Race 2: Priaulx crowned

Britain's Andy Priaulx has taken the 2004 ETCC title at Dubai on Friday despite finishing level on points with rival Dirk Muller. Priaulx was second in both races at the new circuit to overhaul the 12-point deficit to Muller, while the German suffered a disastrous weekend after being knocked out of the first race and finishing fifth in the second

Race 2: Priaulx crowned

Following Muller's retirement from the first race, the German not only saw his points advantage reduced from 12 to just four points, but he had to start the second race from the back of the grid while Priaulx was up in seventh on the grid, albeit loaded down with ballast.

The reverse grid saw Luca Rangoni start from pole but it was the BMWs who took control at the start with Alex Zanardi leading Jorg Muller and Priaulx through turn one. That was before the carnage began.

Zanardi attempted a desperate lunge up the inside of Jorg, putting the German into a spin that forced him into the side of Priaulx who then slowed. Antonio Garcia spun, forcing the SEAT of Rickard Rydell to drive straight into him who in turn saw the Peugeot of Jan Magnussen flipped onto its roof.

The race was stopped for twenty minutes to clean up the circuit and at the re-start Priaulx took the lead ahead of Zanardi, who proceeded to hold up the rest of the field until the Alfa Romeos eased past within a few laps.

Meanwhile, Priaulx was in the distance while Dirk Muller was fighting back to sixth. Race 1 winner Gabriele Tarquini then overtook Priaulx for the victory while Fabrizio Giovanardi's retirement elevated Dirk to fifth, putting him equal on points with Priaulx.

"I have to give my credit to everybody, my RBM team, my mechanics, my boss and my family," Priaulx said. "Winning races it the most important thing, and the title is the icing on the cake. I'm going to treasure this for the rest of my life..."

Dirk Muller, however, was inconsolable. "Losing the championship by being shunted out by a private car has infuriated me. I had to start the last race from the back which effectively ended my hopes of winning the title.

"I have to congratulate Andy who has been strong all season, but I am well annoyed," he moaned. "At the moment I am empty and I don't know what to think."

Gabriele Tarquini Alfa Romeo 156 S2000 22m18.952s
Andy Priaulx BMW 320i +4.043s
James Thompson Alfa Romeo 156 S2000 +7.770s
Frank Diefenbacher SEAT Toledo Cupra +12.512s
Dirk Muller BMW 320i +23.153s
Alessandro Zanardi BMW 320i +27.642s
Salvatore Tavano Alfa Romeo 156 Gta +27.917s
Michele Bartyan Alfa Romeo 156 Gta +32.005s
Carl Rosenblad BMW 320i +32.656s
Luca Rangoni Alfa Romeo 156 Gta +34.618s


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