Joel Eriksson went through a weekend of mixed feelings at Zandvoort as he completed the first half of his rookie DTM season, once again adding to his points tally.
The Swedish BMW racer got proceedings underway at the Dutch seaside venue by utilising a late-stopping strategy to leap from 15th to ninth in the first race on Saturday, ensuring his run of points-scoring performances at each round so far in 2018 was further extended.
When racing resumed on Sunday, however, Eriksson suffered a crash in the morning free practice session, damaging his BMW M4 DTM to the point where participation in the subsequent qualifying showdown seemed in danger.
Frenetic work by the BMW Team RBM mechanics incredibly enabled Eriksson to take part after all, but only in time for one single, late flying lap – which proved enough to hand the 20-year-old 14th place on the grid for Sunday’s concluder. He eventually finished the race in 11th place, despite having to avoid colliding rivals at a safety car restart, just half a second outside the points.
“The main thing that stands out to me this weekend is the fantastic job done by the BMW Team RBM guys in fixing the car after my practice crash,” says Joel Eriksson. “It really shouldn’t have been possible in such a small time frame, but they overdelivered and I’m lucky to be part of such a strong team.”
As for the end results at Zandvoort, Eriksson – who sits 14th in the DTM standings with half the season completed – is divided.
“I was hoping for a bit more to be honest, at a track where we felt we would be strong,” Eriksson admits. “Having said that, I’m happy to keep up my record of points-finishes at all rounds this season, and I feel I’m learning new things every weekend. For the second half of the season, I really want to put some more pressure on the frontrunners.”
The DTM continues next time out at Brands Hatch in the UK on August 10-12. As part of the build-up to the meeting, Joel Eriksson will attend a pre-event press conference in Britain next week.
GALLERY: view all images from Zandvoort.
RESULTS (top five)
DTM | Round 5
Zandvoort (the Netherlands)
1: Gary Paffett (GBR), Mercedes, 34 laps
2: Paul Di Resta (GBR), Mercedes, +1.422s
3: Lucas Auer (AUT), Mercedes, +1.865s
4: Pascal Wehrlein (GER), Mercedes, +2.290s
5: Robin Frijns (NED), Audi, +2.697s
9: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, +7.867s
2: Gary Paffett (GBR), Mercedes, +0.824s
3: Paul Di Resta (GBR), Mercedes, +1.349s
4: Philipp Eng (AUT), BMW, +1.825s
5: Augusto Farfus (BRA), BMW, +2.123s
11: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, +9.818s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
DTM | After 10/20 races
1: Gary Paffett (GBR), Mercedes, 148 p.
2: Paul Di Resta (GBR), Mercedes, 121 p.
3: Timo Glock (GER), BMW, 101 p.
4: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, 98 p.
5: Edoardo Mortara (ITA), Mercedes, 97 p.
14: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, 27 p.