Spengler scores dominant win and puts points’ leader Paffett under pressure
Oschersleben. Canadian BMW driver Bruno Spengler has scored a dominant win in the eighth DTM round of the season. Thus, the 29-year old reduced his gap to championship leader Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz), who finished second, to eleven points. Paffett’s compatriot and fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Jamie Green, who dropped back one place to third in the points’ standings, was the third driver on the podium. In the Magdeburger Börde region, Mike Rockenfeller was the best-placed Audi driver in sixth. Now, the battle for the title will be decided between Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
With an undisputed lights-to-flag victory, Spengler crowned a perfect racing weekend. For the twelfth time in his DTM career, he crossed the finish line in first place. “For me, this track is really fun. It is aggressive on the car, but everything lasted. Gary was very quick and I am delighted that I have brought victory home. Now, the concentration is on the two final rounds. Of course, I will try to score as many victories as possible,” said Spengler, who scored his third race win of the season.
At times, second-placed Gary Paffett had closed up to the eventual winner, but wasn’t able to overtake. After the race, the points’ leader said: “Being on the podium again is good. Nevertheless, I am a little bit disappointed, because we could have won today. The car was very fast, but we have lost too much time during the stops. There are still two races to go and of course, I will give everything.”
In fourth place, local hero Dirk Werner (BMW) achieved his best season result to date. His Brazilian fellow BMW driver Augusto Farfus followed in fifth position. Mike Rockenfeller was the best-placed Audi driver in sixth. “At least, I managed to score valuable points with sixth place and now I am the best-placed Audi driver in the standings again. That is positive. But I simply couldn’t do more today,” said ’Rocky’ after the 51 lap race.
Behind Canadian Robert Wickens (Mercedes-Benz), Mattias Ekström from Sweden finished eighth. The Audi driver started from fifth place, but stalled at the start and then had to make his way up through the field from 20th place. Portuguese Filipe Albuquerque and German Timo Scheider (both Audi) rounded out the top ten.
The DTM is booming: in Oschersleben, the most popular international touring car series has already equalled the number of spectators of the entire 2011 season. This weekend, the drivers from Audi, DTM returnee BMW and Mercedes-Benz attracted 71,000 spectators to the circuit in the Magdeburger Börde region. Thus, the DTM already had 630,500 fans during the first eight rounds of the season and equalled the number of the ten rounds of the previous year. The penultimate round of the season takes place at Valencia in Spain, September 30th.
Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director: “I really am overwhelmed. This is an incredible victory by Bruno and a magnificent result for BMW. In the drivers’ standings, there is still somebody ahead of Bruno, but anyone who knows Bruno, also knows that he will be giving everything during the final two rounds.”
Norbert Haug, head of motorsport Mercedes-Benz: “Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough today. It remains as thrilling as the last couple of laps over here. Gary Paffett is heading into the two final rounds of the season at Valencia and Hockenheim with an advantage of eleven points. Not a huge lead, but we rather are eleven points ahead than eleven points down.”
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of motorsport Audi: “Unfortunately, we already lost all chances of a better result at the start today. Afterwards, Mattias Ekström showed what theoretically would have been possible with his recovery. But it is also a fact that all in all, we weren’t quick enough here at Oschersleben. We will continue to work hard and do everything to show a better performance again in the last two rounds at Valencia and Hockenheim. The title in the manufacturers’ standings is still within reach.”