30. April 2012
BMW is back in the DTM – and was immediately in the thick of things in a turbulent opening race of the 2012 season at the Hockenheimring (DE). Andy Priaulx (GB) of BMW Team RBM was the only one of the six BMW drivers to complete the 40 laps without any notable incidents.
Priaulx crossed the line in sixth place in his Crowne Plaza Hotels BMW M3 DTM to score eight points. The three-time World Touring Car Champion finished 28.4 seconds behind Gary Paffett (GB), who won the race for Mercedes.
Andy Priaulx (car number 15, BMW Team RBM, 6th place): “Coming into the weekend if I had been told I would be sixth I would have been very happy, so that is how I feel now. I thoroughly enjoyed this race and love the whole DTM show. The first couple of laps felt like a sprint race, and then the result was about settling in and having some good stints. After my first stop I ended up in the middle of the field. That was fun. It has been a really tremendous weekend, and today my Crowne Plaza Hotels BMW M3 DTM was just awesome. We have come to Hockenheim with no DTM experience, and we now know that we have an amazing package for the start of our campaign in the series.”
Starting the race from third place on the grid, Dirk Werner (DE, E-POSTBRIEF BMW M3 DTM) was hit by Mercedes driver Ralf Schumacher (DE) very early in the race, and dropped to the back of the field. Bruno Spengler (CA, BMW Bank M3 DTM), who was directly behind Schumacher at the time, could do nothing to avoid colliding with the former Formula One driver, and subsequently had to retire from the race.
Joey Hand (US, SAMSUNG BMW M3 DTM) was hit by another competitor and spun in the hairpin, losing time and dropping positions. He eventually crossed the line in 13th. Augusto Farfus (BR, Castrol EDGE BMW M3 DTM) finished 15th, while Werner brought his car home in 17th.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director): “On the whole, I am very happy with our DTM comeback. Nobody really knew what the balance of power would be at the start of the new DTM era. The unexpectedly strong performance in qualifying on Sunday, and the good sixth place achieved by an in-form Andy in Sunday’s race are just reward for the hard work put in by our entire team. A huge compliment and thank you to all the BMW teams and everyone at BMW Motorsport. We have taken the first step – and we will continue to pursue our path. It is good news for the fans that the three manufacturers are at a similar level. We will have to wait and see how we fare at the other circuits on the calendar. We are well aware of the huge challenge we face in such a fiercely competitive series as the DTM. Our competitors have many more years of experience than we do. We want to overcome that advantage as soon as possible.”