Summer across Europe, and the DTM fraternity heads for the beach. The midway point of the season – round five out of ten – takes place this weekend at the ever-popular Zandvoort circuit on the shores of the Dutch North Sea coast, with Joel Eriksson arriving to memories of what remains his most significant success to date.
In clinching the 2016 Masters of Formula 3, a well-established Zandvoort classic, Eriksson etched his name alongside the likes of David Coulthard, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen as a winner of the prestigious junior event. The triumph still brings vivid flashbacks to the recently-turned 20-year-old, who is bidding to emphasise his status as a Zandvoort Master this weekend on his first visit in the DTM.
“Zandvoort has always been a favourite of mine, especially after winning the Masters of F3 there two years ago,” says Joel Eriksson. “It’s a proper drivers’ track with no run-off areas – the kind of place where you know a mistake is going to be punished the hard way. We are doing well over 200 km/h in several of the corners, it’s up and down, sand blowing in from the beach… It’s a real challenge, and I love the flow of it. I can’t wait to go around there in the DTM car. It should be massive.”
Having scored at each of the opening four rounds of the season, Eriksson is slotting confidently into life as a DTM rookie, which combines with a strong Zandvoort record from his BMW team to spring optimism for the weekend ahead.
With four wins to their name since returning to the DTM in 2012, BMW is the most successful manufacturer at the Dutch seaside venue over the last few years. Furthermore, a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 finish in 2015 remains one of the marque’s all-time DTM highlights.
“The track should suit the M4 DTM well with its many fast corners,” Joel Eriksson continues. “It’s been happy hunting grounds for us, both me and the team, before, so I think we’ve got reason to be optimistic. I am yet to drive the DTM car at Zandvoort, of course, but I should get into it quite quickly. I’m confident we can have a good event, celebrating it with all the fans on the beach!”
Like always in the DTM, two races are scheduled in for the weekend: one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
All times local (GMT+02:00)
DTM | Round 5
Zandvoort (the Netherlands)
Friday 13 July
Free Practice 1: 17.00-17.30
Saturday 14 July
Free Practice 2: 09.20-09.50
Qualifying 1: 11.15-11.35
Race 1: 13.30-14.30
Sunday 15 July
Free Practice 3: 09.15-09.45
Qualifying 2: 11.20-11.40
Race 2: 13.30-14.30
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
DTM | After 8/20 races
1: Gary Paffett (GBR), Mercedes, 99 p.
2: Edoardo Mortara (ITA), Mercedes, 93 p.
3: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, 92 p.
4: Timo Glock (GER), BMW, 92 p.
5: Paul Di Resta (GBR), Mercedes, 87 p.
12: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, 25 p.
FOLLOW JOEL (IF YOU CAN…)