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Race of firsts for Hand and Farfus

Photo by BMW AGIt was a race of firsts for BMW Team RBM drivers Joey Hand and Augusto Farfus in the Brands Hatch round of the DTM, as Hand scored his best-ever result and Farfus suffered his first mechanical retirement.

In qualifying both RBM drivers helped to secure the best-ever overall starting positions for the team in second and third. In the race, however, Hand was compromised from the very start after the American lost three positions at the standing start when the lights went out. From thereon in, Hand faced an uphill battle to get close to the podium positions.

Nevertheless, Hand scored his best-ever result in the DTM since he joined the German series at the start of 2012. The former GT driver finished in fifth, securing the only finish for the team after Farfus retired with gearbox problems.

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“The race flew by, which is always a good sign. I told my guys over the radio that I gave myself a mini high five for finishing every lap of my DTM career,” said a pleased Hand. “Not a super big high five for my start, as that is where it all went wrong and we were definitely a podium car. You can’t blame the race car or the crew.

“I did my best, as usual, but am still finding my way here. I am pretty happy with how the weekend went – this is not the easiest place from a handling aspect or from a driving aspect, and it surely isn’t an easy place to finish a race as there is a lot going on. I am happy to take my fifth place points and run.”

Winner of the season opener, Farfus had been challenging eventual winner Mike Rockenfeller for the lead until the Brazilian was forced to retire from the race on the 65th lap. Farfus had been struggling with a gearbox problem, coming to a halt on the main start straight. The situation prompted a safety car period as he struggled to get the car going again.

“After my second stop I had a gearbox failure and I could not shift up or down, as I was stuck in third,” explained Farfus. “I tried to stop the car on the track hoping to get a gear again, but it was impossible. It is disappointing to be running second and then have to stop with a mechanical failure.

“I ran ten races last year without any mechanical failures and this was the first one. It is a shame to give away 18 points as I certainly felt this was possible.”

Team Principal Bart Mampaey added that the team quickly realised they would be unable to challenge Rockenfeller in the race, switching their strategy to defend Farfus’ second before his mechanical dramas hit.

“Augusto made a good start but was then unable to put Mike Rockenfeller, who was very quick out front, under any serious pressure,” said Mampaey. “Therefore, we concentrated on defending second place. Our pace was definitely good enough. Unfortunately a gearbox problem then put a spanner in the works.”

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