BMW Motorsport has once again made DTM history. Marco Wittmann (GER) of BMW Team RMG took victory in the opening race of the 2019 season at the Hockenheimring (GER) on Saturday, and with it the first race of the new turbo era in the DTM. The two-time champion, at the wheel of the Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM, produced a flawless display in wet conditions, converting pole position into a prestigious race win.
This was the 12th victory of Wittmann’s career and also marked the 82nd time that a BMW has been first across the DTM finish line. It also represented the perfect start to the 50th anniversary of BMW Turbo Power in motorsport.
Timo Glock (GER) finished fourth in the JiVS BMW M4 DTM, narrowly missing out on another podium for BMW. He was spun by another car on the opening lap, but fought back strongly to climb through the field one place at a time. BMW newcomer Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) came home sixth in the Shell BMW M4 DTM to score points on his debut. He was followed over the line in seventh place by the BMW Bank M4 DTM of Bruno Spengler (CAN).
Joel Eriksson (SWE) was 13th in the CATL BMW M4 DTM. A sensor issue in the engine periphery prevented Philipp Eng (AUT) from setting a lap time in qualifying, meaning he had to start the race from 17th. The Austrian eventually came home 14th.
Reactions to the first DTM race of the 2019 season at Hockenheim.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“That is absolutely awesome. Today we have made DTM history again with BMW Motorsport, taking the first win of the new turbo era. First the pole position, then victory in the opening race for Marco Wittmann – that reminds me a little of the Formula E season opener last year, when we also started with a win. I am so proud of the whole team in Munich – of the teams and the drivers. A huge compliment goes to Marco, who did a magnificent job today at the front of the field. We have a tough winter and a tough period of testing behind us. To perform as we have done here at Hockenheim, and to win the first race, is fantastic. The experience gained during 50 years of turbo in motorsport at BMW definitely paid dividends. We have built a very good engine and put together a strong package, with which we have won at the first attempt. There is still a long way to go in the 2019 season, but today we have every reason to celebrate.”
Stefan Reinhold (BMW Team RMG Team Principal):
“Our team did an incredible job today. Particularly Marco Wittmann, who was in perfect control of the car in qualifying and in the race. The guys on the pit wall, the other drivers, who made up positions, and the team that prepared the cars also did a superb job. Everyone gave it 110 percent. You have to take your hat off to them. Congratulations to BMW Motorsport, who have developed a powerful engine and a great overall package. That was a superb start to the new turbo era.”
Marco Wittmann (#11 Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG, Grid: 1st, Race: 1st, Drivers’ standings: 1st 28 points):
“This win feels great. First the pole position, then the first victory of the new turbo era: what an awesome start to the season. The Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM was phenomenal in the wet. My mechanics and engineers have done a sensational job – as have BMW Motorsport, who have given me a car that was competitive from the first lap. It was an unbelievable start to the DTM year.”
Timo Glock (#16 BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR, Grid: 8th, Race: 4th, Drivers’ standings: 4th, 12 points):
“I think we can be happy with the outcome of the result. It is a bit disappointing when you look at the pace we had yesterday and today. We were quick in the rain yesterday, and in today’s race. The only reason we weren’t as fast in qualifying was because we went out on the wrong set of tyres once. I had a very good start and was up there with the top five, but was then hit from behind. That dropped me well back down the field. We had good pace at the end, which allowed us to fight our way back into the top five. It showed what could have been. Congratulations to Marco and the whole team on the win.”
Bruno Spengler (#7 BMW Bank M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG, Grid: 14th, Race: 7th, Drivers’ standings: 7th, 6 points):
“The race was okay. I had a super start. Unfortunately, Timo was spun in front of me, which caused me to lose some time on the way out of turn two. Despite that, climbing from 14th to seventh is a good result and we scored some good points. Congratulations to Marco on his win. After all the hard work over the winter, the team more than deserves that. Seventh place is okay for me. If I had stopped a little later, I might have been able to do even better but that is alright. We are now turning our attention to tomorrow.”
Bart Mampaey (BMW Team RBM Team Principal):
“Firstly, congratulations to BMW. It is obviously fantastic to win the first race with the new turbo engine. Our rookie, Sheldon van der Linde, had a great debut, finishing sixth and scoring his first points. In the case of Philipp Eng, we were able, after a long time looking, to find the reason for our technical issues. That meant he was at least able to start the race. However, our strategy did not ultimately pay off for him or Joel Eriksson.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#31 Shell BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM, Grid: 7th, Race: 6th, Drivers’ standings: 6th, 8 points):
“The day could hardly have gone better for me. I could never have dreamed of scoring points as a rookie in my first DTM race. I have a fantastic team behind me. Everyone has been very helpful. The car was very good in the race. Congratulations to Marco and BMW on the win.”
Philipp Eng (#25 ZF BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR, Grid: no time, Race: 14th, Drivers’ standings: 15th, 0 points):
“That was a tough day. I can only thank my guys, who were meticulous in their search for the issue on my car – and found it. I hope things run more smoothly tomorrow.”
Joel Eriksson (#47 CATL BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM, Grid: 9th, Race: 13th, Drivers’ standings: 14th, 0 points):
“That was not a good race for me. The start was good, but after that we struggled with the car. I could not really push. We have a bit of work ahead of us now to come back stronger tomorrow. Congratulations to Marco on his win.”