Stefano D’Aste finished first in World Touring Car championship competition at the Salzburgring, Bruno Spengler finished second in the DTM race at Brands Hatch, and the Belgian Marc VDS team came in fourth in the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring.
It appeared that another Chevrolet Cruze rout was in the cards for the World Touring Car Championship races at the Salzburgring in Austria, but a series of punctures in race two vanquished the Chevrolets and enabled Stefano D’Aste to pilot his Weichert 320 TC to a win.
The Chevrolets swept the podium in race one, with Robert Huff leading his teammates Yvan Muller and Alain Menu across the finish line. The best BMW finisher in that race was ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel in eighth.
Coronel took the lead from his second position on the grid in race two, and held on until lap four, when Muller passed him. Huff followed on lap five, and then Menu passed Coronel on lap seven. At that point, Coronel was fourth, with D’Aste on his tail. Then the Chevrolets began to experience left front tire failure, apparently induced by the track’s long and fast turn nine. Menu’s tire went first; he crashed into the Armco on lap eight. Muller and Huff held on until the last lap; Muller’s tire went first, and then Huff’s. Huff blocked Coronel’s attempt to pass him, and D’Aste got by both cars in the final turn, scoring his first WTCC win and the first for his Weichers-Sport team. Coronel, who finished third, remained fourth in drivers’ points going into the Portugal rounds on June 3.
BMW Team Schnitzer’s Bruno Spengler, winner of the previous DTM race on the Lausitzring, finished second at Brand’s Hatch in his M3 DTM. The win went to DTM points leader Gary Paffett of Mercedes. Mike Rockenfeller finished third in his Audi, just ahead of BMW Team RMG’s Martin Tomczyk.
Spengler’s car was slowed after the front splitter was damaged, but he managed to hold off Rockenfeller to preserve his position.
BMW racers Augusto Farfus and Joey Hand finished eleventh and thirteenth, while Dirk Werner finished a lap down in sixteenth. Andy Priaulx retired from his home race after an early-race incident.
The series runs next on June 3 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.
After the factory supported Z4 GT3 teams had problems, the best finishing BMW at the end of this year’s running of the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring was the privateer Belgian Marc VDS Racing Z4 GT3 of Bas Leinders, Markus Palttala, and Maxime Martin. It was the team’s first year in the race.
The overall win went to the Audi R8 driven by Marc Basseng, Christoper Haase, Frank Stippler, and Markus Winkelhock.
One of the Schubert Z4 GT3s led early in the race, the other was a front runner, and the factory supported Vita4One Z4s were strong for a time. But both teams experienced problems over the course of the event. Both Schubert cars experienced driveline problems that required long pit stops that took them out of contention, and one of the Vita4 cars retired after a collision. The Schubert Z4s finished seventh and eighth, with the remaining Vita4 car just behind them in ninth.
Marc VDS team principal Bas Leinders said, “We took a very steady approach to this race and then put everything into it at the end. We only had a few minor problems, which the team dealt with brilliantly. We stayed calm for 24 hours and did a fantastic job. As a private team making its debut here, fourth place is just wonderful.”—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.orgBack to News