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Joel Eriksson happy with DTM début at Hockenheim

BMW’s newest recruit, Joel Eriksson, was happy with a solid start to life in the DTM at the Hockenheimring, as the Swede finished both races, including narrowly missing out on a podium in race two.

After finishing just outside the points in 12th on Saturday, Eriksson enjoyed strong pace on Sunday, qualifying in third and only just missed out on a podium, having at one stage looked like challenging for the win.

As BMW stable-mate Timo Glock and Mercedes’ Gary Paffett duelled for the lead in an enthralling battle, Eriksson closed in on the duo and briefly passed Paffett for second, before Audi’s Mike Rockenfeller got past further around the lap in the drama.

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In the end the 19-year-old had to settle for fourth, but he was not disappointed with his weekend’s work.

“I think I can be happy with my first DTM weekend,” said Eriksson. “The first stint wasn’t so easy today, but after that it got better.

“It’s been a great first weekend overall, but I have to admit I’ve got mixed feelings at the moment. It’s great to finish fourth in my second race in DTM, but being so close to the podium, it’s obviously a bit disappointing to miss out. You always want more, I guess.

“The Sunday race was an eye-opener for me, coming from single-seaters. It’s tough racing in the DTM and you need to get your elbows out.

“Looking back, I feel the situation with Paffett cost me the podium today, but I’ll learn from it. P4 is not bad at all and I’m pleased with this début.”

BMW Team RBM Team Principal Bart Mampaey praised the 2017 Formula 3 European vice-champion his performance, especially noting Eriksson’s improvement from Saturday.

“We saw a motorsport classic today,” said Mampaey. “It was a fantastic race and a great duel between Timo Glock and Gary Paffett.

“We had a good strategy with Joel, and compared with yesterday we really improved. To get so close to the podium already as a rookie is a great achievement.”

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