Munich, 14th July 2012. Joey Hand (US) and Dirk Werner (DE) joined forces to form a team at the DTM Show Event in Munich (DE) and finished fourth in Saturday’s thrilling relay competition. The pair narrowly lost out to Christian Vietoris (DE) and Gary Paffett (GB) in the race-off for third and fourth. Victory in the Olympic Stadium went to fellow Mercedes drivers Ralf Schumacher (DE) and Jamie Green (GB).
First up were the qualifying races between team mates, which determined the four places for the quarter finals. Spengler completed the five laps of the 0.614-kilometre circuit in 2:22.604 minutes, making him the fastest BMW driver. The Canadian was followed by Hand, Werner and Farfus, but Tomczyk and Priaulx had to sit out the rest of the action, having finished fifth and sixth fastest. This meant the pairings for the subsequent relay races were decided: Spengler was joined in one team by Farfus, while Hand would compete alongside Werner for the rest of the day.
The teams lined up in relay format for the quarter-finals: the first driver completed three laps before pulling into the pits to hand over the reins to his team-mate. Spengler and Farfus’s meeting with Adrien Tambay (FR) and Timo Scheider (DE) did not go to plan: leading the race, radio problems resulted in Farfus missing the changeover at the end of the third lap, so handing the win to the Audi pair. This meant it was already clear that Hand and Werner would progress to the semi-final regardless of the outcome of their duel with Vietoris and Paffett. Therefore they did not need to take any risks and the win ultimately went to Vietoris and Paffett.
Hand and Werner found themselves up against Tambay and Scheider in the semi-final. After an eight lap contest with the drivers changing over at halfway, the two BMW drivers lost out by just 0.871 seconds. The race-off for third place saw them pitted against Vietoris and Paffett for a second time. However, Hand and Werner were unable to take their revenge, finishing 0.721 seconds behind the Mercedes duo.
The six BMW drivers will now look ahead to the individual competition on Sunday. Hand, Werner and Priaulx will all be involved in first-round races, while Spengler, Tomczyk and Farfus will enter the fray in the quarter-finals.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“That was a good opening here in the Olympic Stadium. The atmosphere was great and BMW Welt was packed. I think we put on a wonderful show for the fans and many BMW employees. Things on the track did not go entirely to plan for us. However, there is a considerable amount of luck involved here. Our cars were quick, so I am confident ahead of the individual competition on Sunday. The cards will be shuffled again before then.”
Joey Hand (car number 2, BMW Team RMG):
“I am a bit disappointed that we only finished fourth here. BMW Team RMG and I were here to win. I did my best and really pushed hard. Unfortunately it was not good enough to make it onto the podium. Racing in the Olympic Stadium in front of so many fans and BMW employees is a huge motivation. I promise I will be going flat out again in tomorrow’s individual races. That is why I became a racing driver: I want to win.”
Dirk Werner (car number 8, BMW Team Schnitzer): “Fourth place is not bad, but I am still a bit disappointed. It was apparent we always lost time to our opponents in the first few laps. We will have to look into why that was before the individual races. In general, however, it was great fun racing here. The event in the Olympic Stadium must certainly be a fantastic experience for the fans. They rarely get this close to the drivers and cars.”
Bruno Spengler (car number 7, BMW Team Schnitzer): “I am disappointed we went out in the quarter-final. It was a strange situation for me. I was sat in the car, ready to get going. Then I noticed that Augusto did not pull into the pit lane as expected. When I did get out onto the track, I only got to complete one lap. I am particularly sorry for the fans, as I would have liked to have put on a good show for a bit longer. However, tomorrow is a new day and I will go on the attack in the individual competition.”
Augusto Farfus (car number 16, BMW Team RBM):
“I couldn’t hear the radio. It was working in the team’s area but when I started driving there was nothing at all. I was not sure if I was on the third lap or not. I actually thought I was on the third lap, but when I got no call to go into the pits I continued driving and thought I was wrong and there must be another lap to go. It is a shame because we could really have done well.”
Martin Tomczyk (car number 1, BMW Team RMG):
“It is a shame I went out in the first round. As a racing driver, you always want to win. I just could not find enough grip, so I spent more time drifting than driving. I will now turn my attention to the individual races on Sunday.”
Andy Priaulx (car number 15, BMW Team RBM):
“I had a difficult run. I made a good start, the first two laps were good and then I locked rears going into turn one and lost a big chunk of time. From that point on I was just trying to squeeze out of it as much as I could and I clipped the wall on the exit and ended up behind Augusto. But that is the nature of this business. These events are a bit of a lottery. We all want to win here, but it is also a lot of fun.”