Maiden win for Martin Tomczyk at successful Barcelona DTM premiere
The first appearance of the DTM at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona saw Martin Tomczyk (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) take his maiden victory in the most popular international touring car series. Starting from pole-position, the 24-year old driver from the Bavarian city of Rosenheim secured himself the biggest success of his motor racing career so far.
"It was anything but easy as I had massive brake problems at the end, but fortunately, it worked out. I still can't belive it, it is fantastic! We will have a great party tonight", Tomczyk said.
Mercedes-Benz-driver Bernd Schneider came home second and extended his points lead. With two races remaining, he now has an 18 points' margin over Audi's Tom Kristensen, who came only ninth in Spain after a difficult race. Former F1-driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished third with his Audi A4 DTM and completed the first all-German podium after a DTM race since September 23, 2001 at Zandvoort in The Netherlands.
The premiere of the DTM in Spain was judged a huge success with a crowd of 42,000 spectators over the weekend. "It was a great event and the best ever debut for any race series at our circuit. We are looking forward to next year", said Mr. Josep Ramon, commercial director of the Circuit de Catalunya.
Martin Tomczyk enjoyed a successful weekend, crowning the fourth pole-position of his DTM career with his maiden victory in the series. For quite a long time the two Red Bull-Audi A4 DTMs of Martin Tomczyk and Mattias Ekström held first and second place, but then Ekström was given a drive-through penalty for a collision with Bernd Schneider. This handed second place to Schneider while Ekström dropped back and finally came home fourth. Then, Schneider even looked set to close up on race leader Tomczyk, but he ran wide with four laps to go and thus had to make do with second. "With the championship in mind, this is a very good result", the four-times' DTM champion said.
His fellow Mercedes-Benz-driver Bruno Spengler showed a remarkable recovery after starting a disappointing 19th on the grid. A clever strategy and a spirited drive made the Canadian move up the order. He looked even on course towards a podium finish, but then lost two places in the final part of the race and eventually finished fifth.
Spengler was followed by Audi's Frank Stippler, who scored his first championship points of the season and whose sixth place was also the best result for a driver with year-old machinery. Mercedes-Benz-drivers Daniel La Rosa and Alexandros Margaritis completed the points' scoring positions with seventh and eighth place respectively, also with 2005-spec cars.
Martin Tomczyk (1st place, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "I am feeling great. My first DTM victory, I still can't believe it. I was in control throughout the race, all the overtaking manoeuvres were really fair. Towards the end, I had brake problems. This allowed Bernd to close up. Fortunately, he made a mistake too and thus I could drive victory home. There will be a great party tonight."
Bernd Schneider (2nd place, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes): "A second place and eight points for the championship that I hadn't really expected after qualifying. I am really happy that I have made it all the way through at all. After the collision with Tom Kristensen, I had quite a lot of oversteer and the car was difficult to drive. All in all, however, I am very happy with the result. This is another step towards the title."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (2nd place, Audi Sport Team Abt): "Too bad for Tom that he didn't make it on the podium. For me, it was an interesting race with a good result. I did everything I could, but unfortunately, I couldn't find a way past Bernd at the end. I have been driving many races here and I never was better than fourth. Now, I am here with the DTM for the first time and I am on the podium right away. That is great!"
Mercedes-Benz motor sport director Norbert Haug: "Bernd has done a great job. The fact that he set the fastest race lap although his car had been damaged due to the collision with Tom Kristensen is impressive. He has managed to extend his championship lead, but it is only the final result that counts. Bruno Spengler has been driving a great race, too. After the result in qualifying yesterday I didn't expect having four cars in the top eight. It was an action-packed race and a great premiere for the DTM in Spain. The crowd figure speaks for itself. Perhaps there was a little bit too much bodywork contact during the race, we have to sit down and talk to make sure that this will be different in the two remaining races."
Audi motor sport director Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: "I am very happy that Martin Tomczyk has won here. In the last few races, he has always shown a good performance and here, he finally broke his duck. I am certain that he will continue to score results like this in the future. Of course, I am not happy with our overall result. First of all, we must analyse what was wrong with Tom Kristensen's car. But we will keep on fighting as long as there is anything to fight for. All in all, we have seen a great and exciting race here at Barcelona. I am certain that the spectators who were here today will be returning next year."