07. Februar 2018

Strong performance goes unrewarded: No luck for Marco Wittmann in Bathurst

Marco Wittmann was denied a top finish to kick off the 2018 motorsport season. BMW Team Schnitzer and drivers Wittmann, Chaz Mostert and Augusto Farfus were forced to retire their BMW M6 GT3 from the 12-hour classic in Bathurst following a crash.

It initially looked like being a very different story, with all the signs pointing towards a perfect start to the year. The BMW trio made a fine impression during the first practice sessions at the “Mount Panorama Circuit”, clocking top-three times in each session in the BMW M6 GT3. And there was even better to come in qualifying: Mostert set the fastest lap time of 2:01.934 to ensure he started the race from thre front of the field.

“We had a great car, especially in qualifying and in the first two stints in the morning. Chaz was doing an awesome job, pulling away and we showed a strong performance with the BMW M6 GT3”, Wittmann said after the race.

Untroubled by the chasing pack, the trio started to pull clear and open up a comfortable lead during the early stages of the race. There was just one bitter pill: Several safety car phases prevented the trio in the #43 BMW M6 GT3 from taking full advantage of the favourable morning conditions.

“But when the sun came out and temperatures rose, we were missing a bit on top speed. It was then difficult for us to overtake. In addition, we got a drive-through penalty that dropped us back. But we actually fought back and were running in a promising position”, said Wittmann.

The crushing blow came with roughly two and a half hours remaining. Running fourth at the time, Mostert was involved in a collision whilst battling with several other cars. The Australian did manage to get the car back to the pits, but it was too severely damaged to be able to continue.

“Chaz tried it – and sometimes it works out and sometimes not. But at least he tried it. For sure it is a shame because we were still in the hunt for a podium or maybe even the win. There were more than two hours to go. But that’s racing and things like this can happen”, said Wittmann.

There were also mixed fortunes for the trio in the #100 BMW M6 GT3, run by BMW Team SRM. Following a disqualification in qualifying, Wittmann’s BMW DTM colleagues Timo Glock and Philipp Eng, racing alongside team principal Steve Richards, produced an impressive fightback to quickly work their way into the leading group, having started from the back of the field in 49th place. However, a brake issue in the closing stages of the race then cost them a lot of time, and the trio ultimately came home in ninth place.