Having taken three podiums already in 2012, BMW head to the Red Bull Ring in Austria this weekend ‘full of confidence’ as the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters prepares for its fourth round of the season.
Bruno Spengler finished second last time out at Brands Hatch to consolidate his second position in the championship standings. On the back of such strong results already in 2012, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt admits that the manufacturer is looking forward to the Austrian race, despite once again heading into the relative unknown.
“Following our positive results in the first three races, we now move on to Spielberg full of confidence,” said Marquardt. “The fans have many good reasons to look forward to the race weekend in Austria. The three DTM manufacturers are very evenly matched. Fractions of a second are making the difference between a driver qualifying at the very front of the field or back in the pack.”
Spengler is hoping to be able to continue his strong form in Spielberg – although the Canadian has to close an already sizeable 25-point gap to championship leader Gary Paffett.
“I cannot complain about the season so far, but you just cannot afford to take the DTM for granted,” admitted Spengler. “We will have to gain valuable experience with every lap we complete with the BMW M3 DTM in Spielberg. This has worked very well and effectively at all the races so far, and I obviously hope that this will be the case again this time. I really like the circuit. I set the fastest race lap in Spielberg in 2011. If the BMW M3 DTM is as good there as it has been recently, then I should be able to attack at the front of the field again.”
Brazilian Augusto Farfus, a DTM rookie with only three starts, is currently the third-best BMW driver in the championship in 8th, after Spengler and Martin Tomczyk. Farfus participated in development testing at the circuit in 2011 as part of BMW’s preparations to rejoin the series, although he is not expecting the data to be particularly useful in the ultra-close 2012 DTM.
“We were in Spielberg in July 2011 to test the first version of our DTM car,” said Farfus. “The data we gathered there might not turn out to be all that valuable, however, as it was raining at the time. I like the track, and it was great fun driving there. The region is beautiful. I hope to have a strong weekend. Our car was good enough to finish higher than 11th at Brands Hatch.”
Despite BMW’s strong start to the 2012 season, German Dirk Werner finds himself still without any points after a difficult start to the season. Werner’s best result so far in 2012 – his first season in the DTM – is a lowly 16th place and he is sure that he can improve, having qualified in third at the second race of the year at the Laustizring.
“I drove in Spielberg once back in 2003, so I am vaguely familiar with the circuit,” explained Werner. “The layout looks very interesting. The last two race weekends did not go to plan for me, so I will try again in Austria. I am not happy with the results so far, but am learning from race to race. It is important to take full advantage of the experience gained so far, so that we can set our sights higher up the field. My third place on the grid in Hockenheim showed me what we are capable of.”
The first free practice session at the Red Bull Ring, formerly the A1-Ring, takes place at 1335 CET on Friday 1st June 2012. Round 4 of the 2012 DTM takes place at 1333 CET on Sunday 3rd June. The start of the race has been brought forward by half an hour to allow Das Erste, the German TV Broadcaster, to air a special program about the British Queen for her Diamond Jubilee.