Marco Wittmann in the #11 M4 DTM started from the pole and won the first of two DTM races on the series’ first visit to Assen, a very quick circuit in the Netherlands that is known for motorcycle racing. He started from the back of the pack in race two and fought his way up to second at the end of the race.
The safety car led the first three laps of the Saturday race, which was run in the rain. Wittmann was challenged by Audi’s René Rast and by Nico Müller in another Audi. Rast chased Wittmann early, and again after the two racers pitted. Müller took the lead after a late stop, but Wittmann reeled him in and got by for the win.
The other BMW racers in the points in race one were Philipp Eng, Timo Glock, and Sheldon van der Linde, finishing in fourth, fifth, and tenth places.
On Sunday a turbocharger failure in qualifying forced Wittmann to start from the back of the pack. He moved up to the top ten in four laps, and was up to sixth when he made his pit stop. He was soon running in second, battling with the Audis of Rast and Mike Rockenfeller. Rockenfeller went on to win, with Wittmann second and Müller third, and Rast fifth after he had to stop for a second set of tires. No other BMW racers finished in the points on Sunday; Eng, Glock, and van der Linde were among the many racers who fell back after pitting for a second set of tires.
Rudolf Dittrich, general manager BMW Motorsport vehicle development, said “Sunday’s race at Assen followed a totally different script to the events in the wet on Saturday. Tire management was the decisive factor. Towards the end, virtually all drivers were struggling and some had to make a second pit stop. Without a doubt, Marco Wittmann was the man of the race. He finished second after starting from eighteenth on the grid. In the closing stages, he was just concentrating on getting the car home and defending his position on his well-worn tires. He managed to do that, showing once again how well he can manage tires over the distance. He scored some important points. However, the race took a disappointing course for our other drivers. We will take a close look at the reasons for our problems to deliver consistently strong pace. Assen has proved to be a great addition to the DTM calendar and provided spectacular motorsport in wet and dry conditions. Both races were real DTM highlights for the spectators. Congratulations to Mike Rockenfeller on his win today.”
Wittmann is third and Eng is fourth in drivers’ points going into the series’ next race at Brands Hatch on August 10–11. Rast and Müller are first and second.—Brian Morgan
[Photo courtesy BMW AG.]