Marco Wittmann started the #11 M4 DTM from the back of the pack, pitted after one lap, and went on to win the first of two DTM races on the Misano circuit in Italy in June. In race two Philipp Eng, who came across the line in second place, was the best BMW finisher.
A technical problem in qualifying prevented Wittmann from setting a time, so he started from the back of the pack. The team brought him in for a tire change at the end of lap one. An early-race safety car period to retrieve Joel Eriksson’s M4 DTM that had stopped on the circuit enabled Wittmann to move up. When Audi’s René Rast pitted from the lead before the halfway point in the race Wittmann took over and held on to first place the rest of the way. Rast and his fellow Audi racer Loic Duval finished second and third. Bruno Spengler, in fourth, was the second of five BMW racers to finish in the points. Philipp Eng was seventh, Sheldon van der Linde was ninth, and Timo Glock was tenth.
Wittmann, who started sixth in Sunday’s race behind a pack of Audis, was taken out on lap one when he was hit by Rast, who had just been hit by Audi’s Jonathan Aberdein as the three cars ran side-by-side. Wittmann later stated that a penalty should have been issued to the two Audi racers, but none was given. Rast recovered to lead for a time, then fell back with a puncture. He recovered again to run in second until he was reeled in by the hard-charging Eng, who went on to finish second. The win went to Audi’s Nico Müller. Eriksson in sixth, Spengler in eighth, and van der Linde in ninth also scored points for BMW. Glock retired with a mechanical problem.
After the second race, Rudolf Dittrich, general manager of BMW Motorsport vehicle development, said “All in all, it has been a weekend of highs and lows. The highlight was obviously Marco Wittmann’s victory on Saturday, when he launched a stunning fight back from last on the grid to take a sensational victory. And Philipp Eng’s impressive performance on Sunday, with some nice overtaking maneuvers and great tire management, was also a great advertisement for the DTM. However, we also struggled with some issues at Misano. Our performance in both qualifying sessions was not ideal. Furthermore, Wittmann and Timo Glock were both forced out of their 100th DTM race far too early on Sunday. Marco was unnecessarily wiped out in the early stages of the race. Timo had to return to the garage with technical issues early on. We would have liked a different outcome for both of them in their milestone race. In total, however, we had five cars in the top ten on Saturday and four on Sunday. That is a respectable result. Congratulations to Nico Müller and Audi on their win.”
Going into the series’ next race at the Norising on July 5-7, Eng is second in drivers’ points behind Rast.—Brian Morgan
[Photo courtesy BMW Motorsport.]