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DTM summit in Styria: BMW teams at the Red Bull Ring for the penultimate race weekend of the season.

Moving into the final stages of the 2017 DTM season, the BMW teams are in action at the Red Bull Ring at Spielberg (AUT) this weekend. The BMW drivers will take part in rounds 15 and 16 of the season at the Austrian track. The circuit, with the picturesque alpine backdrop, is popular with the drivers. BMW has celebrated numerous great successes there in the past, including four wins since the BMW DTM comeback in 2012.

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The situation:

It was an eventful weekend for BMW at the Nürburgring (GER). The unpredictable and changeable weather conditions in the Eifel mountains played their part in Saturday’s race. Rain showers foiled the BMW teams’ strategies. Augusto Farfus (BRA) finished as best-placed BMW driver in eighth place, having led the race for a long period. The weather on Sunday was once again cool, but dry. Marco Wittmann (GER) claimed pole position in qualifying and secured a podium spot by finishing the race in third place. This helped the two-time champion move up to fourth in the drivers’ championship (115 points), just 21 points behind leader Mattias Ekström (SWE). Timo Glock (GER) is in seventh position with 108 points, just ahead of Maxime Martin. The Belgian driver is in eighth on 102 points. In the manufacturers’ championship, BMW is currently in third place with 450 points. Audi leads with 550 points.


The expectations:

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt: "We have an exciting end to the season ahead of us. There are still four races to go this year, and there are still several drivers battling for the title. We have already seen a number of times this season that the order of the overall standings can change completely after every race. So the fans definitely have two thrilling weekends ahead of them in Spielberg and Hockenheim. Our task is to be fully focussed from the very first to the final minute, and to get the maximum out of the races. Spielberg is one of the tracks on the DTM calendar on which we have enjoyed great success in the past. We hope to bring home good results there once again in 2017."

 

Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal, BMW Team RMG): “We have good memories of the Red Bull Ring, our next stop. In 2016, our team won both races: Marco triumphed on Saturday and Timo on Sunday. Both of them have recorded many more podium finishes at Spielberg in the past years. The circuit has been a happy hunting ground for us in the past but we are looking forward and would like to add another successful weekend to our list of results for the season. The recent races have shown that we need to keep working hard. Which is why we will do battle again in Spielberg, after all nothing will be decided until the end of the season."

 

Marco Wittmann (#11, Red Bull BMW M4 DTM – 70 races, 8 wins, 19 podiums, 9 pole positions, 638 points, 2 Drivers’ titles): “I have really high expectations for Spielberg. I have always liked the circuit and I have already won some races there. It is a nice track and the landscape is lovely too so I am hoping for a good weekend. We were able to fight back a bit at the Nürburgring and we would like to continue this trend at Spielberg. It is also a special event for me, as we are competing in Red Bull’s homeland.”

 

Augusto Farfus (#15, Shell BMW M4 DTM – 80 races, 4 wins, 12 podiums, 6 pole positions, 374 points): “Alongside Zandvoort, Spielberg is one of my favourite circuits. There are plenty of fast corners that I really enjoy. We have had some good weekends recently, in terms of performance rather than points, so I am hoping we can score some points again at Spielberg. The area around the circuit, with that view of the mountains, is just fantastic.”

 

Timo Glock (#16, DEUTSCHE POST BMW M4 DTM – 70 races, 4 wins, 8 podiums, 3 pole positions, 321 points): “The Red Bull Ring is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful circuits in the world. I have many fond memories of it. I recorded my first DTM podium finish there in 2013. I was on the top spot of the podium last year and I hope that we will put on a strong performance again at Spielberg.”

 

Bart Mampaey (Team Principal, BMW Team RBM): “Our team has plenty of motivation ahead of the final race weekends of the season. We know that we have the pace for top results. Hard work and the right strategy will help us in the battle to reach the podium. The autumn weather in the mountains can be very changeable but we will try to prepare for all eventualities. In any case, our drivers like the circuit. Bruno has won there and Tom reached the podium last year with a second-place finish.”

 

Bruno Spengler (#7, BMW Bank BMW M4 DTM – 153 races, 15 wins, 48 podiums, 18 pole positions, 832 points, 1 Drivers’ title): “The landscape around the Red Bull Ring makes it one of the most beautiful circuits. The surroundings are just sensational. I am curious to see how the weather will be so late in the season, as it can be changeable even in summer. The track layout is great and it's a lot of fun. It has a nice combination of long straights, hard braking and interesting corners. It is a good track for overtaking.”

 

Tom Blomqvist (#31, BMW Driving Experience M4 DTM – 50 races, 1 win, 5 podiums, 2 pole positions, 194 points): “I really like the Red Bull Ring and it is one of my favourite DTM circuits. I reached the podium there last year but we just have to wait and see how it goes this time. We were here in late spring 2016, and now autumn is just starting. That can make a difference at this track, as it is at higher altitude in the mountains. Who knows what the weather will bring? Hopefully it will stay dry and stable.”

 

Maxime Martin (#36, SAMSUNG BMW M4 DTM – 60 races, 3 wins, 10 podiums, 3 pole positions, 333 points): “We always like to go to the Red Bull Ring as it is one of the prettiest circuits of the season. We were really successful there last year. I think that we will have a good set-up this time around too. We will try to continue optimising our performance and score as many points as possible.”

 

History:

The Red Bull Ring has a history stretching back nearly 50 years. Formerly known as the Österreichring, the circuit was inaugurated in 1969 and hosted many international races until 2003. The course then lay dormant for several years, before reopening as the Red Bull Ring in 2011 after extensive renovations. The DTM debuted at the circuit, near Spielberg, in the same season. Nestling in the alpine panorama of the Styria region at an altitude of 700 metres, the Red Bull Ring is the highest circuit on the DTM calendar and is very popular with the drivers. The circuit is technically challenging and boasts unusually large climbs and gradients of up to 12 percent. Lying around 50 kilometres distant from Graz, the 4.326-kilometre track regularly delivers thrilling, hard-fought races.

 

BMW and Martin Tomczyk (GER) reached the podium there in 2012, the comeback year. In 2013 Spengler, Wittmann and Glock recorded a top-three lock-out. BMW went one better the following year, with a 1-2-3-4: Wittmann, Farfus, Glock and Tomczyk claimed the top four positions. The success story continued last year. In Saturday's race, Wittmann and Blomqvist finished in first and second places, while Glock triumphed in Sunday’s event. Victory has gone to BMW drivers on four occasions in the eight races that have taken place at Spielberg so far.

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