BMW's Philipp Eng claims maiden DTM victory in dramatic Zolder race

BMW's Philipp Eng claimed his maiden DTM victory in a dramatic Zolder opener that was thrown upside down by the deployment of a mid-race safety car

BMW's Philipp Eng claims maiden DTM victory in dramatic Zolder race

The two R-Motorsport-run Aston Martins of Jake Dennis and Daniel Juncadella stopped almost simultaneously halfway into the race, necessitating the use of the safety car.

That meant the leading trio of Bruno Spengler, Marco Wittmann and Rene Rast were caught out, having not yet taken their mandatory pitstop.

Spengler had looked a candidate for the win after a stunning start from third on the grid allowed him to lead into Turn 1, before pitting from the lead a lap after the safety car period ended.

Rast's race also unravelled when he pulled into the pits 11 laps from the end with a currently unknown problem.

By then Eng had already moved into the lead when the order shuffled out, having started seventh on the grid.

The BMW driver had climbed to fifth before stopping on lap 11 of 39 and was further boosted by Robin Frijns earning a five second stop/go penalty for a jump start.

Once Eng moved to the front, he was able to canter into a lead of over three seconds to seal his maiden DTM victory.

Behind him, Joel Eriksson and Nico Muller battled for second with the Audi driver repeatedly putting pressure on the BMW ahead to no avail.

Eriksson sealed the position when Muller ran wide on the final lap as the BMW driver crossed the line just ahead of Muller.

Loic Duval finished fourth, despite a nervy moment when the WRT Audi of Jonathan Aberdein barged past with door-to-door contact that pushed the Frenchman wide and Aberdein into retirement with front-right bodywork damage.

Mike Rockenfeller sealed fifth with just two laps to go when he breezed around the inside of Audi stablemate Jamie Green at the sweeping Turn 1.

Wittmann had looked a prime contender for victory until the safety car's arrival but had to settle for seventh.

Paul di Resta finished an impressive eighth from a starting position of 16th after opting to make his mandatory pitstop on the first lap and taking a free second stop during the safety car.

The fellow Aston Martin of Ferdinand Habsburg was ninth ahead of Spengler.

Sheldon van der Linde, Frijns, Timo Glock and Pietro Fittipaldi filled out 11th through 14th and the last of the classified drivers.

Race 1 result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Philipp Eng RMR BMW 39 59m34.758s
2 Joel Eriksson RBM BMW 39 8.645s
3 Nico Muller Abt Audi 39 8.829s
4 Loic Duval Phoenix Audi 39 18.159s
5 Mike Rockenfeller Phoenix Audi 39 24.502s
6 Jamie Green Rosberg Audi 39 32.318s
7 Marco Wittmann RMG BMW 39 32.746s
8 Paul Di Resta R-Motorsport Aston Martin 39 35.875s
9 Ferdinand Habsburg R-Motorsport Aston Martin 39 38.858s
10 Bruno Spengler RMG BMW 39 39.874s
11 Sheldon van der Linde RBM BMW 39 40.571s
12 Robin Frijns Abt Audi 39 42.721s
13 Timo Glock RMR BMW 39 45.672s
14 Pietro Fittipaldi WRT Audi 39 1m09.779s
15 Jonathan Aberdein WRT Audi 27 12 Laps
16 Rene Rast Rosberg Audi 27 12 Laps
- Daniel Juncadella R-Motorsport Aston Martin 12 Retirement
- Jake Dennis R-Motorsport Aston Martin 12 Retirement

shares
comments
DTM Zolder: Wittmann takes race one pole from Rast as BMW dominates

Previous article

DTM Zolder: Wittmann takes race one pole from Rast as BMW dominates

Next article

Philipp Eng: Final Zolder DTM laps felt longer than any endurance race

Philipp Eng: Final Zolder DTM laps felt longer than any endurance race
Load comments

About this article

Series DTM
Drivers Philipp Eng
Author Tom Errington
The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king Plus

The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king

It's taken him a while to emerge as a consistent title challenger, but in the final year of DTM's Class One rule set, Nico Muller has smoothed the rough edges and has double champion stablemate Rene Rast working harder than ever to keep up in the title race

DTM
Oct 13, 2020
How a DTM failure became an unlikely Nurburgring conqueror Plus

How a DTM failure became an unlikely Nurburgring conqueror

Opel's fortunes in the DTM had taken a turn for the worst by 2003 - hardly the pedigree that suggested it could take on the toughest 24-hour race of them all. But that's exactly what it did

DTM
Sep 23, 2020
The season that revitalised a sleeping giant Plus

The season that revitalised a sleeping giant

On the 20th anniversary of the resumption of hostilities in the DTM, Autosport revisits a classic season that brought a staple of German motorsport back to life with a bang and set in motion the careers of some notable names

DTM
May 28, 2020
Does 2000 hold the answers to DTM's current crisis? Plus

Does 2000 hold the answers to DTM's current crisis?

It's 20 years since the DTM roared back into life at a packed Hockenheim with a back-to-basics approach as the antidote to its high-tech past. Now it's on its knees again, so is it time to recall the lessons learned in 2000?

DTM
May 28, 2020
The last-chance saloon of Germany's forgotten tin-top champions Plus

The last-chance saloon of Germany's forgotten tin-top champions

The Opel Vectra GTS was the last in the line of the marque's DTM challengers, but failed to hit the lofty heights of its predecessors when financial constraints hit

DTM
May 15, 2020
Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers Plus

Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers

Audi last week announced it would be exiting the DTM at the end of 2020, bringing the curtain down on 20 years of continuous participation since the series' reboot in 2000. Autosport's expert panel ranks its 10 best drivers from the period

DTM
May 5, 2020
How the DTM landed itself in crisis Plus

How the DTM landed itself in crisis

Audi's announcement that it will withdraw from the DTM was the latest bodyblow for a series that has lost three manufacturers in as many years. Some major soul-searching will now be required to assess how it can survive

DTM
Apr 28, 2020
The FE cynic who had to accept change in his series Plus

The FE cynic who had to accept change in his series

DTM boss Gerhard Berger was an ardent detractor of Formula E and was reluctant for his series to embrace greener engine technologies. But this cynic's tune has had to change to ensure the DTM's existence in the future of motorsport

DTM
Dec 13, 2019