Marco Wittmann in the Ice Watch BMW Team RMG DTM M4 retained his drivers’ points lead with a sixth place finish on the Norisring street course in Nuremberg. Joey Hand, who finished seventh in the Crowne Plaza Team RMB M4 DTM, was the only other BMW racer in the points. The overall win went to Mercedes’ Robert Wickens, who started from the pole position and dominated the race.
The BMWs did not have the pace of the Mercedes and Audis at the Norisring. Wittmann’s eighth and Maxime Martin’s eleventh were BMW’s best grid positions.
The race started in the rain, but the track dried over time. The wet start nullified the requirement that both standard and option slick tires had to be used, but one pit stop was still required. Wittmann and Hand were among those who waited until the track began to dry so they could change from wet weather tires to slicks; those who waited were rewarded. Several racers, including Hand’s teammate Augusto Farfus, elected to pit early, but the strategy did not work, as they had to pit again to mount slicks. While their late stops were very important, they did not guarantee strong finishing positions. Both Wittmann and Hand managed to stay out of trouble and to put on exceptional drives in the rain to score points.
Bruno Spengler of BMW Team Schnitzer finished eleventh, Farfus finished fourteenth, and BMW Team MTEK racers Timo Glock and António Félix da Costa finished fourteenth and twentieth.
Maxime Martin, who ran as high as fifth early in the race, was one of those who had to return to the pits to switch to slicks; he finished seventeenth. Martin Tomczyk retired from the race after a collision with Mercedes’ Gary Paffett. Tomczyk received a three position grid penalty at the next race because of the incident. Félix da Costa received a 20-second penalty for not slowing enough in a yellow flag zone, but the time did not affect his finishing position.
BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said, “That was the tough race we expected. The weather made conditions very difficult, and the race was dominated by the tire strategy. It all came down to switching from wets to slicks at just the right moment. Given the position we
started from, we are not unhappy with the outcome of the race as far as the Drivers’ Championship is concerned. Marco Wittmann had a good race and managed to leave with a few more points to his name. Joey Hand also produced a great display to finish in the points. On the whole, we are obviously not satisfied. We are not here to finish sixth and seventh. When it comes down to it, the total package was not good enough on this circuit, with its special requirements. However, we are pleased to have been able to limit the damage. We are looking ahead now, and expect to fare better in Moscow in two weeks.”—Brian S. Morgan