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DTM: BMW M Motorsport teams miss out on top positions at season-opener at Oschersleben.

The BMW M Motorsport teams made a bumpy start to their title defence. At the opening event of the DTM season at Oschersleben (GER), the BMW M4 GT3 proved unable to join the battle for the top positions.

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Andrea Schwab
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Oschersleben. The BMW M Motorsport teams made a bumpy start to their title defence. At the opening event of the DTM season at Oschersleben (GER), the BMW M4 GT3 proved unable to join the battle for the top positions. At its home race, Schubert Motorsport recorded the best results for BMW M Motorsport, with fifth place for René Rast (GER) on Saturday and eleventh for reigning DTM champion Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) on Sunday. The race weekend featured van der Linde receiving the keys to a BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition from his team and BMW M.

 

The BMW M Motorsport drivers and teams had expected much more from a sporting point of view at the Motorsport Arena. Especially in qualifying, the BMW M4 GT3 could not find the fractions of a second required for a top spot on the grid in both races. That meant it was very difficult to make up many positions on a tight circuit where overtaking is very difficult. On Saturday, Rast improved from eighth on the grid to finish fifth in the BMW M4 GT3 on his race debut as a BMW M works driver – a good start to the season for him. Van der Linde and Marco Wittmann (GER) both retired. On Sunday, Rast was forced to exit the race early due to wheel damage. Van der Linde moved up four positions from 15th on the grid, scoring points with an eleventh-place finish. At the first DTM race weekend for the new Project 1 team, Wittmann was also on course for the points on Sunday but a penalty for a rule infringement during a pit stop knocked him back to 18th place.

 

Schubert Motorsport used its home race to treat numerous guests to a diverse programme of events away from the racetrack. The high point was the handover of a very special BMW M road car to Sheldon van der Linde. The 2022 DTM champion received the keys for a limited-edition BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition boasting a special design inspired by the colours of his BMW M4 GT3 from Schubert team principal Torsten Schubert, BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel and Head of BMW M Motorsport Andreas Roos. The Champion Edition, constructed by Schubert Motorsport in agreement with BMW M, is based on a BMW M4 Competition (combined fuel consumption: 9.8 l/100 km acc. WLTP; combined CO2 emissions: 224 – 223 g/km acc. WLTP).

 

Reactions to the DTM weekend at Oschersleben:

 

Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “That was not the start to the season that we had hoped for. Unfortunately, our teams did not manage to place the BMW M4 GT3 high enough in qualifying here at Oschersleben to be able to fight at the front in the races. On Saturday, René Rast and Schubert Motorsport made the best of it with fifth place, and things went a bit better for Sheldon van der Linde and Marco Wittmann in Sunday’s race after they both had to retire on Saturday. Nonetheless, we cannot be satisfied with those results. We demand much more as defending champions. We will now analyse the data precisely and prepare perfectly for the next race weekend at Zandvoort. That applies particularly to the damage to René Rast’s car, which we will take a very close look at. Many thanks to the teams and drivers for their efforts, and congratulations are in order for Torsten Schubert and his crew for the fantastic programme of events that they provided for the BMW Fans and their guests at their home race at Oschersleben.”

 

René Rast (#33 BMW M4 GT3, Schubert Motorsport): “My aim for this weekend was to hit the same pace as Sheldon and Marco. I managed to do that. I was the best BMW driver in both qualifying sessions and I am very pleased about that. Generally speaking, we did as well as could have done by finishing fifth on Saturday. However, Sunday was a day to forget.”

 

Sheldon van der Linde (#1 BMW M4 GT3, Schubert Motorsport): “In racing terms, that was a very difficult weekend for us. It started with qualifying, as we were just not good enough. And if you’re at the back at Oschersleben, things get pretty tough. We really do have to work on that, but I hope that other tracks on the race calendar are better suited to our BMW M4 GT3 than this circuit. We certainly have room for improvement. The handover of the Champion Edition was definitely the highlight of my weekend. I have always dreamed of becoming DTM champion. Receiving the keys for this very special car is the icing on the cake. Many thanks to Schubert Motorsport and BMW M for giving me a souvenir of a fantastic year that will last a lifetime!”

 

Marco Wittmann (#11 BMW M4 GT3, Project 1): “That was a tough weekend for us. We were at a disadvantage in terms of top speed. That cost us time and we will have to look at what caused it. That handicap made things difficult in qualifying and in the races. Apart from that, the car actually went well. I was able to keep pace with the other BMW M4 GT3s through the corners in particular. We had good pace on Sunday, but it was a shame that the penalty right after the safety car period cost us a lot of places as the field was close together, and put paid to our chances of scoring points. We have some homework to do as a team ahead of the next race weekend.”

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