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BMW M works drivers in the points at the DTM season-opener – Marco Wittmann finishes fourth to claim best result of the weekend.

The BMW M Motorsport teams Walkenhorst Motorsport and Schubert Motorsport have started the DTM season with some good results. BMW M works drivers Marco Wittmann (GER), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and Philipp Eng (AUT) all got off the mark at the DTM debut for the new BMW M4 GT3 in Portimão (POR).

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Portimão. The BMW M Motorsport teams Walkenhorst Motorsport and Schubert Motorsport have started the DTM season with some good results. BMW M works drivers Marco Wittmann (GER), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and Philipp Eng (AUT) all got off the mark at the DTM debut for the new BMW M4 GT3 in Portimão (POR). The best result was claimed by Wittmann, who finished fourth in Sunday’s race. Van der Linde finished seventh and eighth, the only driver to reach the top ten in both races. A great pursuit performance from Eng on Saturday saw him reach ninth place from 24th on the grid. Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH, and Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport, were in Portugal for the race weekend.   

 

Van der Linde performed consistently well throughout the entire weekend, completing both qualifying sessions as the fastest BMW M Motorsport driver and scoring 10 points. After retiring from Saturday’s race, Wittmann bounced back strongly on Sunday, producing some good overtaking manoeuvres in his BMW M4 GT3 and finishing fourth to score 12 points. After his great chase on Saturday, Eng retired from Sunday’s race after a not-at-fault collision at the start. Esteban Muth (BEL) crossed the line twice in 14th position in the second BMW M4 GT3 from Walkenhorst Motorsport. The season continues on 21st/22nd May with the two races at the Lausitzring (GER).

 

Reactions to the DTM weekend in Portimão.

 

Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “That was a good, solid start for the BMW M4 GT3 in the DTM. On Sunday in particular, the qualifying session and the race revealed just how close the whole field is. Marco Wittmann was able to battle for a spot on the podium but unfortunately didn’t quite make it. Overall, getting two cars into the top ten on each occasion was a performance that the drivers and teams can build on. However, the objective is to continue to improve so that we can soon see a BMW M Motorsport team member up on the podium. Congratulations to Walkenhorst Motorsport, Schubert Motorsport and the drivers on a good performance this weekend.”

 

Marco Wittmann (#11 BMW M4 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport): “After a difficult start and the retirement in Saturday’s race, finishing fourth on Sunday was a nice way to round off the weekend. For a while, I did hope to mount an attack on the podium but in the end, we didn’t have the pace to reach the top three. Nonetheless, that is a result that we can build on and those are valuable points, looking at the season as a whole. At the moment, it's all about taking steps to improving our understanding of the new BMW M4 GT3 in all conditions, and bringing it into the right window of performance during races and in qualifying. We are moving in the right direction. Now I am looking forward to the Lausitzring weekend.”

 

Sheldon van der Linde (#31 BMW M4 GT3, Schubert Motorsport): “That was a pretty good start to the season for me. Scoring points in both races is a good base. If you’d offered me that before the weekend, I’d have taken it. I am particularly pleased with our results in the qualifying sessions. We did pretty much as well as we could have done. Unfortunately, I lost ground at the start in both races, which I then had to claw back. That was very irritating and I think that I could have a lot better than eighth on Sunday. Nonetheless, I am pleased with the points in both races as this season will be about being as consistent as possible.”

 

Philipp Eng (#25 BMW M4 GT3, Schubert Motorsport): “After some good testing and practice sessions, we really struggled over the race weekend, especially in qualifying. The balance of the car changed every time we put on a fresh set of tyres. We really have to find out why that happened, as starting way back in such a strong field makes it unbelievably difficult to progress. We did superbly on Saturday and we were able to finish in the points. Unfortunately, my race ended far too early on Sunday after a rival hit my front-right wheel at the start.”

 

Esteban Muth (#10 BMW M4 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport): “The week in Portimão was a steep learning curve for me. Finding the right balance proved to be a serious problem for me during testing and on Saturday. Things went better during the first race, and I was able to move up 14 places. We then took a big step in the right direction for second qualifying. My pace was good from then on. We now have to build on that and we will be able to battle for points. Many thanks to the Walkenhorst Motorsport team for some fantastic support.”

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