Bruno Spengler’s sixth-place finish was BMW’s best in the DTM race at the Norisring in Germany. He finished just behind the Audi of points-leader Michael Rockenfeller, who leads Spengler by just two points going into the next race in Moscow in August.
Spengler started second on the grid, next to the Mercedes of his fellow Canadian, Robert Wickens. Wickens led early, with Spengler on his tail.
Audi’s Mattias Ekstrom—who went on to win the race—got past Spengler on lap 20 and then passed Wickens on lap 23. At that point he was second behind Audi’s Edoardo Mortara; he eventually took the lead, with Mercedes’ Gary Paffett taking over in a late-race pit-stop shuffle. With one lap left, while Mortara was running second to Paffett, he rear-ended Paffett and took both cars out of the race. Ekstrom took the lead, finishing ahead of Wickens and Mercedes’ Christian Vietoris.
Ekstrom was later excluded because his crew poured water into the pockets of his race suit in parc fermé in violation of the series rules. The revised results make Wickens the winner of his first ever DTM race, followed by Vietoris and Mercedes' Daniel Juncadella. Audi is appealing the decision. The results remain provisional pursuing the outcome of the appeal.
There were two early safety car periods, one of which came out when BMW’s Martin Tomczyk hit the wall while battling with Mercedes’ Jamie Green. Tomczyk, who is having a difficult season, exited the race as a result of the incident.
Over the course of the race BMW Team RBM’s Joey Hand, who had started eighteenth, worked his way up to seventh, where he finished just ahead of Andy Priaulx, who had started sixth and had run in the top six early in the race. Two more DTM M3s were next up in the finishing order, with Marco Wittman ninth and Dirk Werner tenth. Timo Glock finished twelfth and Augusto Farfus finished fifteenth. (The positions reported here take into account that all BMW finishers were moved up a position in the revised results). After the revisions the points gap from Rockenfeller to Spengler remains at two, and Werner, who was eleventh, now gets a point for finishing tenth.
Ekstrom ran a long stint on the option tires, while the BMW teams used a more cautious tire strategy. BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said afterward, “We managed to land four cars in the top ten (later amended to five--ed.), but cannot be happy with what was a tough race for us. The two safety car phases had a significant influence and opened up certain strategic options. Our approach was not to take too many risks in terms of the race strategy. However, this did not pay off in today’s conditions. Bruno, in sixth, still managed to score more valuable points, and another three BMW M3 DTMs finished in the top ten (finishing positions later amended--ed.)."
Joey Hand said, “Yesterday after qualifying I felt the car was better than the results showed, and it was as we had better pace today. The boys did a great job to make sure I had a better balanced race car. It seems when we put the option tires on this is always good for me. That was obviously our strong stint, as we put a lot of emphasis on that tire and ran as long as we could. We had two really good pit stops and everything came together. I feel good, because I executed everything properly – perhaps for the first time. I think we made the most out of our day.”
The series runs again on August 4 at Moscow Raceway.—Brian S. MorganBack to News