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Timo Glock secures 2013 DTM drive with BMW after Valencia test

By Berthold Bouman

Timo Glock secures 2013 DTM drive with BMW after Valencia test - Photo: BMW MotorsportAfter a successful test in Valencia, Spain, Timo Glock secured a race seat at the BMW DTM team for the 2013 season. Glock, who agreed to leave the Marussia Formula One team earlier this week, will be BMW’s eighth driver and will race alongside current DTM champion Bruno Spengler (CA), Augusto Farfus (BR), Joey Hand (US), Andy Priaulx (GB), Martin Tomczyk (DE), Dirk Werner (DE) and Marco Wittmann (DE).

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt commented on Glock’s appointment, “We are delighted to have Timo Glock back at BMW Motorsport. Over the course of his career, Timo has proven on more than one occasion how valuable he is to any team, thanks to his driving ability and open manner.”

And he added, “The fact that he is now returning to the BMW family six years after leaving his role as test driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team makes this appointment all the more pleasing. I am confident Timo will take no time at all to find his feet in the DTM and will give the fans a lot of pleasure.”

Timo Glock in the BMW M3 DTM car at Valencia - Photo: BMW Motorsport

Timo Glock in the BMW M3 DTM car at Valencia – Photo: BMW Motorsport

Glock is looking forward to the new challenge, “I had a fantastic time in Formula One, but am now looking forward to battling for victories again with my old friends at BMW Motorsport. That is the approach I shall be taking to the challenge of the DTM. I am obviously aware I will have to adapt to a few areas. Not all former Formula One drivers have found their feet immediately in the DTM.”

The 30-year old German driver, who spent five years of his race career in Formula One, had no problems adapting to the BMW M3 DTM car , “As someone who has spent many years driving in single-seaters, it was obviously very different for me to suddenly find myself in a car with a roof over my head. Fortunately the BMW M3 DTM made it very easy for me to adapt. The same goes for the members of the BMW Motorsport team, who welcomed me with open arms.”

About the past three years with Marussia he commented, “It was not always easy to spend three years in Formula One regularly watching other drivers from behind who were sometimes doing a worse job than me, but were still way ahead as they were in better cars. You want to finally be back challenging at the front of the field again and are hungry for good results. This hunger became more intense over the winter. Now is the right time for me to make a change. I am really up for the DTM!”

Asked about his goals for his debut season he said, “Even though I will initially have an awful lot to learn, I would obviously like to be in the points and, where possible, challenge for podiums. Augusto Farfus showed in 2012 what can be achieved as a rookie. That is driving me on. I want to get the very maximum out of my package and claim the best results possible for BMW.”

The DTM season starts at May 5 at the German Hockenheimring, and will end on October 20 on the same circuit. This season there are ten races, and one show event scheduled.

BMW completes first test at Valencia, Timo Glock happy with BMW M3 car

By Berthold Bouman

BMW completes first test at Valencia, Timo Glock happy with BMW M3 car - Photo: BMW MotorsportsBMW also successfully completed their first test of the 2013 season in Valencia, Spain. While Mercedes gave Robert Kubica a taste of their DTM car, BMW also had two special guests today: Formula One refugee Timo Glock and touring car driver Thomas Biagi.

Regular BMW works drivers Bruno Spengler (CA), Augusto Farfus (BR), Andy Priaulx (GB), Martin Tomczyk (DE) and Marco Wittmann (DE) were on duty at the wheel of the BMW M3 DTM the past three days at Valencia. Also new BMW team MTEK was present at the 4.005-kilometre Circuit de la Comunitat, unfortunately today’s test session was interrupted by heavy rain this morning.

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said, “Everyone at BMW Motorsport and all of our teams were desperately looking forward to the first test of the year. Our new team, BMW Team MTEK, enjoyed its first outing and Marco Wittmann took to the track as a regular DTM driver for the first time.”

About his guest drivers he commented, “Timo Glock and BMW Sports Trophy winner Thomas Biagi also made their debuts at the wheel of the BMW M3 DTM. That was a successful start to our preparations. However, we still have a lot of work ahead of us before the DTM season-opener on 5th May. At any rate, it is nice the new season is gaining momentum.”

Timo Glock happy with BMW M3 car - BMW Motorsports

Timo Glock felt at home at the BMW DTM team

After a long winter stop, 2012 DTM Champion Bruno Spengler was more than happy to get behind the wheel of his BMW again, “As soon as I stepped out of the plane in Valencia, I was immediately looking forward to getting back in the car after the long break. It was a very special feeling to drive out of the garage with the number one on my car for the first time. On the opening few laps it felt as though I had never got out of the car after the 2012 finale in Hockenheim.”

Glock, who agreed to end his contract with the Marussia Formula One team, was positive about his run with a, for him, unknown car. “My first impressions of the BMW M3 DTM were very positive. It did not take me long to get used to the car, and I came to understand it better with every lap. The fact that we were able to test in all conditions, from wet to dry, was perfect,” said the 30-year old German.

He felt very much at ease at the BMW DTM team, and a very relaxed Glock said, “I have been given a sensational welcome by everyone in the BMW Motorsport team, and even knew a few people from my time as a test driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team.”

For the other guest driver Biagi, his outing in the BMW M3 was a dream come true. “Ever since I first heard that BMW Motorsport was returning to the DTM, I have dreamed of one day driving this BMW M3 DTM. That dream came true today. I knew I would enjoy this moment. But now, after 66 laps at the wheel of this unbelievable car, I’m simply speechless,” said the Italian driver.

And he added, “I would like to say a big thank you to BMW Motorsport for giving me this chance, and for the great support that privateers like me receive through the BMW Sports Trophy.”

Neither Glock nor Marquardt have made any comments about a possible BMW race seat for 2013, but BMW will compete with eight cars this season, if this test went well for Glock, surely Marquardt will find a place for him in one of his BMW teams.

All Photos: BMW Motorsport

Photo Gallery: Kubica completes first day of testing Mercedes DTM car

By Berthold Bouman

Photo Gallery: Kubica completes first day of testing Mercedes DTM carEx-Formula One driver Robert Kubica completed his first test in the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé on 24th January 2013 at Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo. During this first test session in the world’s most popular touring car series, Kubica had to get accustomed to the handling characteristics of a racing car with which he was totally unfamiliar. He covered 114 laps, which equates to 456.570 kilometres, of the 4.005km circuit where he has posted so many test kilometres in Formula One in the past.

The 28-year old Kubica said about his first day of testing, “My first day of testing in a DTM car was great fun and I learned a lot about the series and the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. The first installation lap was in the dry, then a few heavy showers of rain came down and we had to wait for the track to dry out.”

And he added, “All in all, it was a good experience, getting to know the car in different weather conditions. I was able to get to grips with the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé and felt very comfortable in the car, even though after my long break it meant adjusting to the high downforce that a state-of-the art DTM race car produces. I’m very pleased with my performance on this first day of DTM testing and had no problems whatsoever in the car.”

All Photos: Daimler-Benz

Timo Glock to test BMW M3 DTM car in Valencia this week

By Berthold Bouman

Timo Glock to test BMW M3 DTM car in Valencia this week - Photo: Marussia F1After his sudden departure from the Marussia Formula One team, Timo Glock will this week test a BMW M3 DTM car . The 30-year old German driver will test the BMW M3 on the Circuit de la Comunitat in Valencia, Spain.

In a statement BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said, “We are pleased to be able to offer Timo Glock the opportunity to get to know our BMW M3 DTM in Valencia. Timo has demonstrated his driving ability over many years, particularly in Formula One. It is made all the nicer by the fact that he is, to a certain degree, returning to his roots in testing for BMW Motorsport.”

Glock, who yesterday hinted he already had made some plans for the future, was of course happy with the opportunity given by BMW. “I have fond memories of my time with BMW Motorsport and am very excited about testing the BMW M3 DTM,” said Glock. “Furthermore, I am bound to see a few familiar faces in Valencia from my previous time with BMW. I am really looking forward to it,” said the German.

Glock and BMW already worked together in 2000 and 2001, and won the Formula BMW ADAC title in 2001.

Glock will test BMW M3 DTM car this week - Photo: Marussia F1

Glock is a very experienced driver, he drove for Jordan four times in 2004 to replace Giorgio Pantano, and then spent one year in the American Champcar Series in 2005 — where he finished the season in eighth place — before he tried his luck in the GP2 series in 2006 and 2007. In 2007 he not only won the GP2 title, but he also re-started his Formula One career in 2007, as he was also appointed as the official test driver of the BMW Sauber Formula One team.

In 2008 Glock moved to the Japanese Toyota Formula One team, and did a pretty good job as he finished tenth in the Drivers’ Championship in 2008 and 2009. In 2010 he started his three-year stint with Marussia, then Virgin Racing (2010), and later Marussia Virgin Racing (2011).

Yesterday Marussia and Glock announced they would part company although he had a valid contract until the end of 2014.

Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug to leave after 2012

By Berthold Bouman

Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug to leave after 2012After 22 years Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug will retire at the end of this year. The Mercedes-Benz company reported the 60-year old German will end his career ‘with mutual agreement’. Haug actually started his career as a motorsport journalist, not without success, as he in 1988 became deputy chief editor of the German Auto, Motor und Sport magazine, the German authority on motorsports worldwide.

Haug joined Mercedes in 1990 when he became head of the Motorsport Division; his task was to revive Mercedes’ credentials in motorsport as they had abandoned all motorsport activities after the 1955 Le Mans drama which cost Mercedes driver Frenchman Pierre Levegh and 80 spectators their life.

Haug made Mercedes successful again in Group C racing, DTM and several international touring car championships. Formula One was still on Mercedes’ to-do list and they started to supply engines built by Ilmore to the Sauber team in 1993. But at the end of 1994 Peter Sauber switched to the Ford Zetec engines, and in 1995 Mercedes became the engine supplier for the McLaren team, a relationship that still stands today.

In 2010 the  mother company Daimler bought together, with investment company Aabar, the Brawn GP Formula One team, and turned it into the as yet not very successful Mercedes GP team. A few weeks ago Daimler purchased the remaining shares from Aabar and now fully owns the Mercedes Formula One team.

Nico Rosberg, Norbert Haug and Michael Schumacher - Photo: Daimler

Nico Rosberg, Norbert Haug and Michael Schumacher

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and CEO of Daimler AG praised Haug for his work at Mercedes. “For me, he put his stamp on a whole era and, as a highlight, he was responsible for the successful comeback of the Silver Arrows to Formula One. In the name of the Board of Management and the whole motorsport family, I would like to thank Norbert for his extraordinary commitment to the three-pointed star,” he said.

Haug commented on his leaving, “I would like to thank the best car company in the world for more than 22 years, which never had a single moment without passion for me. I particularly wish to thank the Board for the trust and freedom they have always given me with all my activities. Since 1991, we had tremendous achievements and wins, for which I want to thank all of my colleagues.”

About the lack of success of the Mercedes Formula One team Haug said, “Unfortunately, with one victory in 2012 since founding our own Formula One works team in 2010, we couldn’t fulfil our own expectations. However, we have taken the right steps to be successful in the future. Our team and our drivers will do everything to achieve these goals.”

DTM: Jamie Green to compete for Audi after eight years with Mercedes

By Berthold Bouman

DTM: Jamie Green to compete for Audi after eight years with MercedesMercedes driver Jamie Green moves to Audi next year, Audi confirmed today. The ‘King of the Norisring’, as he has won the event four times, made the switch after an eight-year stint with Mercedes. Audi called the move a ‘spectacular transfer’ in one of the most beloved touring car series in Europe: the German DTM series.

“Audi is a fascinating brand with fantastic products,” Green said. “And I’m convinced that with Audi, I’ll be able to achieve what I’ve been deprived of so far: to win the DTM title.” But the 30-year old Brit found it hard to leave his current team, “I really owe my previous employer a lot and making the change after so many joint years has certainly not been easy for me. But I carefully considered this step and look forward to a new challenge — I can’t wait to sit in the Audi A5 for the first time.”

Audi confirms Green switch - Photo: Audi MotorsportHead of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich is happy to have Green in his Audi team, “There’s no doubt about Jamie Green being one of the best DTM racers currently in the field.”

And he added, “He proved this in 2012 and was more or less able to choose the manufacturer he wanted to compete for in the DTM — we’re delighted that he has opted for Audi and convinced that with his experience and speed, he’ll truly be strengthening our DTM squad.”

Green started his career in single-seater racing, the highlight of his career was winning the British Formula Three Euro Series title in 2004, racing against Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, among others. Green moved to the DTM series in 2005, and scored two pole positions during his maiden season.

Green is an experienced driver, he has participated in 83 DTM races, winning eight of them, scored six pole positions and set the fastest lap 13 times and this year finished in third place after a titanic battle with his marque colleague Gary Paffett and BMW driver Bruno Spengler.

DTM: Alessandro Zanardi drives BMW M3 DTM at Nurburgring

By Berthold Bouman

Alessandro Zanardi drove the BMW M3 DTM car at the German Nurburgring today, the 46-year old Italian drove 36 laps in a special gold painted BMW as part of a three-day celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of BMW M, and of course to celebrate their successful return to the DTM series.

Alessandro Zanardi at the Nurburgring today

Zanardi, who won two gold and one silver medal on his handbike at the Paralympic Games in London, didn’t need much time to get used to the car and according to BMW driving the technically complex DTM car proved to be no obstacle for the Italian, who lost both legs during a ChampCar accident in 2001 on the German Lausitzring.

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said about Zanardi, “I am delighted we have taken on this adventure successfully with Alessandro Zanardi. For years he has been a valued member of the BMW Motorsport family and is a great role model for us all. Despite his handicap, he approaches every challenge with great optimism and passes every test with flying colours.

“His medals at the Paralympic Games in London are fine examples of this, as are the four race victories he achieved in the FIA World Touring Car Championship for BMW Motorsport. As we have seen today, the challenge of driving the technically complex BMW M3 DTM also proved to be no obstacle for him.”

“I am overjoyed to have been given the opportunity to drive the BMW M3 DTM today,” said Zanardi. “This is a very special day for me, and one I will always remember fondly. I would like to thank everyone at BMW who has helped make this special moment possible for me. It was a challenge to modify the car to meet my requirements and I am surprised just how quickly the BMW Motorsport engineers managed to complete the necessary modifications.

Alessandro Zanardi inspects his car

“However, the guys have done a great job. I had great fun out on the track. When I first saw the golden car I was overwhelmed. I still have a passion for racing.”

But whether Zanardi will make a race return in the DTM series still remains uncertain, and Zanardi commented, “However, I’m not sure whether our demonstration drive will be anything more than just that, as the level in the DTM may possibly prove to be too high for someone of my age. As such, my main focus is on something completely different after today’s drive: I felt that the BMW family is still behind me and loves me. They showed that once again today.”

Canadian Bruno Spengler took the 2012 DTM crown for BMW after a 20-year absence, BMW also took the 2012 DTM manufacturer’s title, while BMW Team Schnitzer ended the season at the top of the team standings, and to top it off, BMW driver Brazilian Augusto Farfus was crowned Rookie of the Year 2012.

Zanardi to test BMW M3 DTM at the Nurburgring next month

By Berthold Bouman

Alessandro Zanardi will test a BMW M3 DTM car at the Nurburgring next month, BMW today confirmed. The Italian racing driver, who lost his legs after a horrific accident in the ChampCar series in 2001 at the German Lauzitzring, and won gold at the 2012 Paralympics in London in the men’s road time trial H4, will test the BMW car on November 18.

Jens Marquardt and Alessandro Zanardi

Zanardi already drove for BMW in the Word Touring Car Championship from 2005 to 2009 in a car modified to allow the use of his prosthetic feet, and in 2006 tested a modified BMW Sauber Formula One car in Valencia, Spain.

Today Zanardi was at the headquarters of the Bavarian BMW company in Munich where, according to a statement issued by BMW, ‘he and the BMW Motorsport engineers went through all the points that need clarifying before this kind of outing — both from a technical point of view and with regard to safety’.

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said, “We are delighted to offer Alessandro Zanardi this outing in the BMW M3 DTM, he has been a member of the BMW Motorsport family for many years, so we are very keen to offer him this chance to drive the BMW M3 DTM.”

About the car modifications Marquardt said, “We will obviously have to make a few modifications to the car. A DTM car is considerably more complex than the BMW 320si WTCC, with which Alex won on four occasions for us in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. However, our engineers happily accepted this challenge.”

The man himself is obviously looking forward to November 18, and he commented, “I would like to thank Jens Marquardt and all my friends at BMW Motorsport here and now for this unique opportunity. I always feel like coming back to my family when I’m here at BMW Motorsport.

“When I saw the BMW M3 DTM up close for the first time in Hockenheim, I found myself feeling like a racing driver again after all those months as a handcyclist. It is a great honour for any driver to get behind the wheel of such a fantastic car. I will enjoy every lap!”

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.

Spengler took the 2012 DTM title for BMW

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!”

Spengler takes DTM crown for BMW after Hockenheim thriller

By Berthold Bouman

A sensational race at the German Hockenheimring today, as Bruno Spengler (BMW Team Schnitzer) crossed the finish line first to take the 2012 Deutsche Tourenwagen-Masters  (DTM) Championship for BMW, the Bavarian team did the impossible: they won the title in their first year of their return to the DTM series.

Bruno Spengler and team boss Charly Lamm

“I can hardly believe we have won the title with BMW in our first year back in the DTM. Congratulations to my rival Gary Paffett, who performed brilliantly throughout the entire season and put up a fair fight. He would also have been a worthy champion,” said Spengler.

And he added, “He put me under a lot of pressure in the final race today. I spent a lot of time looking in the rear-view mirror and he just kept getting closer. However, I was able to maintain my pace and close the race out. I have waited for this for so many years. It is simply sensational.”

The race can only be described as one of the most exiting season finales in the DTM history, unfortunately Gary Paffett (Mercedes Team HWA) couldn’t match Spengler’s pace and finished in second place, while third title contender Jamie Green (Mercedes Team HWA) finished the race in fourth place.

Twenty-two cars lined up for the final race of the season on a sunny and dry Hockenheimring, a good start was pivotal for the three championship leaders, but also for pole-sitter Augusto Farfus (BMW Team RBM). Everything that could go wrong went wrong for Paffett as he had a slow start, Joey Hand (BMW Team RMG) and Mattias Ekstrom (Audi Sport team Abt Sportsline) passed him, but luckily for Paffett, the pair collided at the Spitzkehre and Paffett was back in 3rd place again.

Meanwhile Farfus did what was expected of him and let his marque colleague Spengler past, and thus the Canadian was leading after the first lap. Green made good use of the confusion and took sixth place, Paffett was already closing the gap to Farfus who certainly would not let the Briton past without a fight.

Further down the order Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes Team HWA) and Martin Tomczyk (BMW Team RMG) were fighting for tenth place, while at the back of the field Adrien Tambay (Audi Sport Team Abt) and Mike Rockenfeller (Audi Sport Team Phoenix Racing) were seen with damaged cars, and not much later both had to give up their race.

Spengler had built up a 2.7 second gap to Paffett, all the more reason for Paffett to put the pressure on Farfus in second place, but the latter of course had been instructed to make life as difficult as possible for Paffett.

After ten laps the order was: Spengler, Farfus, Paffett, Ekstrom, Green and Hand was in sixth place. Farfus was the first to make a pit stop, Paffett followed him and the pair exited the pit lane side-by-side, but Paffett kept his foot down and wrestled his way past the Brazilian.

Spengler was next, he rejoined the race in fourth place, ahead of Paffett and Farfus. Green also pitted, but his crew made mistakes and he rejoined the race in eighth place, at the same moment Ekstrom had to retire as his right front wheel hadn’t been secured properly during his stop and he had to park his car along the circuit.

Paffett was now on a mission as he had Spengler in sight once more, but the Briton’s move in the pit lane was under investigation for an ‘unsafe release’. Only 3.3 seconds separated the two title candidates, and Paffett was fighting for every tenth of a second. Good news for him as Race Control decided to take no further action regarding his unsafe release in the pit lane.

After 21 of the 42 laps it was time for the second round of pit stops, Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) and Andy Priaulx (BMW Team RBM) were the first to pit. One lap later more drivers came in, which resulted in more pushing and shoving in the pit lane.

The number three, Farfus was next and without problems he rejoined the race, but all eyes were now of course on Spengler and Paffett. Mercedes called in Paffett, there was a problem with the right front wheel which cost Paffett an extra two seconds, but when he rejoined the race he had at least Farfus still behind him.

Spengler came in next, his BMW pit crew made no mistakes and he rejoined the race still in leading position, while Paffett was complaining about the slower drivers ahead of him, especially Dirk Werner (BMW Team Schnitzer) who of course tried to help his team colleague Spengler a bit, and was making life difficult for Paffett.

Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Team Phoenix Racing) caused yellow flags at the entrance of the Motodrome as he had crashed at the Sachs Kurve, and both Spengler and Paffett had to slow down, both unwilling to risk a penalty for ignoring yellow flags.

But when the green flags were waved at the Sachs Kurve again, Paffett was just 2.2 seconds behind Spengler, Green was fourth, 18 seconds behind Spengler, and effectively out of the running for the title. Both Spengler and Paffett were under enormous pressure, and it showed, as Paffett ran wide a the first turn, while Spengler locked up his front tyres at the Spitzkehre.

Paffett didn’t give up and with only ten laps to go was 1.2 seconds behind Spengler, who became more and more nervous. The tension was palpable, both team crews nervously gave their drivers instructions over the radio, and spectators on the main grandstand were cheering on their favourite driver.

Second place was not enough for Paffett to grab the title

Paffett was warned not to run wide again at the first turn like he had done for the past six laps, at that point the difference was still about one second, and there were only three laps to go. Both drivers were on the limit, just one tiny mistake and it could all be over. One lap to go and the 128,000 spectators at the Hockenheimring went crazy, but still one second separated both drivers.

But it was Spengler who crossed the finish line first, Paffett was second and Farfus third. A formidable achievement for BMW to win the title in their first year of their return. Next year BMW will also have eight cars in the championship, which means 24 cars will start the 2013 season at the Hockenheimring.

Paffett was of course disappointed, but nevertheless paid tribute to his team, “My team has done brilliantly well this season in terms of performance and it is very unfortunate that we missed winning the championship title in the last race by four points.

“So in the immediate aftermath of the race, disappointment sits deep, of course, because from my point of view we deserved to win the championship title just as much as Bruno Spengler and BMW. Congratulations to Bruno on his first DTM title! We will go on the attack again next year to take the championship!”

Green finished in third place of the championship and said, “Third place in the Drivers’ Championship, my best result so far, proves that I had a strong season in 2012. I had a chance of winning the title in the finale at Hockenheim this weekend, but nevertheless, I am satisfied with my year. Congratulations to Bruno Spengler and BMW. Bad luck for Gary, he deserved the title win.”

DTM: Farfus beats Paffett to pole for season finale at Hockenheimring

By Berthold Bouman

Brazilian Augusto Farfus (BMW Team RBM) beat DTM championship leader Gary Paffett (Mercedes Team HWA) to pole for the last race of the season at the Hockeheimring. Paffett will leave from second spot on the grid tomorrow, and his main rival Bruno Spengler (BMW Team Schnitzer) from third spot. Jamie Green (Mercedes Team HWA) didn’t make it into the final top-four shoot-out and will start the race from tenth place.

Augusto Farfus on pole for season finale

Of course, Farfus was very pleased with his second consecutive pole for BMW, “I have to admit I didn’t expect to be on pole and believed a top five would be good. Then, when I made it to Q4, I realised we could try for pole, and it worked out. Many thanks to the team because we changed the car a little bit during qualifying and it worked well.”

Qualifying sessions

A dry and sunny Hockenheim circuit this afternoon, David Coulthard (Mercedes Team Mucke Motorsport), who will leave the DTM series after this weekend’s race, was the first to be in trouble as his right front wheel hadn’t been secured properly and the ex-Formula One driver was lucky to make it back to the garage.

Green and Paffett were leading with ten minutes remaining in Q1, not much later Spengler came out for his first timed lap, but he was visibly struggling with his car and took third place, however, his second lap was much better and the Canadian took second place at the time.

Rookie Adrian Tambay (Audi Sport Team Abt) again impressed as he scored fourth fastest time, which was his ticket to the second qualifying session. Not so lucky were Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes Team HWA), he missed Q2 by only six-thousandths of a second, also out were Robert Wickens (Mercedes Team Mucke Motorsport), Roberto Merhi (Mercedes Team Persson Motorsport), Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Team Phoenix Racing), Coulthard, and Susie Wolff (Mercedes Team Persson Motorsport), who will also retire from the DTM series.

In the second session Mattias Ekstrom (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) was fastest, but the leading trio in the championship, Paffett, Spengler and Green were out quickly as they didn’t want to waste any time trying to get into Q3. Green ran very wide, but made it back on the track but at the same moment crossed the path of Spengler who was on a fast lap, while Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) was seen jumping the kerbs and the Italian’s car was even airborne for a second or two.

Spengler then took first place, while Green was still in 16th and last place, he picked up a new set of tyres and quickly went out again, and with only two minutes on the clock managed to fight his way back to the top and recorded the third-fastest time. Paffett also went out again on a new set of tyres, and took first place from Spengler, and thus the three title contenders made it into Q3.

Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) didn’t make it into the third qualifying session, neither did Mike Rockenfeller (Audi Sport Team Phoenix Racing), Christian Vietoris (Mercedes Team HWA), Andy Priaulx (BMW Team RBM), Tambay and Rahel Frey (Audi Sport Team Abt).

Ten drivers lined up for the last session, all hoping to make it into the final top-four shoot-out for pole. But this time it was a waiting game, Paffett, Spengler and Green stayed in the garage until there were just four minutes left and they in fact only had two laps to qualify for the shoot-out.

A perfect lap for Spengler, as he took second place, behind him was Paffett as the Briton took third place, while Green was tenth and last. Another fast lap for Spengler, but he was not able to improve his time and stayed in second position. Green had one last chance, but he simply wasn’t fast enough, his car was sliding from left to right as he couldn’t find enough grip, and he finished Q3 in tenth place.

Also out were Joey Hand (BMW Team RMG), Martin Tomczyk (BMW Team RMG), Dirk Werner (BMW Team Schnitzer), Timo Scheider (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) and Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Team Rosberg).

Gary Paffett, Mercedes

Final top-four shoot-out

Ekstrom was the first driver to set a time in the final shoot-out, the Swede made no mistakes and was again fast and lapped the circuit in 1m34.627s. Next was Paffett, he was 0.100 seconds faster in the first section, 0.284s in the second section, made a tiny mistake when he entered the Motodrome, but was nevertheless 0.366 seconds faster than Ekstrom.

It was then Spengler’s turn, he was 0.002s faster in the first section, but lost 0.064s in the second section, and finished 0.007s behind Paffett. Brazilian Farfus was next, and he surprised friend and foe by taking the fastest time, in the end he was 0.121s faster than Paffett.

Paffett said, “Pole position was my goal, but still, I’m on the front row of the grid and so feel very relaxed about the last race of the season tomorrow. I’m looking forward to an exciting and fair season finale. I’ve already won four races at Hockenheim and secured seven podium finishes, so I’m extremely optimistic about this last race of the season.”

Spengler commented, “I am very happy with my third place. We had a few minor problems in practice this morning, but quickly managed to get on top of them. BMW Team Schnitzer did a great job. We can now look forward to a real showdown in the final race. It cannot get any better for the fans!”

For Green it will be an almost impossible task to grab the title, he must win the race, and his rival Paffett should not score more than six points, while Spengler should not score more than nine points.

“Tenth place is not brilliant in terms of my championship chances, but unfortunately, I was just not quick enough. But I’m still in with a chance – even in the title fight – starting from tenth place in tomorrow’s race. If I can make it safely through the first turn, then I can achieve a decent result, even from P10,” Green stated.

Susie Wolff and David Coulthard to retire from DTM series

By Berthold Bouman

Fans of the German Touringcar Championship (DTM) know what these two drivers have in common, they were both born in Scotland, and both will unfortunately retire from the DTM championship after the last race of the season at Hockenheim this weekend, their names: Susie Wolff and David Coulthard.

Hockenheim will be the last DTM race for Susie Wolff

Susie Wolff

Wolff obviously wants more time for her role as development driver for the Williams Formula One team, and after seven years in DTM, will say goodbye to her fans at Hockenheim this weekend. In those seven years she contested 73 DTM races for Mercedes, and many fans will miss the pink painted Mercedes she always drives.

Wolff started in 2006 with the Mucke Team, and finished in the top ten during her first race. “Driving for Mercedes-Benz AMG in the DTM, one of the best championships in the world, has been an incredible journey that started seven years ago for me and I am very proud to have been part of such a great team,” she said.

And she further commented, “Along the way I have enjoyed some really exciting racing, had some tough fights and met some brilliant people. I am very grateful and feel lucky to have achieved this and will always be thankful for the opportunity Mercedes-Benz AMG and HWA gave me. Most importantly, thank you to all of my fans who have supported me. Be assured I am by no means ready to hang up my helmet yet and am looking forward to exciting new opportunities in the future.”

David Coulthard

Coulthard retires after a relatively short DTM career, he participated in 33 DTM races, but now wants more time for his role as Formula One pundit and commentator for the BBC. The now 41-year old Coulthard has scored 16 points in his DTM career, and posted the fastest race lap twice. The Scot became a familiar sight on the German tracks in his bright yellow Mercedes.

He also had an impressive Formula One career, he participated in 246 Grands Prix from 1994 until 2008, and DC as his nick name is, won 13 races for McLaren before he moved to Red Bull Racing in 2005. In 2008 he retired from Formula One and joined the DTM circus, but perhaps wasn’t as successful as he had hoped to be.

“I am looking forward to the final race of what has been an exciting season in the DTM,” Coulthard said, adding, “The weekend will be my final opportunity to compete at this level as I will stop racing in the DTM to concentrate on my developing off-track businesses and of course my family.”

Last DTM race for David Coulthard as well

Of course Coulthard found his way to DTM via Mercedes, and he thanked Mercedes Motorsport Director Norbert Haug, “I would like to thank first of all Norbert Haug and his team at Mercedes Motorsport for providing the opportunity, Deutsche Post for their support and their willingness to allow the Wings for Life Foundation to have promotional space on the car, which has helped raise awareness and funding for the research into spinal cord injuries.

“Thank you, as well, to the HWA and Mücke teams for patiently helping me with the transition from single-seaters to touring cars, and of course to the people who make professional sport sustainable, the fans. I have enjoyed the last three years and I wish the organizers and competitors in DTM continued growth and success with the championship.”

And thus, after this weekend’s race at the Hockenheimring, we say goodbye to a Scotsman and a Scotswoman, it has been a pleasure seeing them race, and Grand Prix Journal wishes them all the best for the future.

DTM: Paffett, Spengler and Green ready for title showdown at Hockenheim

By Berthold Bouman

DTM championship leader Gary Paffett (Mercedes Team HWA), second place man Bruno Spengler (BMW Team Schnitzer) and third place man Jamie Green (Mercedes Team HWA), are all geared up for the season finale at the German Hockenheimring. These three drivers are the only ones who can still win the 2012 DTM title.

Gary Paffett, Mercedes

Paffett, who has been leading the championship since the very first race at Hockenheim in April, has lost most of the advantage he had in the standings, as after nine races, Spengler is only three points, and Green 18 points behind him.

Paffett, who has won two races this season, is confident he can grab the title on Sunday. “In the past, Hockenheim has always been a good stomping ground for me — at no other track have I won more DTM races and finished so frequently on the podium as at the Hockenheimring,” said the Briton. And he added, “At the season opener in Hockenheim five and a half months ago, Jamie and I secured a one-two win. I would like to be in contention for another win in the finale at Hockenheim and hopefully secure the championship.”

Spengler won three races this season and is already in ‘racing mode’ after he arrived at the Hockenheimring on Thursday. BMW joined Audi and Mercedes this year, and the results have certainly exceeded the Canadian’s expectations. Spengler will be fighting for the title for the third time in his DTM career, but it would be a major achievement if he could grab the title for BMW in the year they made their return. How did he prepare for such a task?

”I’ve done a lot of fitness training. Then, on Thursday, I came to Hockenheim. From now on, I’m in racing mode. Before qualifying I do a lap of the track in my head with my eyes closed. People watching on TV will probably have seen me doing this from time to time. Apart from that, I always put my left racing shoe on before my right. I do that before every race,” Spengler explained.

Bruno Spengler, BMW

“I’m not thinking about how the past races went at all. I’m going into the final in neutral and — as always — I’ll give the best performance I can together with BMW Team Schnitzer. Then we’ll see what comes out of it at the end. We can all be very happy with what we’ve already achieved in 2012!”

Green, who won one race this season, was less successful at the start of the season but by continuously scoring points has made his way back to the top again. Although he’s perhaps the underdog, he still is in a position to win the DTM championship,” I still have a chance of winning the championship in our home race at the season finale in Hockenheim.

“It’s possible to make up an 18-point deficit with the new system of scoring, but of course, I will have to wait and see what results Gary and Bruno Spengler achieve this weekend before I dare look at the standings.”

Tomorrow morning is the final free practice session, and in the afternoon the all important qualifying session, with the usual final top four shoot-out for the last pole position of the 2012 season.

DTM: Spengler gives BMW third victory of the season at Oschersleben

By Berthold Bouman

A magnificent drive from Bruno Spengler (BMW Team Schnitzer) at Oschersleben this afternoon, the flying Canadian again came closer to his championship rival Gary Paffett (Mercedes Team HWA) by finishing ahead of the Briton, after an exiting race with the usual first corner incidents.

Spengler won at Oschersleben and moved into second place of the championship

After his win Spengler said, “Today is a great day for BMW. We produced a fantastic team result. I have often been on the podium in Oschersleben, and now I have finally managed to win here. It was really close again at the end. Gary Paffett was getting closer and closer and really put me under pressure. However, my car was fantastic. I could not afford to make any mistakes – and thankfully I didn’t.

Problems for Adrien Tambay (Audi Sport Team Abt) before the start, his car was pushed from the grid back to the garage as he had an alternator problem and the Frenchman had to start the race from the pit lane. Thus 21 cars on the tarmac when the lights turned to green for the eighth round of the Deutschen Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) at a dry and sunny Motorsport Arena Oschersleben.

Pole-sitter Spengler was the first to enter the first corner, while behind him Paffett and Jamie Green (Mercedes Team HWA) diced for second place, a battle won by Paffett. A very bad start for Mattias Ekstrom (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline), as the Swede couldn’t get away and almost stalled the engine and when he finally found some speed got caught in the first-corner melee and was then 21st and last.

Both David Coulthard (Mercedes Team Mucke Motorsport) and Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Team Phoenix Racing) had damage after the first-corner incident and had to return to the pits for a quick repair. Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes Team HWA) was also involved and lost a lot of places after he was pushed around in the first corner, he could continue the race but fell back to 19th place. Coulthard meanwhile, encountered more problems with his damaged yellow Mercedes and had to retire.

Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) also reported he had problems, while Spengler, Paffett and Green were still leading the race. Mortara cruised to the pits and parked his car in the garage with heavily damaged front-bodywork.

Green started to lose ground to second-place man Paffett, while the latter still had leader Spengler in his sights. More retirements, Mortara also had too much damage and parked his car in the Audi garage while Rahel Frey (Audi Sport Team Abt) and Susie Wolff (Mercedes Team Persson Motorsport) had to retire as well.

Martin Tomczyk (BMW Team RMG) and Timo Scheider (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) were fighting for ninth place, a battle won by 2011 DTM Champion Tomczyk, who sneaked past Scheider at the first corner. Christian Vietoris (Mercedes Team HWA) tried to do the same but lost control and spun, losing several places as well in the process.

After 14 laps it was time for the first round of pit stops, Spengler and Green were the first to change tyres and rejoined the race in sixth and eighth position respectively. Two laps later Paffett came in, and after a quick flawless tyre change rejoined in sixth place, but he was still behind Spengler who had moved up to fourth place thanks to a little help of Ekstrom, who let the Canadian past without a fight.

After all had made their first stop, Spengler was again leading, followed by Paffett, Vietoris, who was on a different pit stop schedule, Green, Dirk Werner (BMW Team Schnitzer) and Augusto Farfus (BMW Team RBM) was sixth. Tomczyk encountered cooling problems and parked his car in the BMW garage, again a race without points for the 2011 DTM Champion.

After 26 laps it was time for the second round of pit stops, Spengler was still comfortably leading as he had 3.5 seconds on Paffett, while Green was 13 seconds behind the leader, and thus it was very unlikely the pit stops would change the order. Spengler was the first to make his stop, he rejoined in fifth place right behind Ekstrom, who again let him past without any problems.

Next was Paffett, no problems for the Briton and he rejoined in fifth place, behind Spengler and Ekstrom. Paffett drove right at the limit to keep up with Spengler, but he still had to pass Ekstrom, who soon made his last stop, and after Farfus, who was temporarily leading, also had made his last stop, the order was again the same as at the start of the race: Spengler was leading, followed by Paffett, Green and Werner.

Behind the top four Farfus and Rockenfeller were dicing for fifth place, while Wickens and Albuquerque were dicing for seventh place, and behind those two, Ekstrom and Scheider were battling it out for ninth place.

But after his disastrous start Ekstrom was fast on track and was soon challenging Albuquerque for eight place, he sneaked past him and was then on his way to Wickens on seventh place. Paffett had found more speed after his last stop and he was gaining on leader Spengler with ten laps still to go.

Paffett is still leading the DTM championship

Only two seconds separated the pair, just one small mistake and Spengler would lose the lead. Spengler was also driving at the limit, and with three laps to go, the difference was 1.2 seconds, and the Canadian had to be very careful not to be forced into a mistake by an ever-charging Paffett.

But Spengler didn’t make any mistakes, he crossed the finish line in first position, Paffett was second and Green third. Werner was fourth, Farfus fifth and Rockenfeller sixth.

Paffett, who scored his 30th DTM podium in his 90th DTM race commented, “My C-Coupé was, as expected, very fast in the race today and we had a shot at victory. Bruno Spengler, however, also drove well and with no mistakes. I would, of course, like to have won in Oschersleben, nevertheless I have defended my lead in the championship with second place.”

Green also had something to celebrate, “This is my 20th podium in the DTM and I am very proud of that fact. The race was not easy for me. My pace was not quite good enough to scrap with front-runners Bruno Spengler and Gary for the win. But during the race, my car’s speed kept coming and I achieved my third podium finish of the season.”

Paffett is still leading the DTM Championship with 127 points, Spengler has moved up to second place with 116 points, while Green is now third with 108 points. Next race is on September 30, at the Spanish Valencia circuit.

DTM: Spengler takes pole for BMW at Oschersleben

By Berthold Bouman

Bruno Spengler (BMW Team Schnitzer) took pole for BMW today for round eight of the Deutschen Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) at the German Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. The Canadian was fastest during the final shoot-out for pole, next to him on the grid in second place is championship leader Gary Paffett (Mercedes Team HWA), and his marque- colleague Jamie Green (Mercedes Team HWA) will start from third place on the grid tomorrow.

Another pole for BMW and Bruno Spengler

A happy Spengler said, “Today has been sensational again. I am obviously very proud of my third pole position of the season. My car was really quick and I drove a flawless lap. That gives us a great base on which to build tomorrow.

However, you certainly cannot take the race for granted. In claiming pole I have only done half of the job. My rivals will be doing everything in their power to make my life as difficult as possible. The first corner is sure to be a tight affair. I expect a tough race, but it is looking very good at the moment.”

A dark and cold Oschersleben circuit this afternoon, Andy Priaulx (BMW Team RBM) was the first to lose control on cold tyres and his car ran through the gravel and the grass, but the Briton was able to continue with only 12 minutes to go in the first qualifying session. Also problems for Roberto Merhi (Mercedes Team Persson Motorsport), as something got stuck under the floor of his car when he wanted to exit the pit lane.

With ten minutes to go Mike Rockenfeller (Audi Sport Team Phoenix Racing) was leading, followed by Adrien Tambay (Audi Sport Team Abt), Mattias Ekstrom (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline), Augusto Farfus (BMW Team RBM), Timo Scheider (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) and Robert Wickens (Mercedes Team Mucke Motorsport). Martin Tomczyk (BMW Team RMG) again hit the curbs very hard at the second chicane, when he did the same this morning, his right front-wheel suspension broke and his mechanics had to work hard to repair it in time for qualifying.

Spengler waited long before leaving the garage for a timed lap in Q1, but when he finally came out he immediately scored the fastest time. Not for long as Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) was quicker with a lap of 1m21.240s and demoted Spengler to second place.

But is was Spengler who was ultimately fastest in the first session with a time of 1m20.933s, Ekstrom was in the danger zone on 17th place but the Swede improved his time and took tenth place and a ticket to Q2. Ralf Schumacher spun on his last lap but was able to continue and he also made it into the next qualifying session.

The last six drivers, Tambay, Rahel Frey (Audi Sport Team Abt) , Merhi, Joey Hand (BMW Team RMG), David Coulthard (Mercedes Team Mucke Motorsport) and Susie Wolff (Mercedes Team Persson Motorsport) did not make it into Q2.

And thus 16 drivers started in the second session, Ekstrom was out first and set the fastest lap, he thought he could go even faster and added another lap to his run to finally set a time of 1m21.041s. At the same moment Spengler was a bit disappointing in tenth place, but the Canadian also stayed out for another lap and then took third place, of course fast enough to go to Q3.

All drivers went into the pits for new tyres for their last run, Green had a problem with one of the build-in jacks, and he was pushed back into the garage for repairs, but he was on first spot at the time so his team wasn’t really worried as he already had secured a place in Q3.

Schumacher was 11th and tried to improve his time, but the German stayed in 11th place and was out of the next session, as were Priaulx, Wickens, Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Sport Team Rosberg), Scheider and Christian Vietoris (Mercedes Team HWA).

The ten remaining drivers played a waiting game in Q3 to save tyres, except Rockenfeller, Molina and Ekstrom who were on a two-run strategy. But with five minutes to go, Green took first spot, he was followed by Rockenfeller and Ekstrom.

With just two minutes remaining the race for the first four positions started, surprisingly Dirk Werner (BMW Team Schnitzer) was the man to beat as he had taken the lead with a lap of 1m20.622s. He stayed in first place when the chequered flag was waved, and Werner, Paffett, Green and Spengler made it into the final top-four shoot-out for pole position.

First out for his pole lap was Spengler in de black BMW, no mistakes and a flawless lap, and a time of 1m20.916s for Spengler. Green was almost two-tenths of a second slower in the first sector, three-tenths of a second slower in the second sector and finished his lap in 1m21.226s.

Gary Paffett, Mercedes Team HWA

Next was championship leader Paffett, he was 0.046 seconds slower in the first sector, 0.087 seconds in the second sector and was in the end 0.086 seconds slower than leader Spengler, who was already celebrating his pole position while Werner was still on his qualifying lap. But Werner tried too hard, ran wide at the last turn and as a result was almost one second slower than the Canadian who will start from first place on the grid tomorrow.

Second-place man Paffett said, “That was a superb, exciting qualifying, and after a tough race weekend at Zandvoort, I’m very pleased to be on the front row tomorrow in my 90th DTM race. I missed pole position by barely a tenth of a second. We have a very fast car, and I am highly motivated and will do everything tomorrow to secure my third win in Oschersleben and extend my lead in the championship.”

Green was also positive ahead of the race on Sunday, “We had a hard-fought qualifying session today. My lap times in Q2 and Q3 were very good, but unfortunately, I was unable to post a perfect lap in the final part of qualifying. With grid positions two and three, Gary and I have an excellent platform for tomorrow’s race.”

Tomczyk has a five-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s race, earned after he pushed Paffett of the circuit at Zandvoort two weeks ago, he will start from 11th place.

With 75 points still on the table the current top seven is still in the race for the title. Paffett is leading with 109 points, followed by Green (93), Spengler (91), Mortara (74), Tomczyk (69), Rockenfeller (67) and Ekstrom is seventh and last title contender with 62 points.