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Bruno Spengler relieved to be back on the podium at the Nürburgring

BMW’s Bruno Spengler was relieved to return to the podium for the first time since July 2017 in the opening DTM race at the Nürburgring, where he narrowly missed out on victory by less than a second.

Spengler kept the pressure on the leading Audi of René Rast in the closing stages of the race, but despite catching the defending champion the Canadian was unable to find a way past, finishing the race in second.

It is 2012 champion Spengler’s first podium since the Moscow Raceway last season, and just his fifth in the last three years in the DTM, making him relieved to return to the rostrum.

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“It feels very good to be back on the podium,” said Spengler, who thus ended his longest podium drought since joining the DTM in 2005. “We had a really good day today and that has not always been the case this year.

“We have had a lot of bad luck – but that’s how it is in motorsport sometimes. It just needs a bit of time for things to go right again.

“The car did really well in qualifying and then in the race. I was able to push on from the start. A huge thank you goes out to my team, who prepared a great car for me. They earned the points today.

“It’ll be a whole new ball game tomorrow and we will be concentrating on our preparation.”

Spengler also made a special mention for former rival Robert Wickens, who was seriously injured in an IndyCar crash three weeks’ ago in the United States of America.

“At this point, I’d like to say a little something to my friend Robert Wickens, who is in hospital after his accident: I wish him all the best and hope that he is back as quickly as possible. We miss him in motorsport.”

BMW Team RBM Team Principal Bart Mamapay regretted the fact that Spengler only came close enough to use his Drag Reduction System [DRS] in the closing moments of the race.

“It was a good race; it is not easy to drive against René Rast and Gary Paffett,” added Mampaey. “Bruno was able to improve by one position, and we know that he can deal with this pressure.

“It was a bit of a shame on the final laps, as we were not far from the DRS window. That might have made the difference and brought us the win but we’ll take it as it is.”

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