition due to the limited number of gear ratios of the H gearbox; the acceleration advantage of the Seat turbo diesel; the fact that race director Eduardo Freitas did too little to ensure discipline in the field. 'That led to complex situations with different starting speeds in the field, which ran against us in the second half of the season.'

Performance in qualifying is not great

Regardless of the turbo factor, the Seat got stuck with the performance in qualifying. Anyone who analyzes closely comes to the conclusion that the BMW drivers often cavorted in front when nothing was at stake, i.e. in free practice. Although the BMWs were also in the lead in qualifying, depending on the track, Seat and Chevrolet made disproportionately high gains. 'It is indeed a mystery,' admits Lamm. Either the other teams use a more aggressive qualification set-up that allows them to make better use of the narrow peak of the tire. Or they drive special quali-mappings for the engine, which could at least provide an explanation for Seat due to the turbo technology.

Officially, BMW's appearance at the World Cup in 2009 was defined as a 'team sport'. If so, then you have to evaluate it from the team sport aspect. A big issue is the persistently weak performance of the Italy-Spain team, which contributed little to the points account in the manufacturers' standings and mostly did not go where the World Cup sausage was at stake. Since the fifth round of the season in Valencia, BMW title hero Augusto Farfus has benefited primarily from the support of team-mate Jörg Müller and RBM driver Andy Priaulx.

Teams used to work more against each other than with each other

Of course it wasn’t completely silent. Something should grow together as suddenly as possible that did not necessarily belong together. For years, the three teams had worked more against each other than with each other. Mentalitieschange slowly, and mutual trust is just as slow to build. In the end, the teams cooperated stronger and better. BMW carried out the stable management radically, as in Porto, where the ranking for Farfus was turned upside down 'because the regulations allowed it', as sporting director Mario Theissen legitimized the new Machiavellian at BMW. Seat executed its team strategy more naturally because it has always been a team. At BMW, the new system was more established.

The only catch: The concept of stable management at BMW was very much tailored to the driver's title. Perhaps too strong, because if the Manufacturers' World Cup is lost with three points, the question remains whether at least the one World Cup ranking was not lost due to the crash damage in Porto. But Charly Lamm would not have really made life in Macau any more enjoyable if Charly Lamm had made another contribution to winning the manufacturers' title. He and his team wanted the driver's title. Schnitzer is now returning to endurance racing - to where many successes have been celebrated. Let's hope that Schnitzer will be back where it is.


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