Two Safety Car periods, showers, and a feast of action: a fighting performance from BMW Motorsport in the seventh DTM race of the year was rewarded with valuable points in Zandvoort (NL). Following a difficult qualifying, Bruno Spengler (CA) launched a formidable fightback at the wheel of his BMW Bank M3 DTM. Starting from 18th on the grid, the Canadian crossed the finish line in sixth after 43 laps of racing. Dirk Werner (DE, E-POSTBRIEF BMW M3 DTM) and Augusto Farfus (BR, Castrol EDGE BMW M3 DTM), who started from 20th, also finished in the points, coming home in eighth and ninth respectively. Victory went to Audi driver Edoardo Mortara (IT).
Andy Priaulx (GB) finished 13thin the Crowne Plaza Hotels BMW M3 DTM, with Joey Hand (US, SAMSUNG BMW M3 DTM) one place further back in 14th. For many laps, Martin Tomczyk (DE) was embroiled in a thrilling struggle for third with Mattias Ekström (SE, Audi) and Gary Paffett (GB, Mercedes). However, his BMW M Performance Parts M3 DTM collided with Paffett’s Mercedes on lap 28, resulting in Tomczyk retiring from the race moments later.
Spengler got off to a very good start in the 80th DTM race of his career, cutting through the field from 18th to 13th. Thanks to consistently quick lap times and two immaculate pit stops by BMW Team Schnitzer, the Canadian, who celebrated his 29th birthday on Thursday, was able to set his sights on the top ten and valuable championship points. During one of the showers, several drivers had difficulty coping with the slippery surface. Spengler, took full advantage of the situation to move into sixth – a position he was able to defend through to the finish.
In the drivers’ standings, Spengler is now third with 91 points – 18 points behind leader Paffett. Tomczyk (69 points) follows in fifth. Farfus (19), Priaulx (14), Werner (5) and Hand (2) occupy places 9, 12, 18 and 19 ahead of the next race weekend. The venue for the eighth round of the season on 16th September is Oschersleben (DE).
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“That was an unbelievably intense race with a lot of incidents. With three drivers in the top ten, we managed more than damage limitation following the difficult qualifying on Saturday. Bruno Spengler made up 12 positions, in Augusto Farfus’s case it was 11. Dirk Werner also produced a flawless race. One of the key incidents was the contact between Martin Tomczyk and Gary Paffett. Martin’s wheels locked as the rain started to fall and he slid into Gary’s car. While Gary was able to continue, Martin was forced to retire. He has apologised to Mercedes-Benz and Gary. We are now looking forward to Oschersleben.”
Charly Lamm (Team Principal, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“We can be more than happy with sixth for Bruno Spengler after starting from 18th on the grid – especially when you consider he was not 100 per cent fit today due to stomach problems. To come from so far back to finish in the top six is simply fantastic. I am also pleased with Dirk Werner’s showing. He produced a plucky race in extremely difficult conditions. Dirk scored valuable points for himself and BMW Team Schnitzer. After the victory at the Nürburgring, we had a rather mixed weekend here. Despite this, we can certainly live with the result.”
Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal, BMW Team RMG):
“It was an exciting weekend and today we showed a strong team performance from everyone in these difficult conditions. Martin Tomczyk’s retirement is a shame as we were working our way up strongly and we would have scored a good number of points. With Joey Hand, we waited for the rain before putting him on wet tyres at the second stop. However, it didn’t rain so we had to put him back on slicks. We tried, but ultimately left pointless.”
Bart Mampaey (Team Principal, BMW Team RBM):
“It was a difficult race with challenging weather conditions. It is always difficult in these circumstances to make the right calls, but we had the right tyres on at the right times. I think when, like Augusto Farfus, you start 20th on the grid and finish with points you have had a good race. Both drivers struggled a little at the start, but then we found a good rhythm and they were able to maintain their pace. Mid race there was another shower, which mixed up the positions again and both drivers coped well with the circumstances. Then we got some exciting racing at the end, but were able to defend our positions.”
Bruno Spengler (car number 7, BMW Team Schnitzer, 6th):
“After the difficult qualifying, the race could hardly have gone better for me. Sixth feels like a podium. We got as much as we could out of the race, having started from 18th on the grid. My good start was key to this. I made up a lot of positions in the first few corners. Overall it was a tough race for me. The rain did not make it any easier. I had to take big risks. However, my team helped me move right up through the field with a great pit strategy. Before the race I would have been happy to somehow finish in the points. To come away with sixth place is fantastic.”
Dirk Werner (car number 8, BMW Team Schnitzer, 8th):
“That was a very exciting DTM race with a lot of different track conditions – dry, damp and rain in just a couple of corners – making it very difficult just to keep the car on the track in some situations. It was difficult to make a good start as it was damp. I survived the tangling in the first corner. It was a little bit calmer in the middle of the race and my pit stops were very good, so I was able to overtake some cars in the pit lane. Towards the end it got pretty exciting again fighting with Ralf Schumacher, Gary Paffett and Jamie Green. I think I learned a lot driving against these guys today. I am happy I got points for eighth place and I think the trend shows we are on the up.”
Augusto Farfus (car number 16, BMW Team RBM, 9th):
“I had a brilliant race in difficult conditions so I think we had our own little victory in just keeping the car on the road. I had a good pace and believe we could have had an even better result, but then I had the battles with Ralf Schumacher and Gary Paffett and there was nothing more I could do.”
Andy Priaulx (car number 15, BMW Team RBM, 13th):
“I carried damage for the whole race and in the end it acted like a parachute and slowed the car down. I made a good start and felt very confident in the wet and greasy conditions. I was also feeling good in the race and drove my heart out despite having a wounded car, but it was just unfortunate in the end the damage cost us our race as I think we could have scored some points. The team’s pit stops were brilliant and they kept me in contention in the race.”
Joey Hand (car number 2, BMW Team RMG, 14th):
“Again definitely not what I was hoping for from a results standpoint. We went for a no compromise dry set-up. As a result it was really slippery when it was wet at the start, but as it dried we were better. At our second pit stop we decided to take wet tyres as we were expecting some rain in a few laps. Unfortunately, the one time we wanted it it didn’t come! As soon as the track started to dry my tyres went off badly so we had to pit again.”
Martin Tomczyk (car number 1, BMW Team RMG, DNF):
“My wheel locked as I braked into the corner. I wanted to go round Gary Paffett but didn’t manage it. This incident came about as a result of the conditions. There had already been a few excursions from the wet track shortly beforehand. I had to retire after the crash. I feel sorry for Gary. I am a fair sportsman and immediately apologised to Norbert Haug, who accepted the apology. Afterwards I also went to see Gary. Personally I think the penalty is too harsh, but I accept it. Now I’m getting ready for the Oschersleben race.”