Just two races into its comeback season, BMW is back on the top step of the DTM podium: 19 years, six months and 25 days after the last triumph, Canadian Bruno Spengler at the wheel of the BMW Bank M3 DTM, crossed the finish line at the Lausitzring in first place.
BMW’s last victory in DTM was by Italian Roberto Ravaglia who claimed the brand’s 49th victory in the DTM on 11th October 1992 in Hockenheim. It is notable that the team back then that brought the victory was BMW Team Schnitzer, headed by Charly Lamm, the same combination that has brought BMW’s 50th victory today.
Briton Gary Paffet finished second in the second race of the 2012 DTM season at the Lausitzring. After the first two races of the season, Paffett leads the drivers’ standings with 43 points from Jamie Green who is second with 30 points. Mercedes-Benz also leads in the DTM manufacturer championship with 96 points to BMW’s 54 points and Audi’s 52 points.
Right from the first lap, BMW drivers Spengler and Farfus were involved in a thrilling duel with Mercedes’ Paffett and Jamie Green. Spengler defended his lead at the start and then held onto his position at the front of the field, thanks largely to excellent work by BMW Team Schnitzer during the two pit stops.
Jamie Green, 2nd in the opening race of the season Hockenheim a week ago, came 4th. Green posted a time of 1:19.025 minutes, the fastest lap of the race at the Lausitzring.
Reigning DTM champion Martin Tomczyk (BMW M Performance Parts M3 DTM) finished seventh to score six points for BMW Team RMG. His team-mate Joey Hand crossed the line 14th in his SAMSUNG BMW M3 DTM. Andy Priaulx (Crowne Plaza Hotels BMW M3 DTM) the only driver from BMW to have finished the race during the opening round at Hockenheim, managed only a 17th this round. Dirk Werner (E-POSTBRIEF BMW M3 DTM) finished 19th.
In his 45th DTM race, Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) moved up the field from 16th place to P10 and so finished in the points. Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé) and David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) finished in P11 and P12. In his second DTM race, Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) came home in 16th place. Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) was 21st, Robert Wickens (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) did not finish.
Bruno Spengler (car number 7, BMW Team Schnitzer, 1st place):
“Today is a dream come true for me. I am so happy I just want to give everyone at BMW Team Schnitzer a big hug. That was a perfect weekend for me: the first DTM pole position for BMW for 20 years, then the first victory since 1992. This is one of the best days of my life. The race was unbelievable. We had a really tough battle with the Mercedes drivers, and did everything in our power to stay in front of them. Thankfully it worked. The final lap was the longest of my career. My team and I did not put a foot wrong today. That was definitely the crucial factor. One thing is certain: it is time for a celebration.”
Augusto Farfus (car number 16, BMW Team RBM, 3rd place):
“Congratulations to BMW for doing a great job and giving us this car. This is only my second DTM race and we are a very young team in the series. That makes it all the more amazing to finish on the podium at the second race. I feel really great. I had a difficult time in Hockenheim, but we have recovered brilliantly. One week later, this was a very different performance. I am very happy to be able to bring the car to the finish without any mistakes even though I had Jamie Green pushing me for a lot of laps. But I just made sure I stayed calm and made no mistakes. Thanks also to BMW Team RBM for two fantastic pit stops.”
Charly Lamm (Team Principal, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“This is simply fantastic. The DTM is so challenging and the bar has been set so high. Despite this, however, we first claimed pole and then clinched the first victory in only our second race – that is indescribable. It was an unbelievably exciting race. Bruno was consistently under pressure and could not afford to make a single mistake. It is sensational what he did out there. He has nerves of steel. I said in the past that it would come down to stability, strategy and pit stops. That was the case today, and it all worked perfectly for us. Thanks not only to Bruno, but also to every single person in the team. This success is the reward for the hard work they have put in in recent months.”
Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Second:
“It’s such a pity. My THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé had enough speed to win again today. I was just a bit too far behind at the pit-stop. Having said that, my car was really quick and had a brilliant set-up, a tribute to the team. I was also so close to Bruno Spengler’s car that I was losing a bit of down force. However, I did give it my all and being second on the podium within the space of a week is a great result for us, especially after the win in the opening race.”
Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Fourth:
“My Mercedes-AMG C-Coupé was just terrific today. Augusto Farfus drove a fantastic race. I was behind him most of the time, but despite the great pace of my car, I couldn’t get past. Now the focus of my attention has to be on my home race at Brands Hatch where I’m hoping to get back on the podium again.”
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“Both Gary and Jamie had the speed to secure P1, but at this track it is not enough to simply go faster to be able to overtake. Gary started the race from third place, a mere 0.043 seconds adrift of pole position. He immediately moved up one position as the race began but was subsequently unable to get past the rear of Spengler’s car, which he was then forced to follow for about 50 laps.”
Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 10th:
“Our C-Coupé was pretty quick today. The car performed flawlessly and the same applies to the strategy and the pit stops. This enabled us to progress from 16th to 10th place. If I can get a better grid position in the next race, I’ll hopefully not get stuck in traffic and be able to compete with the front runners.”
David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 12th:
“I had to be careful at the start of the race not to collide with any other cars and make sure my car wasn’t damaged. I gave it my all and got the best possible result. I just couldn’t have managed any more than that.”
Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 21st:
“I had a bit of a disappointing race. Straight after my first pit stop I realised that there was no way I could make any great progress in the race. I’ll just have to draw a line in the sand now and look to the future.”