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300th DTM race for BMW in Spielberg – Three BMW M4 DTMs finish in the top-ten.

Marco Wittmann (GER, BMW Driving Experience M4 DTM) was the best-placed BMW driver in Spielberg (AUT) on Saturday, finishing seventh in the 300th race for BMW in the DTM. Philipp Eng (AUT, SAMSUNG BMW M4 DTM) and Augusto Farfus (BRA, Shell BMW M4 DTM) were also in the points, finishing eighth and ninth in a turbulent race at the Red Bull Ring (AUT).

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Spielberg. Marco Wittmann (GER, BMW Driving Experience M4 DTM) was the best-placed BMW driver in Spielberg (AUT) on Saturday, finishing seventh in the 300th race for BMW in the DTM. Philipp Eng (AUT, SAMSUNG BMW M4 DTM) and Augusto Farfus (BRA, Shell BMW M4 DTM) were also in the points, finishing eighth and ninth in a turbulent race at the Red Bull Ring (AUT). Victory in the first event of the penultimate race weekend of the season went to René Rast (GER, Audi).

 

Timo Glock (GER) and Bruno Spengler (CAN) both endured some bad luck. Spengler reported that his car was steering erratically after contact early in the race, before heading to the pits for safety’s sake. Having secured second place in qualifying in his DEUTSCHE POST BMW M4 DTM, Glock was able to remain in the top-ten for much of the race before retiring due to technical problems just six minutes from the finish. The subsequent safety car phase and Indy restart heralded a sometimes-chaotic final period that saw Wittmann drop back from third to seventh. Joel Eriksson (SWE, BMW M4 DTM) finished 16th.

 

Although no BMW drivers reached the podium in Spielberg, the brand can boast an impressive track record after 300 race starts in the DTM. A total of 81 wins, 282 podiums, 67 pole positions and 87 fastest laps have been recorded. The drivers’ title has made its way to Munich at season’s end on six occasions. This last happened in 2016, when Wittmann was crowned champion for the second time. The very first DTM race on 11th March 1984 saw a BMW driver top the podium, as Harald Grohs (GER, BMW 635 CSi) celebrated victory.

 

Reactions to Saturday’s race in Spielberg:

 

Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):

“Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to record the result we had been hoping for in our 300th DTM race. Marco Wittmann was on course for a podium finish for a long time. But then things got pretty rough in the turbulent final phase. Some of the scenes during and after the Indy restart we witnessed with amazement. Three BMW M4 DTMs did make it into the points, but we could have done much better today. Nonetheless: This was the second important anniversary for BMW in the DTM, following on just two weeks after the 100th race since 2012 at the Nürburgring. This underlines just what a close relationship we enjoy with this series. BMW made its mark on the early years of the DTM from 1984, writing many chapters of a long and successful history of involvement in touring car racing. We have continued to feel right at home in the DTM since our comeback in 2012, and have celebrated many triumphs. Thrilling door-to-door duels, the best touring car drivers in the world and a close bond with the fans have characterised the series from the very beginning.”

 

Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal, BMW Team RMG):

“Of course, that was a disappointing race result after the good qualifying performance from all of our drivers. We saw that the tyres didn’t hold up to the finish, although we did divide the race up well. We then also had a problem with the fuel supply in Timo Glock’s car at the end.”

 

Marco Wittmann (#11 BMW Driving Experience M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG – qualifying result: 5th place, race result: 7th place, points: 143):  

“Unfortunately, the safety car phase just before the finish torpedoed my chances of a podium. The tyres had some pretty severe graining and I realised that I would have real trouble defending my position after the restart. Without the safety car, I might have been able to stay in third. But I just couldn't do it at the end.”

 

Augusto Farfus (#15 Shell BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG – qualifying result: 7th place, race result: 9th place, points: 50):  

“Qualifying actually went pretty well, but we had some pace problems in the race, which obviously also affected all the other BMWs. The tyres deteriorated pretty quickly. The restart just before the finish was totally chaotic and we were not able to record the result we had been hoping for.”

 

Timo Glock (#16 DEUTSCHE POST BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR – qualifying result: 2nd place, race result: DNF, points: 121):  

“Of course, it's a shame to start from second place and then have to retire from the race. But that can happen. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have the speed we needed to keep up with the front-runners. After my pit stop, I had problems heating up the front tyres and I made a braking mistake in turn 3, which cost me a few places. I kept up pretty well after that but then the rear tyres started to deteriorate fairly badly. Then I got a dashboard warning from the engine and the car’s engine cut out. That was that.”

 

Bart Mampaey (Team Principal, BMW Team RBM):

“The weather conditions were very difficult out there today. It was difficult to decide which tyres to go with before the start. So, we split our strategy and sent Joel Eriksson out on wets tyres. Unfortunately, the appearance of the safety car meant that that did not pay off.  Both Philipp Eng’s and Bruno Spengler’s cars suffered some severe collision damage. Nonetheless, Philipp showed just what a good racer he is by still managing to get in the points in that turbulent final phase. Hopefully the conditions will be a bit more stable tomorrow.”

 

Philipp Eng (#25 SAMSUNG BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR – qualifying result: 13th place, race result: 8th place, points: 96):  

“That was the most turbulent race of the season for me personally. I was involved in battles from the first lap to the very last. I couldn’t do anything before the hairpin right after the start. I slammed on the brakes but got pushed from behind. That was why I had contact with Robin Frijns. I couldn’t warm the tyres up after the pit stop and that cost me some time. But the safety car phase then helped me to make up a few places.”

 

Bruno Spengler (#7 BMW Bank M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM – qualifying result: 16th place, race result: DNF, points: 75):

“Unfortunately, we didn’t settle on the best set-up for qualifying in the rain and had to start from way back. The race actually went pretty well, but my car got damaged in a few collisions. This caused vibrations that just got worse and worse. The only safe option was to head for the pits.”

 

Joel Eriksson (#47 BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM – qualifying result: 17th place, race result: 16th place, points: 60):  

“That was a difficult race. Qualifying didn’t go according to plan. We then chose a risky race strategy and hoped that it would go as well as it had done for my win in Misano. But our plan didn’t really work out today. We will have another chance tomorrow.”

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