On 11th March 1984, over 30 years ago, it was Harald Grohs (DE) at the wheel of the BMW 635 CSi who won the very first race in the history of the DTM for BMW in Zolder.
Hockenheim (DE) - First race, first win: the new BMW M4 DTM opened its career with a dream result in Hockenheim (DE). After 42 laps of the 4.574-kilometre circuit, Marco Wittmann (DE) crossed the finish line first in the Ice-Watch BMW M4 DTM, as the DTM opened its anniversary season with an eventful race. Not only was it the 24-year-old’s first triumph in only his 11th DTM race, but also the maiden victory for BMW Team RMG and BMW’s 60th win in the series.
On 11th March 1984, over 30 years ago, it was Harald Grohs (DE) at the wheel of the BMW 635 CSi who won the very first race in the history of the DTM for BMW in Zolder. Three years later, Grohs also won when the new BMW M3 made its debut in Hockenheim. Wittmann’s success saw the BMW M4 DTM continue this tradition of new cars winning on their debut.
The two rookies, Maxime Martin (BE) and António Félix da Costa (PT), remain yet to score their first points, having ended their DTM debuts in 20th and 21st respectively. Félix da Costa was enjoying an outstanding race in his Red Bull BMW M4 DTM, and was in reach for a podium position for long periods. However, a collision with Timo Scheider (DE, Audi) and the subsequent drive-through penalty saw the Portuguese driver drop well back. Problems with a loose wheel after his pit top, coupled with the ensuing drive-through penalty, cost Martin any chance of a better result.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director): “What a dream debut weekend for the BMW M4 DTM. To return to Hockenheim with the brand-new BMW M4 DTM and win the first race, half a year after the last victory with the BMW M3 DTM – it doesn’t get much better. At the same time, it is also a great maiden win for BMW Team RMG and Marco Wittmann, who drove an absolutely incredible race and was in a league of his own today. He controlled the entire race magnificently. It was a joy to watch him. However, there is also a lot of work behind this win. On the one hand, our team at BMW Motorsport has been working hard on the BMW M4 DTM for over a year.
You never know exactly how good you are compared to the opposition until the first race. Therefore, we are very happy today. Also particularly worthy of mention is the fact that Stefan Reinhold’s entire team did a lot of testing and made some changes on the test bench over the winter – with great success, as you can see. They deserve a big compliment. We are also pleased to see a further five BMWs in the top ten, and with the 60th victory for BMW in the history of the DTM – in bright sunshine and in front of a big crowd in the grandstands. I feel sorry for António Félix da Costa who, up until the incident, had produced a very impressive DTM debut.”
Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal, BMW Team RMG):“Marco Wittmann did a perfect job today. It was simply incredible. He deserves all the praise he receives, and we are very grateful to him for presenting us with our first victory in the DTM today. The team has worked day and night in recent weeks, and thoroughly deserves this success. I would obviously also like to thank BMW Motorsport. After our difficult season in 2013, we pulled together to tighten a lot of screws – and this is the reward. We were able to implement everything we learned during the tests here perfectly this weekend. It ran like clockwork. I feel sorry for Maxime Martin. He was doing well on his first weekend. Our mistake during the pit stop cost him a good result. Despite this, today is a day for BMW Team RMG to celebrate.”
Ernest Knoors (Team Principal, BMW Team MTEK): “Generally speaking, our team can be happy with this weekend. António Félix da Costa and Timo Glock were in superb form and the team had prepared both cars well. It is obviously a great shame that António made a mistake in the race, when he was on course for a really good result. However, you must not forget that he is still a rookie. That kind of thing can happen – and he will definitely learn from his mistake. I still believe that António will have a successful season. Timo had the right strategy, and implemented it really well out on the track. Fifth place is a promising start to the season. Congratulations to Marco Wittmann and BMW Team RMG. That was a fantastic win.”
Charly Lamm (Team Principal, BMW Team Schnitzer): “We saw today that the new BMW M4 DTM is also capable of winning right from the outset. Congratulations to Stefan Reinhold’s BMW Team RMG, BMW Motorsport and Marco Wittmann. Sixth and seventh are decent results for us, but we obviously have mixed feelings about them. When you start from third on the grid, as Bruno Spengler did, you obviously set your sights on the podium. However, that was not to be. We took a conscious decision to start both cars on hard tyres. Maybe, in hindsight, that lost us a little bit of time. We will take a really close look into that. I am pleased for Martin Tomczyk. He showed that he fits into the team very well.”
Bart Mampaey (Team Principal, BMW Team RBM): “Firstly, congratulations to Marco Wittmann and BMW Team RMG on their first victory in the DTM. I still remember very well how that felt for us. Given our grid positions, we got a good result. I am particularly happy with Joey Hand’s point. Augusto Farfus was also having a good race, but unfortunately dropped two places following the collision with Timo Scheider on the final lap. Still, finishing in the points with both cars is a good result.”
Marco Wittmann (car number 23, BMW Team RMG, 1st - Tyres: Option-Standard): “I am overjoyed with my maiden DTM win, the first victory for the BMW M4 DTM, and the first success for BMW Team RMG. I am proud that my win also brought up victory number 60 for BMW in the DTM. Even the tests went very well for me. However, I did not reckon on making quite such a fantastic start to the season. We will celebrate today. My start was not ideal, but I was still able to hang on to my position after the first lap. I overtook the leader on lap three and was able to open up a big enough gap to allow me to remain in the lead after the pit stop. I was then able to maintain my lead and seal the win.”
Timo Glock (car number 17, BMW Team MTEK, 5th - Tyres: Option-Standard): “Firstly, congratulations to my team-mate from last year Marco Wittmann, and to BMW Team RMG. Marco produced a fantastic performance and fully deserved his first DTM victory. I did not get off to the best start, but was then able to overtake several cars at the same time on the inside. That brought me back into the battle for points. I had a few problems with the front-left tyre, which meant I had to let António Félix da Costa and Timo Scheider past. The key on the hard tyres was to drive at a decent enough pace to be in a good position later on in the fight against those drivers on options. I couldn’t do anything to stop Mattias Ekström and Mike Rockenfeller passing, but eventually picked up a nice amount of points for finishing fifth. Precisely that was our goal.”
Bruno Spengler (car number 9, BMW Team Schnitzer, 6th - Tyres: Standard-Option): “I am obviously not entirely happy with the way the race panned out. The start was really good, but we were not quick enough on hard tyres at the start of today’s race. We will have to look into that to find out why. We were running pretty well on the option tyre towards the end of the race. Sixth is obviously not the best position, but they are still valuable points. I am a bit disappointed, but we will continue to work hard and concentrate on the next race. It is nice to see a BMW M4 DTM win though. Congratulations to Marco Wittmann and BMW Team RMG.”
Martin Tomczyk (car number 10, BMW Team Schnitzer, 7th - Tyres: Standard-Option): “It was an exciting race, as nobody knew exactly which strategy was the right one. I think, given our situation, that we made the right decision to start on standard tyres. This allowed us to make up a lot of positions in the second half of the race. Congratulations to BMW Team RMG and Marco Wittmann. That was a great start for the BMW M4 DTM.”
Augusto Farfus (car number 3, BMW Team RBM, 8th - Tyres: Standard-Option): “The race was okay when you consider where I started from on the grid. We were quick on both tyres and the car was really good. It is a shame I lost two positions on the final lap, but that’s all part and parcel of motor racing. I think we could have avoided the contact. All in all, my team did a good job. I am now looking forward to the next race in Oschersleben.”
Joey Hand (car number 4, BMW Team RBM, 10th - Tyres: Standard-Option): “Yesterday I said that I would be more than happy with a point, starting from 17th on the grid – and that is what I got. I can be happy with that. To be honest, we are always good in the race. It is great that I was able to move up so many places. The duel with Gary Paffett was particularly enjoyable. It was tough, but absolutely fair. I was able to make up a lot of ground on options. I love the option tyres – and they love me. If we get everything together, then we will be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.”
Maxime Martin (car number 24, BMW Team RMG, 20th - Tyres: Standard-Option): “All in all, my first DTM race weekend was a great experience. Qualifying was okay, and I got off to a really decent start in the race. However, I then made a mistake that cost me a few positions. After that I found myself behind Joey Hand and Gary Paffett, but could not get past. I then dropped even further back following the problem with the front-left wheel during the pit stop, and the subsequent drive-through penalty. Despite this, there are still a lot of positives for me to build on. It is still a long season.”
António Félix da Costa (car number 18, BMW Team MTEK, 21st - Tyres: Option-Standard): “Three quarters of today’s race were fantastic for me, but then I made a big mistake. It was not very clear, as the yellow flags had just disappeared again, and I had the impression that Timo Scheider had gone a bit wide in the corner. Therefore, I saw the opportunity for an attack – but I should not have done. I would like to apologise to Timo and Audi. That sort of thing should not happen. However, I will now forget about this race. The preparations for Oschersleben begin tomorrow. I want to do a better job there. Congratulations to Marco Wittmann. He showed what is possible with the BMW M4 DTM.”