Difficult conditions, excellent result: Marco Wittmann (GER) has triumphed in the ninth race of the 2019 DTM season for BMW at Assen (NED). At the legendary ‘TT Circuit’, the BMW Team RMG driver in the Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM celebrated his third win of the season, from pole position. Philipp Eng (AUT, ZF BMW M4 DTM), Timo Glock (GER, JiVS BMW M4 DTM) and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA, Shell BMW M4 DTM) also reached the points, finishing in fourth, fifth and tenth places. Outside the top ten, Bruno Spengler (CAN, BMW Bank M4 DTM) and Joel Eriksson (SWE, CATL BMW M4 DTM) crossed the line in 15th and 16th positions.
The forecast rain arrived just as the cars were lining up on the grid. Every practice session up to that point had taken place in the dry, so the weather conditions meant race control deciding to start the race behind the safety car. The ninth race of the season was finally given the green light after three laps, but the safety car reappeared just one lap later after an Aston Martin had retired. At the head of the field, Wittmann remained calm and in control. His overtaking manoeuvre against Nico Müller (SUI, Audi) just before the end proved decisive. Müller had rejoined just ahead of the BMW driver after his pit stop, but Wittmann was able to make his move stick.
This was the 86th DTM win for BMW, and the fifth of the 2019 season. Wittmann celebrated his 14th triumph in 103 races and moved into the top ten of the all-time DTM winners’ list. He is now in ninth place in the standings, together with Johnny Cecotto (VEN) and Alessandro Nannini (ITA). This was the 20th DTM win for BMW Team RMG.
Eng now has 111 points under his belt and is still the best-placed BMW driver, remaining third in the drivers’ standings, while Wittmann has moved up to fourth position (100). BMW scored 51 points in the manufacturers’ standings and ranks second with 388 points, behind Audi (508).
Reactions to the ninth DTM race of the 2019 season at Assen.
Rudolf Dittrich (General Manager BMW Motorsport Vehicle Development):
“From A to Z, that was a spectacular race here at Assen. Congratulations to Marco Wittmann and BMW Team RMG on a fantastic qualifying performance and race victory. Despite the difficult conditions, Marco showed his real class at the front and was in control during every phase of the race with a faultless performance and outstanding pace. That was an important win for him. Of course, the rain just before the start of the race provided plenty of extra action. I am happy that we managed to score points with four drivers. Philipp Eng is still in the leading group in the DTM and Timo Glock once again performed with impressive pace after a few difficult races to record a great result. We have had a fantastic race weekend here so far, starting on Thursday with a wonderful fan event. The circuit itself proved to be extremely interesting – for fans and drivers alike. In dry conditions, the cars race through the fastest turn at over 260 km/h, with lateral acceleration of more than 3g. That is impressive. The changeable conditions also did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the large crowds. We are now looking forward to Sunday – hopefully with a similar result to today.”
Bart Mampaey (BMW Team RBM Team Principal):
“It was a very wet race. And of course, we had no experience of these conditions here at Assen, which turned it into something of a lottery. Congratulations to BMW and Marco Wittmann on the excellent performance. The race went well for Philipp Eng; moving up from ninth to fourth is a good result. He had decent pace and drove an excellent race. It is great that we managed to score another point with Sheldon van der Linde. We will have to analyse exactly what the problem was with Joel Eriksson’s car but I am sure that we will be able to push him on again tomorrow. Now we are looking forward to tomorrow.”
Philipp Eng (#25 ZF BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR, Grid: 9th, Race: 4th, Drivers’ standings: 3rd, 111 points):
“It was extremely wet at the start and there was a lot of water on the track. It did dry out very quickly though. My car was good; I just lost a bit too much time at the start and that meant I was not able to attack the podium. But those are important points and there is a long way to go yet in the championship.”
Joel Eriksson (#47 CATL BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM, Grid: 10th, Race: 16th, Drivers’ standings: 10th, 43 points):
“We had a few problems with the car during the race. We will have to take a closer look at that. We didn’t have the right pace today. But you could see that the other BMW drivers were right on the pace. That is a glimmer of hope for me and we will try to go back on the attack tomorrow.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#31 Shell BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM, Grid: 7th, Race: 10th, Drivers’ standings: 12th, 26 points):
“I got through the first few turns after the start pretty well, but then I felt contact at the back and spun around. Luck was not on our side. I think we had the speed and now we just need a bit more luck. In general, the year is going well for me.”
Stefan Reinhold (BMW Team RMG Team Principal):
“When you take the weather conditions into account, that is a fantastic result. The team did a great job in qualifying this morning. Bruno Spengler was a bit unlucky. In my opinion, the drive-through penalty was not entirely justified. Timo Glock is back where he belongs. Marco Wittmann delivered another masterful performance. The entire crew deserves great credit for some superb pit stops and a top strategy. All in all, it was a good day and we are now doubly motivated for tomorrow.”
Marco Wittmann (#11 Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG, Grid: 1st, Race: 1st, Drivers’ standings: 4th, 100 points):
“Coming back like this to claim pole position and the win after the difficult race weekend at the Norisring is just magnificent. The conditions were anything but easy. We had plenty of question marks about how the set-up and the car would work in the wet but everything went just fine. The two Audis put me under pressure from time to time but I was able to build up a comfortable lead by the end. This victory is just great.”
Bruno Spengler (#7 BMW Bank M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG, Grid: 8th, Race: 15th, Drivers’ standings: 5th, 77 points):
“Congratulations to Marco Wittmann and the team on this brilliant win, the second in a row for the BMW Team RMG. That is brilliant, and everyone did a great job once again. My situation was a bit unfortunate. I made light contact with Sheldon van der Linde in turn five. I then received a drive-through penalty, which I think was a bit harsh as I was on the inside and I couldn’t do very much. I did just touch him though, spinning him around, and I am very sorry about that. It was a shame, but tomorrow is a new day.”
Timo Glock (#16 BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR, Grid: 5th, Race: 5th, Drivers’ standings: 11th, 33 points):
“It was a good race. Our pace was very, very good. It was a shame that I ended up in the gravel trap but there was not a lot I could do as the rear wheels just locked. However, at the end we showed that the speed was very good. This allowed us to move up to fifth.”