Word has it that time flies when you’re having fun – and in the case of Joel Eriksson, it couldn’t have been a truer fact in 2018. As the youngest driver on the grid, the then 19-year-old Swede made his DTM debut at Hockenheim back in May, shocking the establishment by only just missing out on the podium. Five months later, the BMW rookie – now a DTM race winner – returns to the same venue this weekend for the final round of the season.
“It’s incredible how quickly this season has gone by, but here we are,” says Joel Eriksson. “Hockenheim is a track I really enjoy and I can’t wait to get in the car for a final time this year.”
Eriksson, who turned 20 during the summer, can look back at a rewarding rookie campaign in Germany’s leading racing series. While his Misano race win remains the highlight, a top five finish last time out at the Red Bull Ring – where he spearheaded the BMW charge – brings fresh momentum into this weekend’s finale.
Adding to that, Hockenheim is the only circuit to feature twice on the DTM calendar, hosting both the opening and concluding rounds of the season. For rookie Eriksson, that means he can rely on previous track-specific experience from aboard his BMW M4 DTM for the first and only time this year.
Reviewing his previous visit to Hockenheim back in May, Eriksson also has plenty to be confident about, having sensationally battled for the win on his debut weekend in a spectacular Sunday race.
Eriksson eventually finished fourth on that occasion, narrowly missing out to Gary Paffett (one of three title contenders this weekend) for the podium, but still raised many eyebrows in the paddock.
“I had a strong first round at Hockenheim earlier in the year, and I have evolved massively since then – that’s a fact no matter what happens this weekend,” Eriksson concludes. “Of course, I hope that we can be just as competitive this time around. I would love to end this season on a high, and I will race my heart out to do so.”
The 2018 DTM finale gets underway with opening free practice on Friday afternoon, followed by the usual qualifying and race double-headers on Saturday and Sunday.
All times local (GMT+02:00)
DTM | Round 10
Friday 12 October
Free Practice 1: 15.45-16.15
Saturday 13 October
Free Practice 2: 09.00-09.30
Qualifying 1: 10.55-11.15
Race 1: 13.30-14.30
Sunday 14 October
Free Practice 3: 09.00-09.30
Qualifying 2: 11.10-11.30
Race 2: 13.30-14.30
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
DTM | After 18/20 races
1: Paul di Resta (GBR), Mercedes, 229 p.
2: Gary Paffett (GBR), Mercedes, 225 p.
3: René Rast (GER), Audi, 199 p.
4: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, 143 p.
5: Edoardo Mortara (ITA), Mercedes, 139 p.
13: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, 70 p.
FOLLOW JOEL (IF YOU CAN…)