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Spengler Claims BMW's 50th Victory in DTM

Source: BMW | Published: Tue May 08, 2012

Just two races into its comeback season, BMW is back on the top step of the DTM podium: 19 years, six months and 25 days after the last triumph, Canadian Bruno Spengler, at the wheel of the BMW Bank M3 DTM, crossed the finish line at the Lausitzring in first place. In a thrilling second race of the season, Spengler held off the challenge of Mercedes driver Gary Paffett, who finished runner-up. Augusto Farfus came third in the Castrol EDGE BMW M3 DTM to complete a fantastic team result for BMW.

Spengler follows in the footsteps of Roberto Ravaglia, who claimed the brand's 49th victory in the DTM on 11th October 1992 in Hockenheim. Back then, BMW Team Schnitzer, with Team Principal Charly Lamm on the pit wall, was responsible for the BMW M3. Almost 20 years later, the team from Freilassing once again made DTM history with BMW's 50th victory and the first win since the company's return to the series. The victory also represents a milestone for Spengler: the 28-year-old secured the tenth victory of this DTM career at the 3.478-kilometer Lausitzring.

The action was watched by 72,000 motorsport fans at the Lausitzring over the course of the weekend.

Right from the first lap, BMW drivers Spengler and Farfus were involved in a thrilling duel with Mercedes' Paffett and Jamie Green. Spengler defended his lead at the start and then held onto his position at the front of the field, thanks largely to excellent work by BMW Team Schnitzer during the two pit stops. Although Farfus was passed by Paffett on lap one, the Brazilian brilliantly withstood pressure from the fourth-placed Green for lap after lap. His reward came in the form of his first podium finish in the DTM.

Bruno Spengler Interview

Bruno, how does it feel to have achieved the first BMW victory of the new DTM era?

Bruno Spengler: "When I crossed the finishing line, this fact came straight to my mind. It is unbelievable: I am the first driver to stand on the top of the podium since BMW's return to the series after 20 years away. Lifting the trophy was a very special moment for me, particularly as my parents and girlfriend were at the podium ceremony to see what was a historic moment for BMW and me. It still sends a shiver down my spine thinking about it."

How tough was the race at the Lausitzring?

Spengler: "I had to give 100 percent on every lap and could not afford to make even the slightest of errors. The Mercedes behind me was piling on the pressure and just kept on attacking me. The key to the success was that BMW Team Schnitzer selected the perfect race strategy and the pit stops were spot on. The guys did a fantastic job. You can only succeed as a team in the DTM."

How were the final stages of the race for you at the wheel of your BMW Bank M3 DTM?

Spengler: "When my race engineer came on the radio to tell me that I still had another 15 laps to go, I thought: 'Wow, there is still a lot of hard work to be done'. I had to push pretty hard, because I was constantly under pressure. On the last lap I tried not to risk anything and end up off the track. Thankfully I managed to avoid making any mistakes. I was quite relieved when I saw the chequered flag. Then I wanted to get to my team as quickly as possible and thank each and every one of them."

How have you celebrated your win?

Spengler: "On the Sunday morning I checked out of the hotel as usual. I just wanted to wait and see what the day had in store for me. Then I claimed the 50th victory for BMW in the DTM. I ended up back at the hotel again after the party. First the BMW team put on a big party for me in the hospitality at the Lausitzring. A lot of people from the other manufacturers also stopped by. It was great fun - especially dancing on the table with Charly Lamm. Then the guys had to get back to work at some point. After all, the next race at Brands Hatch is just around the corner."

Did you think you would be climbing onto the top step of the podium so soon?

Spengler: "Right from the outset I had great faith in BMW. A lot of engineers with an immense amount of know-how work there. I always felt that I would be able to challenge at the front of the field this season. But I would never have dreamt that I would claim pole position and pick up my first win with BMW at just the second race. That was a big surprise to me."

What else can we expect from you in 2012?

Spengler: "It is hard to say. We simply don't have any experience with the BMW M3 DTM at many DTM circuits. As such, it is almost impossible to make a prediction for the rest of the season. As a racing driver, my own personal goal is obviously to claim pole, stand on the podium and win races as often as possible. However, I cannot predict how often I will achieve these things this season. For the moment, I am just enjoying my first victory with BMW."

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