Joel Eriksson left a DTM event without points on the table for the first time this season after feeling the effects of a lack of track knowledge at Brands Hatch this weekend.
The Swedish BMW rookie expected the British round of the German-based championship to provide “probably the biggest challenge of the year” as he faced the prospect of tackling the daunting Brands Hatch GP track for the first time of his career, and was proved right with a brace of 14th and 13th place finishes.
It marked the first time this season that Eriksson – the youngest driver in the field at 20 – has failed to score in at least one of the two races staged at a DTM meeting.
“I thought this might be a difficult weekend, and unfortunately I was proved right,” says Joel Eriksson. “I normally don’t think coming to a new track for the first time is such a big thing, but Brands Hatch is quite special and one of those places where you do need to build up your confidence. I lacked that experience this weekend and, in such a competitive field, that makes the difference. We’re talking tenths of a second, but it’s enough.
“Still, I have learned a lot this weekend, very concrete things, and towards the end of the second race I was fast again. The next time we come here I’m sure I will be on the pace straight away.”
The proximity of the DTM pack once again became apparent this weekend, with 17 cars out of 18 lapping within 0.75 seconds in both the Saturday and Sunday qualifying sessions. Eriksson was 16th in both, notably lapping just a tenth off Race 1 winner Daniel Juncadella on the Sunday.
The next DTM round takes place at the Misano circuit in Italy on August 24-26. BMW’s line-up will expand from six to seven drivers at the Adriatic venue, as popular Italian home hero Alex Zanardi joins Joel Eriksson and the others for a one-off guest start.
RESULTS (top five)
DTM | Round 6
Brands Hatch (Great Britain)
1: Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Mercedes, 41 laps
2: Augusto Farfus (BRA), BMW, +7.896s
3: Lucas Auer (AUT), Mercedes, +10.040s
4: René Rast (GER), Audi, +14.723s
5: Philipp Eng (AUT), BMW, +23.546s
14: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, +42.738s
2: Gary Paffett (GBR), Mercedes, +1.019s
3: René Rast (GER), Audi, +1.376s
4: Pascal Wehrlein (GER), Mercedes, +11.484s
5: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, +14.312s
13: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, +23.197s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
DTM | After 12/20 races
1: Gary Paffett (GBR), Mercedes, 177 p.
2: Paul Di Resta (GBR), Mercedes, 148 p.
3: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, 110 p.
4: Lucas Auer (AUT), Mercedes, 110 p.
5: Edoardo Mortara (ITA), Mercedes, 101 p.
15: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, 27 p.