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Robert Wickens admits drive-through penalty “deserved”

Mercedes Team Mercedes me driver Robert Wickens was one of two drivers that found themselves on the receiving end of penalties at the first race of the DTM season, taking a drive-through penalty after contact with BMW’s Tom Blomqvist early in the race.

Whilst Wickens was battling Abt Sportsline’s Nico Müller, he clipped the rear of Blomqvist’s M4 DTM, sending the Brit into a spin from sixth place.

The Canadian, who admitted that it was a “tough start to the season,” was happy with making up two places by the end of the first lap, having initially made a good start.

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“I lined up in P10 and got away really well, overtaking the entire row in front of me. That was pretty good,” said Wickens, who would eventually finish in 15th place.

He explained that the BMW M4s were able to pass easily on the straights from the early goings, which saw Blomqvist jump from ninth in the first handful of laps.

“The next lap, I used DRS, but the Audi also overtook me. As Müller and I were fighting against each other, we both braked very late and, unfortunately, Tom was turning in and I ran into the back of him.”

The Guelph native admitted that the drive-through penalty that he had received from Race Control was justified, in light of the circumstances that led to the incident.

“For the rest of the race, I was just driving by myself. The pace was good in the car. We just have to fix the mistakes for tomorrow.”

Blomqvist admitted that he felt “comfortable” and in the right place during the race, until the contact from behind.

“I am obviously disappointed. I was well positioned in the race, then Robert Wickens spun me. My race was over after that,” said the Anglo-Swede.

It was a race to forget for Team RBM chief Bert Mampaey, whose Belgian outfit had only fielded two cars until this season, admitting that it was “a completely new challenge for us all.”

Qualifying was good for both Maxime Martin and Blomqvist, who were sixth and ninth respectively, but it was no points for the outfit after the first race of the year and another difficult start for 2012 champion Bruno Spengler, who qualified and finished outside the top ten.

“We qualified with two cars in the top ten, which was a good result. In the race, Tom lost a lot of places when he was hit by another car. There was definitely more in it for him. Bruno had a good race. His qualifying result was not ideal, but he had consistent pace in the race,” explained Mampaey.

“The top ten was definitely within reach, but unfortunately we did not manage to pick up any points. The race was going very well for Maxime, but then we had an issue during the pit stop. This showed us that we still need to make a few adjustments to our equipment. We made some important findings in the race, and are now looking forward to tomorrow.”


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