|Photo Source: DTM|
Concluding what has been another exciting tour for the DTM series, the race cars and teams return to the Hockenheimring, where the 2012 season started less than six months earlier. Despite starting the season as an early casualty of the opening 2012 DTM series event, Canadian driver Bruno Spengler (who had signed with the returning BMW squad late 2011 after a long time with Mercedes-Benz teams) roared back with three wins to challenge season-long points leader Gary Paffett.
Trekking out on the 4.574-kilometer long Hockenheim circuit on Saturday prior to Sunday’s main event, qualifying saw Gary Paffett muscled out a 2nd fastest time in his Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe sponsored by THOMAS SABO. Bettering Spengler’s BMW M3 by just one position, the Brit Paffett only needed to finish ahead of Spengler to clinch the championship honours for a season of racing. Augusto Farfus took the pole for the DTM Hockenheim finale with a 1-minute, 34.140-second lap time.
|Photo Source: DTM|
While Paffett rested on the grid in prime position for his second DTM championship leading up to the start of 42 laps at Hockenheim, the contention for the 2012 series title immediately heated up. Due to a weak start by Gary Paffett, Bruno Spengler was able to storm by the Mercedes-Benz rival for the second place spot. Spengler’s BMW Bank M3 race car would waste little time displacing the fellow BMW Augusto Farfus from the race lead by the end of lap 1.
Dropping to as low as fourth position, Gary Paffett recovered to second place before the halfway point of the event and would put up a formidable challenge against the leading BMW of Bruno Spengler. Never able to stretch a lead of more than 3.6 seconds under race conditions, Spengler would be able to read the inverted THOMAS SABO lettering in his mirrors often throughout the event. By lap 36, Gary Paffett had closed to within 1.2 seconds of the Canadian Spengler and prepared to give the BMW Bank car a late-race battle for the event victory as well as the all-important championship. Resisting the challenge, Bruno Spengler added some more speed to his BMW M3 creeping away from the Mercedes-Benz race car. Crossing the line 2.2 seconds in the lead to win the Hockenheim event, Bruno Spengler (a 29-year old driver defined in media as “The Secret Canadian”) celebrated the end of his 8th season in DTM racing with his first driver championship.
|Photo Source: DTM|
Finishing 2nd on two occasions in yearly title chases, Spengler had seen the DTM championship slip away from him in 7 previous seasons in the largely German-based racing tour. However, in 2012, it was finally Bruno Spengler‘s turn to be crowned the DTM driver champion. "My pulse was really racing." said the victorious Spengler that overcame a slow start to the 2012 DTM series to win the championship. "Thank you to BMW Team Schnitzer. My team did a great job all season. Once again, everything went exactly to plan today. In a race, in which we were under extreme pressure, the team did another amazing job on the pit stops. You never win on your own – only as part of a team. I am totally confused and have no idea how I should be feeling. Standing on the top step of the podium, raising the trophy to the sky and seeing all the many fans cheering for me is an amazing experience. I have waited for this for so many years. It is simply sensational.”
Gary Paffett applied a solid fight to Bruno Spengler in this final race at Hockenheim that did not go unnoticed by the victorious Canadian. “Congratulations to my rival Gary Paffett, who performed brilliantly throughout the entire season and put up a fair fight. He would also have been a worthy champion. He is a great sportsman. He put me under a lot of pressure in the final race today. I spent a lot of time looking in the rear-view mirror and he just kept getting closer. However, I was able to maintain my pace and close the race out.” said Spengler.
|Photo Source: DTM|
By a matter of four points, Gary Paffett had to settle for a runner-up spot in the 2012 DTM championship. “My team has done brilliantly well this season in terms of performance and it is very unfortunate that we missed winning the championship title in the last race by four points.” said Paffett after the Hockenheim event. A winner of a DTM championship in 2005, Gary Paffett doubt with the narrow 2012 season title loss in stride saying, “So in the immediate aftermath of the race, disappointment sits deep, of course, because from my point of view we deserved to win the championship title just as much as Bruno Spengler and BMW. Congratulations to Bruno on his first DTM title! We will go on the attack again next year to take the championship.“
2012 DTM Series
|Pos #||Driver||Nationality||Race Organization||Car Make|
|1||Bruno Spengler||Canada||BMW Team Schnitzer||BMW M3|
|2||Gary Paffett||England||THOMAS SABO||Mercedes AMG C-Coupé|
|3||Augusto Farfus||Brazil||BMW Team RBM||BMW M3|
|4||Jamie Green||England||Mercedes AMG||Mercedes AMG C-Coupé|
|5||Dirk Werner||Germany||BMW Team Schnitzer||BMW M3|
|6||Edoardo Mortara||Italy||Audi Sport Team Rosberg||Audi A5|
|7||Andy Priaulx||Guernsey (Britain)||BMW Team RBM||BMW M3|
|8||Joey Hand||United States||BMW Team RMG||BMW M3|
|9||Ralf Schumacher||Germany||Mercedes AMG||Mercedes AMG C-Coupé|
|10||Christian Vietoris||Germany||Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG||Mercedes AMG C-Coupé|
|11||Filipe Albuquerque||Portugal||Audi Sport Team Rosberg||Audi A5|
|12||Timo Scheider||Germany||Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline||Audi A5|
|13||Susie Wolff||Scotland||TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG||Mercedes AMG C-Coupé|
|14||Martin Tomczyk||Germany||BMW Team RMG||BMW M3|
|15||Roberto Merhi||Spain||Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG||Mercedes AMG C-Coupé|
|16||Rahel Frey||Switzerland||Audi Sport Team Abt||Audi A5|
|17||Miguel Molina||Spain||Audi Sport Team Phoenix||Audi A5|
|18||David Coulthard||Scotland||DHL Paket Mercedes AMG||Mercedes AMG C-Coupé|
|19||Robert Wickens||Canada||stern Mercedes AMG||Mercedes AMG C-Coupé|
|20||Mattias Ekström||Sweden||Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline||Audi A5|
|21||Mike Rockenfeller||Germany||Audi Sport Team Phoenix||Audi A5|
|22||Adrien Tambay||France||Audi Sport Team Abt||Audi A5|