BMW’s Eng returns to podium at Zolder and moves into drivers’ lead

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At Zolder (BEL), Philipp Eng (AUT) enjoyed the most successful DTM weekend of his career to date. After his first win on Saturday, he crossed the line behind René Rast (GER, Audi) on Sunday to claim second place in his ZF BMW M4 DTM. He has now taken the lead in the drivers’ standings, with 59 points. In the fourth DTM race of his career, Sheldon van der Linde (RSA, Shell BMW M4 DTM) entered the history books as the youngest BMW driver of all time to claim a pole position. The DTM newcomer finished the race in fifth place.

In third place for some time, van der Linde appeared to be on course to reach the podium but dropped two places on the final lap. Bruno Spengler (CAN, BMW Bank M4 DTM) and Joel Eriksson (SWE, CATL BMW M4 DTM) also reached the top ten, finishing in seventh and tenth positions.

Timo Glock (GER, JiVS BMW M4 DTM) was in the running but he was forced to retire just before the end of the race after a series of battles damaged his car. He was classified as finishing in 14th place.

On lap 23, Marco Wittmann (GER, Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM) hit the rear of Robin Frijns’ (NED) Audi during a battle. Frijns had to retire and the BMW M4 GTS DTM safety car appeared on the track. Wittmann received a drive-through penalty and fell back to 13thplace.

Reactions to the fourth DTM race of the 2019 season at Zolder.

Rudolf Dittrich (General Manager BMW Motorsport Vehicle Development):

“After two race weekends in the 2019 DTM season, we can be very satisfied. We have reached pole position in all four races so far, we have won two races and recorded a total of four podiums. That clearly shows what a good job everyone involved did over the winter during development of the new car and the turbo engine. BMW Team RBM has enjoyed a fantastic home event at Zolder; after the win for Philipp Eng and the second place for Joel Eriksson on Saturday, we added pole position for Sheldon van der Linde and second place for Philipp Eng on Sunday. Congratulations to Bart Mampaey and his crew, and to Philipp for his sensational weekend. Congratulations are also in order for Sheldon, who has entered the history books as the youngest BMW driver to claim a pole position in just his fourth DTM race. It is a shame that he just missed out on his first podium in the race. After the two races in Belgium, we are now leading the drivers’ standings with Philipp. We are aiming to build on that at Misano in two weeks.”

Bart Mampaey (BMW Team RBM Team Principal):

“Third on the grid and second place for Philipp Eng in an exciting race are very good results. That also represents a big step forward in the championship. Regarding Sheldon van der Linde, it was a slightly disappointing finish as he had started from pole position and had defended his third place very well until just before the end. It was a big shame that he dropped two places just two turns from the end of the race. Nonetheless, he gave an outstanding performance to secure pole position, recorded another good points finish and kept pace with the experienced drivers. All in all, we are very pleased.”

Philipp Eng (#25 ZF BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR, Grid: 3rd, Race: 2nd, Drivers’ standings: 1st, 59 points):

“That was a very hard race today. Actually, it was one of the toughest in my career. After a good start, I made a mistake on turn two and drove straight on. I then had to battle for my position. The result shows that we have done a very good job in the first four races. I can only thank everyone at BMW Motorsport and my team for having such a reliable and fast car – in qualifying and in the race. We are happy to take the 19 points and the overall lead, even though it is nothing more than a snapshot.”

Sheldon van der Linde (#31 Shell BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM, Grid: 1st, Race: 5th, Drivers’ standings: 10th, 21 points):

“I was in third place one lap from the end. Then I left the door open a bit in a battle with Jamie Green and Mike Rockefeller got past me as well so, I finished in fifth. Nonetheless, I am absolutely delighted with the qualifying result and my first pole position in the DTM.”

Joel Eriksson (#47 CATL BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM, Grid: 10th, Race: 10th, Drivers’ standings: 11th, 20 points):

“The race did not go as we had expected. The second pit stop during the safety car period did not pay off. We tried out an alternative strategy but unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Now it’s time to concentrate fully on Misano.”

Stefan Reinhold (BMW Team RMG Team Principal):

“After a so-so qualifying session, we saw a very turbulent race today. We will have to calm down and take another look at it all. It was a difficult race in terms of strategy for all of us on the pit wall. We were very efficient and once again showed just how well our strategists work. However, we cannot be happy with the result as we could have achieved more today with the cars performing like they did.  But of course we thank the entire team for their fantastic work once again.”

Bruno Spengler (#7 BMW Bank M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG, Grid: 15th, Race: 7th, Drivers’ standings: 8th, 24 points):

“It could have been worse. I was in the lead in yesterday’s race but finished tenth thanks to some bad luck and a safety car period. Today, I started from 15th position and crossed the line in seventh place. The team’s strategy was great. We took a lot of risks but it paid off. Thank you very much. The team did a monumental job. We scored some important points.”

Marco Wittmann (#11 Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG, Grid: 7th, Race: 13th, Drivers’ standings: 3rd, 43 points):

“We had good pace again but the accident with Robin Frijns resulted in a drive-through penalty that cost me the race. I was trying to get past him when he skidded sideways on turn one and came over to my racing line. I was lapping faster on fresh tyres and hit him, which spun him around. From my point of view, there was hardly anything I could have done to avoid it. Of course, that was a shame.”

Timo Glock (#16 BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR, Grid: 5th, Race: 14th, Drivers’ standings: 12th, 20 points):

“Qualifying and the first part of the race went well for me. Later on, I got stuck behind Robin Frijns and just concentrated on retaining my position. Unfortunately, I lost a bit of ground with the pit stop and dropped back behind Philipp Eng. During the restart after a safety car period the track got very crowded and unfortunately there was contact with Marco Wittmann. That damaged my car.”

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