13. Mai 2019

Wittmann travels to historic DTM venue as championship leader

Following his victory at the opening round in Hockenheim, Marco Wittmann goes into a race weekend at the top of the DTM Drivers’ Championship for the first time since 2016. The venue for races three and four is an iconic circuit for BMW and the DTM: Zolder.

In 1984, the Belgian circuit hosted the very first DTM race. BMW driver Harald Grohs took victory in a BMW 635 CSi to secure his place in the history books. The last time Zolder featured on the DTM calendar was back in 2002, making the track an unknown quantity for many of the current crop of drivers.

“I do know Zolder, but it is 12 years since I raced here in Formula BMW,” says Wittmann. “It is a very tight little circuit with few straights – not your typical DTM racetrack. I think qualifying will be extremely important, as overtaking could be tricky in Zolder.”  This could play into the hands of Wittmann and his team-mates, as the BMW drivers were particularly strong in qualifying at the season-opener in Hockenheim. Wittmann was the fastest man on the Saturday and Philipp Eng secured pole position on the Sunday, while the two-time DTM champion started race two from second place on the grid.

However, the layout is not the only thing that will make Zolder a special challenge for the drivers and cars.

“The kerbs in the chicanes will be a big issue – whether we should drive over them or are better off avoiding them in the DTM car,” explains Wittmann. “Friday’s first practice session is definitely going to be fascinating. It is a new racetrack on the calendar, so we must try to adapt to it quickly and find a good rhythm from the word go. Then we can hope for a good second race weekend of the season.”