BMW’s Marco Wittmann has called his fourth-place finish in the opening Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters race at the Norisring a ‘mega’ result, after he gained nine places from his grid position.
Wittmann finished fourth in the race, ensuring that he remains second overall in the driver’s championship standings.
The former champion, who is from Fürth just to the immediate north-west of Nuremberg, made gradual progress during the 49-lap race. By the end of lap one he had passed Timo Glock and Augusto Farfus to move up to 11th, which then became tenth a few laps later when he fought past Mercedes’ Lucas Auer.
Wittmann was then a beneficiary when Nico Müller tagged Mike Rockenfeller directly ahead of him, allowing him to pass the ailing Audi driver, before gaining another position when Müller was handed a drive-through penalty for the incident.
Eighth then became fifth after the controversial incident at the front of the field between Mattias Ekström, Robert Wickens and Christian Vietoris.
Wittmann made his final pass on BMW colleague Bruno Spengler on lap 36 to take fourth and secure his best-ever home race result.
“The best word I can think of to describe this result is ‘mega’,” said Wittmann. “I had a good start from P13, then it is always incredibly close on the first turn here. I went for the inside line, and I think that was the right choice.
“I was able to make up positions and then benefitted from the hotheads in front of me – you need to keep a cool head at the front.
“In terms of pace, we were very, very fast. From 13th to fourth place – that doesn’t happen every day.”
BMW motorsport Director Jens Marquardt paid tribute to Wittmann’s fast but safe drive.
“The fans witnessed an extremely thrilling race – just like you are used to at the Norisring,” said Marquardt. “It was a top result for us and the best that we were able to achieve.
“Naturally, we benefitted from the aggressive manoeuvres from the opposition.
“Marco in particular delivered an excellent performance at his home event and pushed his way into fourth place after starting from 13th on the grid. Bruno and Maxime [Martin, P6] both had great races right behind him. I am very pleased.
“Now we will undergo intensive preparations for tomorrow. It will be another fiercely contested race.”