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Bad luck for BMW drivers as rain turns Eifel race into a lottery – Farfus and Wittmann in the points.

The rain turned Saturday’s DTM race at the Nürburgring (GER) into a lottery – and the BMW teams just didn’t have luck on their side. After a strong performance in qualifying saw five BMW drivers in the top ten, a rain shower in the middle of the race put paid to their chances of winning or reaching the podium.

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Nürburgring. The rain turned Saturday’s DTM race at the Nürburgring (GER) into a lottery – and the BMW teams just didn’t have luck on their side. After a strong performance in qualifying saw five BMW drivers in the top ten, a rain shower in the middle of the race put paid to their chances of winning or reaching the podium. Augusto Farfus (BRA) had a commanding lead in the race, falling back to eighth place after an additional pit stop after the rain had returned. Marco Wittmann (GER) suffered a similar fate after starting from second, but was at least able to score two points as he finished in ninth position. Timo Glock (GER), Bruno Spengler (CAN), Tom Blomqvist (GBR) and Maxime Martin (BEL) crossed the line in 12th, 13th, 16th and 17th places respectively.

 

The qualifying:

The second free practice session in the morning took place on a thoroughly wet circuit but the track gradually dried out during qualifying. The drivers used wet tyres until about the halfway point of the 20-minute session, but the best times were recorded with slicks in the final minutes. Timing was the decisive factor that determined who can made use of the best track conditions. Marco Wittmann (Red Bull BMW M4 DTM) made the right choice and claimed second place on the grid with a time of 1:26.067 minutes. He was rewarded with two points in the drivers’ championship and was just 0.099 seconds shy of the best time, set by Lucas Auer (AUT, Mercedes). Four more BMW drivers made it into the top ten. Augusto Farfus (Shell BMW M4 DTM) claimed fourth place, while Tom Blomqvist (BMW Driving Experience M4 DTM) was sixth. Timo Glock reached eighth position in the DEUTSCHE POST BMW M4 DTM. Maxime Martin (SAMSUNG BMW M4 DTM) was tenth and Bruno Spengler (BMW Bank M4 DTM) was set to start the race from 15th position.

 

The race:

A heavy rain shower hit the Nürburgring just before the start of the race, leading to all drivers starting with wet-weather tyres. Augusto Farfus made a lightning start from fourth place and moved into the lead. Marco Wittmann didn’t get away well after starting on the front row and slotted into fifth place, just ahead of Timo Glock. Technical problems at the first turn meant that Tom Blomqvist was at the back of the field, but was able to continue. The circuit was drying out and after 16 laps, many changed to slick tyres, including all the BMW drivers. However, just three laps later there was another rain shower that turned the race from strategic to a lottery. Maxime Martin slid on the wet surface into a tyre wall, losing four places. Farfus and Wittmann were the first BMW drivers to switch from slicks back to wet tyres. They managed to score points by finishing in eighth and ninth positions, but had no chance against the drivers who were luckier in the rain gamble and did not require a second-pit stop. The remaining BMW drivers finished outside the top ten.

 

The reactions:

 

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt: “After a good qualifying session, we let it slip and chose the wrong strategy in the race – despite the weather forecast and our local knowledge. We did not expect the second rain shower to be so heavy, or we would have left the cars out. It is disappointing to finish with just two cars in the top ten from our promising starting position. At least Augusto scored some points after doing a great job right from the start, and he could have won. Now we have to analyse why we got it so wrong today. It is important that we get the set-up right for tomorrow.”

 

Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal, BMW Team RMG): “Our drivers did a super job in changeable conditions during qualifying today, and the team got the cars set up perfectly. We did everything right at the start of the race, up until the point when we made the wrong decision to switch to slicks. We all saw what happened then.”

 

Marco Wittmann (#11, Red Bull BMW M4 DTM – Grid position: 2nd place, race result: 9th place – 69 races, 8 wins, 18 podiums, 8 pole positions, 620 points, 2 drivers’ titles): “I am mega disappointed. We all chose the wrong strategy. That is a shame. Augusto Farfus had great pace going out in front. I was going a bit better than the Mercedes in front of me but I couldn’t get past. When it started to dry out, I had to do something. We changed to slicks and our lap times got faster. But then the rain came and we quickly realised that we had made the wrong decision. In the end, I managed to score two points but it could have been more.”

 

Augusto Farfus (#15, Shell BMW M4 DTM – Grid position: 4th place, race result: 8th place – 79 races, 4 wins, 12 podiums, 6 pole positions, 372 points): “I had a perfect start and a perfect first stint. The opportunity to win here was in our hands. It started to rain when I was in the pits for a tyre change. From that point onwards, we had lost the race. However, we did manage to come back and score some points. My pace was very good. But it is a real shame when you can see yourself winning and then have this torn away from you. The weather in the Eifel mountains scotched our hopes today.”

 

Timo Glock (#16, DEUTSCHE POST BMW M4 DTM – Grid position: 8th place, race result: 12th place – 69 races, 4 wins, 8 podiums, 3 pole positions, 317 points): “I had a great start and the first stint was good. Mattias Ekström and I got close enough to swap paint, but that was OK. We had some back luck after that as Gary Paffet spun me. That meant we were already out of the points. It then started to rain just one lap after we had switched to slicks. We just didn’t get it right today. Now we have to make sure that we improve tomorrow.”

 

Bart Mampaey (Team Principal, BMW Team RBM): “The Eifel was in control of our performance today. I think that we got a lot right with Maxime, Bruno and Tom. The cars were well prepared and very competitive during the wet part of the race. Tom had some gearbox problems at the start but we were doing well after that. Maxime produced some good manoeuvres to make up some places and Bruno made progress too. We simply did not see such a heavy second rain shower coming and we chose to put on dry tyres at the pit stop. The conditions became worse after that – so it was the wrong decision.”

 

Bruno Spengler (#7, BMW Bank BMW M4 DTM – Grid position: 15th place, race result: 13th place – 152 races, 15 wins, 48 podiums, 18 pole positions, 820 points, 1 drivers’ title): “Unfortunately, our strategy today wasn’t ideal. But you need to have some luck in situations like that too. I think it was difficult for the people on the pit wall to find the right strategy. I actually wanted to stay on slicks as I thought that the circuit would dry out quickly after the rain, and that had happened earlier. If that had been the case again, we would have scored more points. We had a bit of bad luck.”

 

Tom Blomqvist (#31, BMW Driving Experience M4 DTM – Grid position: 6th place, race result: 16th place – 49 races, 1 win, 5 podiums, 2 pole positions, 193 points): “It was a strange race. I got hit in the first turn and then I had problems with finding first gear. That put me back into last place. The car was pretty good but we did not have the right strategy. We changed to slicks, but then it started to rain again. Our tactics simply weren’t right.”

 

Maxime Martin (#36, SAMSUNG BMW M4 DTM – Grid position: 10th place, race result: 17th place – 59 races, 3 wins, 10 podiums, 3 pole positions, 333 points): “It was a lottery. We came into the pits and put on dry tyres, which was the wrong decision. It started to rain right away. So, I was out on a wet track with cold slicks. I lost control of the car and drove straight into the gravel. We put wet-weather tyres back on but didn’t have a chance to fix much. We will be stronger again tomorrow.”

 

The standings:

 

Drivers: 1. Mattias Ekström (128 points), 2. Lucas Auer (127), 3. René Rast (124), 4. Mike Rockenfeller (110), 5. Jamie Green (107), 6. Timo Glock (104), 7. Maxime Martin (102), 8. Marco Wittmann (97), 9. Paul di Resta (77), 10. Gary Paffett (76), 11. Robert Wickens (74), 12. Bruno Spengler (62), 13. Nico Müller (49), 14. Edoardo Mortara (43), 15. Maro Engel (41), 16. Augusto Farfus (27), 17. Tom Blomqvist (21), 18. Loic Duval (18).

 

Teams: 1. Audi Sport Team Rosberg (231 points), 2. Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline (177), 3. Mercedes-AMG Motorsport BWT (174), 4. BMW Team RBM (164), 5. Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Mercedes me (150), 6. Audi Sport Team Phoenix (128), 7. BMW Team RMR (125), 8. BMW Team RMG (124), 9. Mercedes-AMG Motorsport SILBERPFEIL Energy (118).

 

Manufacturers: 1. Audi (536 points), 2. Mercedes (442), 3. BMW (413).

 

The service:

BMW Motorsport offers an innovative Chatbot service for journalists for the first time in the 2017 DTM season. This allows users to receive the latest information directly to their smartphone via WhatsApp Messenger. The information available includes driver statistics, statements and photos. You can register for the BMW Motorsport Chatbot at the following link: http://bit.ly/BMW_Motorsport_Media_Broadcast_EN

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