Fond memories of Budapest

13. Juni 2017 Zurück zur Artikelübersicht »

Passionate fans and a touch of Formula 1 flair await defending champion Marco Wittmann and his colleagues at the third race weekend of the 2017 DTM season. The DTM caravan is calling in at the Hungaroring, on the outskirts of the Hungarian capital Budapest, where Formula 1 once made its first appearance in what was the Eastern bloc at the time.

After making its debut in Hungary in 1988, the DTM returned in 2014. Marco Wittmann is only too happy to cast his mind back to that particular race. “I won, so I have fond memories,” said the BMW driver, who recorded his second win of the year in only the third race of the season, before going on to take the title for the first time. However, his first race at the Hungaroring is not the only one that stands out in Marco Wittmann’s memory: “My spectacular start last year, with the battle with Edoardo Mortara, is another moment I will not forget in a hurry.” Leading the championship at the time, Wittmann finished seventh in Saturday’s race to score valuable points. Sunday’s race then started with a real bang.

Wittmann’s closest rival in the title race had made a mess of his start, and proceeded to attempt to hold off the man from Franconia with an aggressive manoeuvre. Although Wittmann was forced onto the grass, he initially passed the Audi. The rear of his car was then hit, sending him sliding across the track and into Jamie Green’s Audi, which knocked the BMW M4 DTM back on course. While Mortara fell back through the field and Green, who also had title aspirations, crashed, Marco Wittmann went on to finish fourth. However, his joy was short lived. A technical irregularity on his car resulted in him being disqualified a few hours later. Despite this, the German still secured the title at the showdown in Hockenheim.

This year, Wittmann arrives in Budapest in eleventh place in the championship and is looking to take a step forward. “For us, the key is to make progress with regard to our race pace and to put our rivals under pressure,” said Wittmann, who is looking forward to the 4.381-kilometre circuit located in a valley basin. “I really like the Hungaroring. It has a lot of tricky corners, which makes it a big challenge for us drivers.” The Hungarian fans are never lacking enthusiasm. On 1st May, roughly 200,000 fans gathered in the heart of Budapest to mark the season opening of the racetrack. Among those at the huge motorsport festival were three DTM drivers.

Saturday’s DTM race at the Hungaroring gets underway at 14:48 (live on ARD from 14:30). The best grid positions and first points of the weekend will be up for grabs in qualifying at 11:40 (live on ONE from 11:35). Marco Wittmann and his five fellow BMW drivers tackle the second qualifying session of the weekend at 12:00 on Sunday (live on ONE from 11:55). Race two begins at 15:18 (live on ARD from 15:00).