It proved to be an eventful Sunday today at Zolder in Belgium, in the 14th DTM race of the 2020 DTM season, as Austrian BMW DTM driver Lucas Auer took his second podium finish of the season, finishing third in his BMW Bank M4 DTM. German driver Timo Glock in the iQOO BMW M4 DTM, who started in pole, only managed to finish fourth. Fellow countryman Marco Wittmann in the Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM and South African Sheldon van der Linde in the Shell BMW M4 DTM also finished in the points.
In the morning it was Glock who set the fastest time on a drying track to secure pole position. Van der Linde was alongside him on the front row of the grid, making it the best BMW qualifying result of the season so far.
It was, however, drama right from the start when Glock span off into a gravel after making contact in the opening corners, forcing him to drop to the back of the field. Then a crash involving Robin Frijns’ Audi brought out the safety car, which turned the race on its head as the cars that had already come in for their mandatory pit stop were able to gain positions and move to the front of the field. This included Auer and a lucky Glock and meant that Auer found himself looking at a podium finish, eventually crossing the finish line in third place, followed by Glock in fourth.
Although Van der Linde had led the field during the safety car period, he had yet to come in for his mandatory pit stop. This was also the case for Wittmann, who also led for several laps after the safety car period. In the end Wittmann finished eighth and Van der Linde tenth. The BMW’s of Jonathan Aberdein (CATL BMW M4 DTM) and Philipp Eng (ZF BMW M4 DTM) were eleventh and 14th respectively.
Following the race BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt, commented:
“This weekend’s second race at Zolder was a real emotional rollercoaster. We had a great qualifying. Congratulations to Timo Glock and Sheldon van der Linde on the first all-BMW front row of the season. Unfortunately, the start did not run smoothly. We need to take a closer look at why our starts were not so good this weekend. The first lap was a bit chaotic, and Timo found himself way behind at the back of the field after a collision. The safety car then promoted our two cars that had come in early because they were well down the field. Towards the end, they obviously really struggled on older tyres which is why they were unable to attack the cars in front anymore. However, third place for Lucas Auer and fourth for Timo was a well-deserved result. After the safety car, the field was split in two. Marco Wittmann was able to hold his ground in the end and managed to stay ahead of Nico Müller. We probably could have done better, but the conditions were the same for everyone. I think we gained valuable experience this weekend and laid a good foundation for Zolder II. The qualifying performance can stay as it was, but we are obviously hoping for a better start and a race without an appearance from the safety car. We will push hard again.”
Lucas Auer, who started 12th on the grid, said after the race: “I am really happy for my guys and me. We are all trying our hardest and have had some fantastic highs this season, but we have also had some lows. I am delighted to pick up another trophy. The start was super, and I got away really well. Our pit stop strategy was the right one, and we obviously benefitted from the safety car. It all kicked off again at the restart, but fortunately it all turned out well. I am happy with the way we finished the race.”
Timo Glock commented: “It was fantastic to get pole position this morning. We timed it perfectly in difficult conditions. Unfortunately, my start was not ideal, and I simply braked too late in turn one. I lost the car, hit Ferdinand Habsburg, and spun. In the end, I had a lot of luck with the safety car period, which allowed me to finish fourth. We can be happy with that, as the car was pretty damaged. On the whole, I think we laid a good foundation for next weekend.”
The eighth round of the 2020 DTM season, with races 15 and 16, takes place next weekend at Zolder once again.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.
Photographs courtesy of BMW