Reigning DTM champion Bruno Spengler became the winner of the third DTM round at Spielberg (A). Together with his fellow BMW drivers Marco Wittmann and DTM novice Timo Glock, the Canadian secured a 1-2-3 for BMW. “This is one of these weekends that you are always dreaming of. First, second and third place is sensational, brings us many points and victory for me. It couldn’t be better,” Spengler said about his 14th DTM victory. Mike Rockenfeller, who had come to Austria as the leader in the drivers’ standings, finished fourth as the best-placed Audi driver. Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz) came seventh. In total, 44,000 fans came to attend the race weekend in Styria in unstable weather conditions.
Contrarily to the forecast, the race at Spielberg didn’t turn into a wet affair. In good conditions, the 22 drivers staged a highly exciting race with hard duels and entertaining overtaking manoeuvres. Spengler started from pole position and dominantly made his way to his first win of the season. Marco Wittmann and ex-Formula 1 driver Timo Glock joined the new points’ leader on the rostrum. “I haven’t completely arrived in the DTM, but today, I have made a big step – third place in the third race. Being able to spray champagne again after four or five years is a great feeling,” said Glock, who had started from twelfth place.
Mike Rockenfeller built on his good results from the first two rounds and made the best of his five places’ starting grid penalty. In total, the Audi driver made up nine positions. “When you make it up from 13th on the grid to finish fourth in the DTM, you can be happy. Too bad that we were penalised yesterday, because today, we have seen what could have been with my Audi RS 5 DTM,” ’Rocky’ commented. Swede Mattias Ekström finished behind his fellow Audi driver Rockenfeller in fifth place. The winner of the season opener at Hockenheim, Augusto Farfus (BMW), again showed a strong performance, only lost two places after a slight collision with Ekström just before the end of the race and came home in sixth place.
A good strategy allowed Christian Vietoris to make his way up to seventh. The 24-year old Mercedes-Benz driver had started from 16th place. “All in all, the race was a very good one. I was able to make up positions and I had fun. We have to improve in qualifying on Saturday and then we will be competitive again in the next two or three races,” Vietoris explained.
In the drivers’ standings, Spengler is now leading with 53 points from Rockenfeller (41 points) and Farfus (33 points). The fourth round of the season will take place at Lausitzring on June 16th.
Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director: “Today is a very special day, a very special result. The last time for us to lock out first to third place was way back in 1992, when we even had a clean sweep of first to fifth place. Today, the guys have done a great job. Our forecast was rain. But when it stayed dry, we carefully considered: which tyre pressure and which strategy are we using? It looked easy from the outside, but it wasn’t. Today is a day to celebrate.”
Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “According to me, our results don’t really reflect our potential today, especially when you consider how Mike Rockenfeller and Mattias Ekström made it up to the front from 13th and 15th place on the grid. After the controversial penalty, ’Rocky’ made the best out of his situation and remains well in the race for the title. After a good opening stage, Timo Scheider again had bad luck in the pits. We can only apologise to him for that.”
Toto Wolff, head of motorsport Mercedes-Benz: “Congratulations to BMW for a great performance. Gary Paffett had bad luck, he was penalised for a move that one can discuss about. Christian Vietoris had a good strategy and was able to make up positions. We have to see whether we have done everything right and where we can improve and we will continue to work and to fight.”