Inspired strategy helps BMW rookie Joel Eriksson to first DTM win

BMW rookie Joel Eriksson took a surprise maiden DTM win in the Sunday night race at Misano thanks to an inspired strategy call

Inspired strategy helps BMW rookie Joel Eriksson to first DTM win

The Belgian RBM team elected to put sixth-row starter Eriksson on slick tyres for the start of the damp race and the Swede, the only runner not to begin on grooved rubber, lucked in thanks to a handily timed safety car.

Eriksson struggled at the start, even dropping behind BMW guest Alex Zanardi as he plummeted to the tail of the field.

One by one, as Eriksson got closer to the crossover where slicks would be quicker, the majority of the field pitted for dry-weather tyres.

Edoardo Mortara had got the jump on Audi's polesitter Loic Duval at the start, with Daniel Juncadella following through to make it a Mercedes one-two.

By the time the rain returned in earnest, around the eighth lap, only Mortara, Audi pair Rene Rast and Robin Frijns, and Zanardi remained on wet-weather tyres, while Eriksson was running fifth on his slicks.

Eriksson timed the moment perfectly to make his mandatory stop onto wet tyres, as those who had already pitted for slicks were forced in for a second time, all of them dropping off the lead lap.

Lucas Auer, having just emerged from the pits on wets, lost it at Turn 6 and backed his Mercedes into the tyre wall, prompting a safety car.

That allowed Eriksson, the only driver on the lead lap to have already made his mandatory stop, to latch onto the train and effectively gain his pitstop for free.

At the front, Mortara put the hammer down to try to establish enough of a buffer over Eriksson to make his stop and clear the BMW when he returned to the track.

The Italian's stop came with six laps remaining, and for a moment Rast, who had pitted three laps earlier, threatened the leading Mercedes.

Mortara was 15 seconds behind Eriksson one lap into his final stint, with five laps remaining, and sometimes slashed 3 seconds per lap out of the leading BMW, but Eriksson held on to win by 1.817s.

Rast was third, Frijns took fourth, while Zanardi took an emotional fifth on his one-off outing in a specially adapted BMW.

Paul di Resta was the first of the double pitters, charging from almost a lap behind Zanardi to a mere 12s deficit as he claimed sixth in his Mercedes.

The Scot passed Duval with eight laps remaining, while three more Audis - those of Jamie Green, Mike Rockenfeller and Nico Muller - rounded out the top 10.

BMW's Bruno Spengler also claimed a point as Zanardi is ineligible to score.

Di Resta's points for fifth give him the championship lead over Gary Paffett, whose miserable weekend continued when he was pushed into a spin at Turn 2 by Juncadella while trying to make a move on Spengler.

Juncadella had already blotted his copybook by spinning in the pit entry when the rain came.

Race two result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Joel Eriksson RBM BMW 31 57m19.154s
2 Edoardo Mortara HWA Mercedes 31 1.817s
3 Rene Rast Rosberg Audi 31 6.493s
4 Robin Frijns Abt Audi 31 16.879s
5 Alessandro Zanardi RMR BMW 31 47.316s
6 Paul Di Resta HWA Mercedes 31 59.802s
7 Loic Duval Phoenix Audi 31 1m10.232s
8 Jamie Green Rosberg Audi 31 1m12.162s
9 Mike Rockenfeller Phoenix Audi 31 1m21.814s
10 Nico Muller Abt Audi 31 1m25.646s
11 Bruno Spengler RBM BMW 31 1m26.598s
12 Pascal Wehrlein HWA Mercedes 31 1m27.097s
13 Marco Wittmann RMG BMW 31 1m34.540s
14 Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 31 1m39.009s
15 Timo Glock RMR BMW 31 1m42.331s
16 Philipp Eng RMR BMW 31 1m42.600s
17 Daniel Juncadella HWA Mercedes 30 1 Lap
- Augusto Farfus RMG BMW 14 Retirement
- Lucas Auer HWA Mercedes 10 Retirement

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Paul Di Resta 186
2 Gary Paffett 177
3 Edoardo Mortara 138
4 Marco Wittmann 112
5 Lucas Auer 110
6 Timo Glock 107
7 Rene Rast 93
8 Pascal Wehrlein 92
9 Philipp Eng 87
10 Daniel Juncadella 58
11 Robin Frijns 55
12 Joel Eriksson 52
13 Mike Rockenfeller 48
14 Bruno Spengler 44
15 Nico Muller 42
16 Augusto Farfus 40
17 Loic Duval 40
18 Jamie Green 17
19 Alessandro Zanardi 0


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Misano DTM night race: Audi's Loic Duval claims first pole

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Series DTM
Drivers Joel Eriksson
Author Marcus Simmons
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