DTM: BMW elated with dream comeback as Spengler wins 2012 title
By Berthold Bouman
Today was a memorable day for the German BMW car manufacturer, after their comeback to the DTM series, the Bavarian marque took three titles at Hockenheim today: Bruno Spengler won the 2012 Drivers title, BMW Team Schnitzer topped the Teams’ standings and BMW won the Manufacturers’ title as well.
Augusto Farfus left from pole today at the Hockenheimring, but knew he had to support Spengler, and the Brazilian driver didn’t make it very difficult for the experienced Canadian and let him past at the famous Spitzkehre, Spengler won the race while Farfus took third place. Dirk Werner took fifth place for BMW, and with Andy Priaulx in seventh place and Joey Hand in eighth place, BMW had five of their six cars in the top ten today.
More than 128,000 spectators had turned up for the tenth and last venue of the 2012 DTM season, but the most notable guest in the BMW garage was Alessandro Zanardi, the Italian ex-Formula One and ChampCar driver told he still had a special bond with BMW, as he made his racing return with BMW in the World Touring Car Championship in 2005.
BMW wrote history today, after Volker Strycek (DE, 1984), Eric van de Poele (BE, 1987) and Roberto Ravaglia (IT, 1989), Spengler won the championship by finishing first, four points ahead of his Mercedes rival Gary Paffett, who couldn’t find the right speed today and had to be satisfied with second place.
Spengler commented after the race, “I can hardly believe we have won the title with BMW in our first year back in the DTM. Thank you to BMW Team Schnitzer. My team did a great job all season. Once again, everything went exactly to plan today. In a race, in which we were under extreme pressure, the team did another amazing job on the pit stops. You never win on your own — only as part of a team.
“I am totally confused and have no idea how I should be feeling. Standing on the top step of the podium, raising the trophy to the sky and seeing all the many fans cheering for me is an amazing experience. I have waited for this for so many years. It is simply sensational!”
BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said after the race, “Sensational. Awesome. Unbelievable. I still cannot believe what has just happened here. Massive congratulations to Bruno Spengler and BMW Team Schnitzer on winning the Drivers’ and Team titles. This is a big day for everyone at BMW Motorsport.
We returned to the DTM after an absence of almost 20 years and wanted to be competitive as quickly as possible. Now we are here in Hockenheim, and I am talking about winning three titles in our comeback season. BMW Motorsport has written another chapter in motorsport history today. I am unbelievably proud of my team. It is going to be a long night.”
And the German added, “Our goal for the opening year was to learn and become competitive as soon as possible. That we have achieved far more than this and won three titles is testimony to the outstanding job done by the whole team — whether at BMW Motorsport in Munich, among our three teams, or in the cockpit by our drivers.”
And the reaction of Charly Lamm, Team Principal of BMW Team Schnitzer, “I am speechless. This is a very big moment in the motorsport history of BMW Team Schnitzer. To win the title in a final race like that — in such a close battle that came down to Bruno’s nerves and perfect pit stops — fills me with an incredible amount of pride. It still hasn’t sunk in what just happened here.”
And last but not least, the reaction of Farfus, who was so generous to put his own objectives aside and helped BMW to achieve the seemingly impossible today. “Congratulations to Bruno Spengler on winning the title. BMW’s return to the DTM has been awesome. Having five cars in the top ten in today’s race was crucial to winning the Manufacturers’ title. And to top it all off I was the best DTM rookie. Everything is perfect today. Ending the season on the podium is just fantastic!”