The DTM is rapidly approaching the climax of the 2013 season as it heads to Zandvoort for the ninth of ten race weekends.
The race at the iconic “Circuit Park” marks the series’ fourth round outside of Germany, after trips to Brands Hatch, Spielberg and Moscow. After his win in Oschersleben, BMW Team RBM’s Augusto Farfus is now the only driver in the DTM field who could still prevent championship leader Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) from winning the drivers’ title. The Brazilian starts the penultimate weekend of the year in second place in the Drivers’ Championship with 91 points – 33 points behind Rockenfeller.
The “Circuit Park Zandvoort” features changes in elevation, crests and bumps, making every lap of the 4.307-kilometre track a real rollercoaster ride. Another challenge is the sand, which is blown across the track by a sometimes strong coastal wind. The North Sea coast is just a stone’s throw from the circuit. One of the best overtaking opportunities on the entire circuit comes in the form of the first corner at the end of the start/finish straight, which is known as Tarzanbocht.
Before they pull out of the pit lane in the Netherlands for the first time, the BMW DTM drivers have another special appointment this week. They will visit Munich’s Oktoberfest, the largest beer festival in the world, on Tuesday, where they will meet up with a whole host of stars from other sports with BMW involvement.
Quotes ahead of the race in Zandvoort:
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“Our third win of the season in Oschersleben has given everyone in the team another boost of motivation. Because of this, we head to Zandvoort with plenty of momentum and have set our sights high for the penultimate race of the 2013 season. It is fantastic that, in Augusto Farfus, we have the only driver in the field who, along with Mike Rockenfeller, still has a chance of winning the Drivers’ Championship. We will do everything in our power to ensure the fans in Hockenheim are treated to a real showdown for the title and that the championship comes down to the final race – just as it did in 2012. And we saw last year what is possible if that is the case. We are also leading the Manufacturers’ Championship, and want to defend this lead in Zandvoort. To achieve this, we will have to get a better all-round result than we did recently in Oschersleben. That is our goal.”
Charly Lamm (Team Principal, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“We have written off the disappointing race in Oschersleben and are now determined to end the season on a positive note with two strong outings in Zandvoort and Hockenheim. We can definitely build on our qualifying performance and our fast pit stops. The weekend in Zandvoort in 2012 was a turbulent affair. Bruno Spengler fought back from 18th to finish sixth, while Dirk Werner also picked up points in eighth. This time round we are looking for a better qualifying result, to score a lot of DTM points in the race, and thus to support BMW to the best of our ability in the fight for the title.”
Bart Mampaey (Team Principal, BMW Team RBM):
“Although Zandvoort is not in Belgium, this event feels like something of a home race for us. The circuit is actually the same distance from Mechelen as both the Nürburgring and Brands Hatch, but here they speak the same language and I am expecting a lot of supporters, both family and friends, to be there. It is not the easiest of circuits and the weather can change very suddenly.”
Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal, BMW Team RMG):
“This year we are going to Zandvoort about a month later, so we hope not to get into trouble with the weather with conditions such as strong winds and sudden rain storms. There is often sand on the track, but I don't feel it influences everything as much as most people think. I don't see it as a big issue. For me, it is important that we take another step forward as a team this weekend, so that we can end the season on a high.”
Ernest Knoors (Team Principal, BMW Team MTEK):
“Apart from the unfortunate way qualifying panned out, we produced a good display in Oschersleben. We want to follow on from that in Zandvoort, and hopefully get back in the points. Our pace is good, but we cannot afford to make even the slightest mistake if we want to convert that into a good result. Although BMW Team MTEK is based in Garching, I am obviously very much looking forward to my personal home race in the Netherlands.”
Bruno Spengler (car number 1, BMW Team Schnitzer):
Dirk Werner (car number 2, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“I really like the track in Zandvoort. It is in a really great setting in the midst of all the sand dunes. Last year was a good race for me, as I finished in the points. I have some of my relatives coming at the weekend. It is always great to have extra support. It is getting really tight in the Manufacturers’ Championship, so we really have to get our heads together and come up with a good strategy for the race, in order to maintain our lead.”
Augusto Farfus (car number 7, BMW Team RBM):
“Last year the weather was very tricky on both Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully it will be consistent this year. If so, we should be able to put in a good performance, as this track suits our car. The key question will be how long the tyres last. Of all the circuits in the DTM, this track is the most aggressive on tyres. You can only win if you have the perfect race strategy. I have nothing to lose and go into the weekend fully motivated.”
Joey Hand (car number 8, BMW Team RBM):
“Zandvoort is possibly the most ‘American’ track on the DTM calendar. The speeds are high and the cars get very close to the walls. It should be a good track for me, so I have high expectations. It would be a great morale booster for everyone in the team if we could have a good race just before the finale in Hockenheim.” Martin Tomczyk (car number 15, BMW Team RMG): “Zandvoort is like no other circuit in the DTM. From sand dunes to hills and crests: everything is different to what you find at other circuits. The layout is quite tricky, but I am definitely looking forward to it. We proved last year that we can be quick there, so I hope we can get another good result there this time round.”
Andy Priaulx (car number 16, BMW Team RMG):
“It is a unique circuit, as you are right next to the beach so you always have that holiday feeling. Being so close to the sea, the wind and rain can come in suddenly, so the weather conditions can really play a crucial role in the race. Despite this, the circuit is simply fantastic. It is undulating, fast, and one of the old tracks that still has a lot of character.”
Marco Wittmann (car number 21, BMW Team MTEK):
“The Circuit Park is not a modern designer circuit, but a natural racetrack. You really need the car’s aerodynamics to be good in the many fast corners. You can both gain and lose a lot of time in these sections. I am determined to exhaust the full potential of our car and get back in the points.”
Timo Glock (car number 22, BMW Team MTEK):
“I raced in Zandvoort during my time in Formula 3. Circuit Park is quite a nice track. There are a couple of high speed corners, which I think will be quite interesting in a DTM car. I am looking forward to going back to Zandvoort and hopefully we can have a good weekend and grab some points.”