The Saturday DTM race at Spielberg was BMW’s 300th in DTM competition since it first entered the series in 1984. But while BMW celebrated its history in the series at Spielberg, it struggled in both its 300th race on Saturday and it 301st on Sunday.
On Saturday Marco Wittman in seventh was the best BMW finisher. M4 DTM racers Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus finished eighth and ninth. Mercedes’ Daniel Juncadella, who was leading the race, was penalized for jumping a restart after a caution period ended with just three laps remaining. Notification of the penalty came out with one lap left; then, near the end of the final lap, Audi’s Mike Rockenfeller and Nico Muller, running first and second, let their teammate René Rast by for the win. The move boosted the title hopes of Rast, the leading Audi driver in the championship chase, who was coming off two wins in the previous DTM event at the Nürburgring.
On Sunday Rast won again, leading much of the way, with none of the controversy attached to his Saturday victory. Joel Eriksson in fifth was the best BMW performer. Timo Glock in seventh and Philipp Eng in ninth also scored points for BMW.
The series’ drivers’ points leaders going into the season finale at Hockenheim in October are Paul Di Resta and Gary Paffett, who both drive for Mercedes. Di Resta finished fourth on Saturday, when Paffett finished tenth. On Sunday Paffett was third and Di Resta was fourth. Rast, the defending champion, is third, 30 points out of first with 56 points available. Marco Wittmann in fourth is the best BMW racer in drivers’ points standings; he does not have enough points to have a chance of winning the title. Mercedes clinched the manufacturers’ title at Spielberg.
After the Saturday race, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said, “Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to record the result we had been hoping for in our 300th DTM race. Marco Wittmann was on course for a podium finish for a long time. But then things got pretty rough in the turbulent final phase. Some of the scenes during and after the Indy restart we witnessed with amazement. Three BMW M4 DTMs did make it into the points, but we could have done much better today. Nonetheless this was the second important anniversary for BMW in the DTM, following on just two weeks after the 100th race since 2012 at the Nürburgring. This underlines just what a close relationship we enjoy with this series. BMW made its mark on the early years of the DTM from 1984, writing many chapters of a long and successful history of involvement in touring car racing. We have continued to feel right at home in the DTM since our comeback in 2012, and have celebrated many triumphs. Thrilling door-to-door duels, the best touring car drivers in the world and a close bond with the fans have characterized the series from the very beginning.” —Brian Morgan