It was displayed as recently as last month, and has been a recurring theme ever since the first win. “The Bull” has become an unmistakable trademark Joel Eriksson gesture, exposed in the wake of victory across the racing circuits of the world. This weekend, the Swedish BMW DTM rookie returns to the birthplace of the champagne-scented habit – and he’d be more than happy to demonstrate it once again.
Austria’s Red Bull Ring is a place decorated in positive memories for Joel Eriksson. This, the idyllic Alpine landscape outside the village of Spielberg, is where he claimed his career-first car racing victory in ADAC Formel Masters in 2014 – and simultaneously launched his by-now well-known method of celebration.
“The Bull has sort of become my thing, and I’d gladly show it off again,” says Joel Eriksson. “It was born right here at the Red Bull Ring following that first win in 2014. It was inspired by that giant steel bull which stands on the infield, and which I’d spent lap after lap driving past. It was just a thing of the moment and it’s stuck with me ever since. It’s nice to have something a little bit unusual.”
Eriksson’s Red Bull Ring CV, however, contains a lot more than just that breakthrough moment in 2014. As a matter of fact, it’s the Swede’s most successful track of all, with double victories in both Formula 4 (2015) and Formula 3 (2017) taking his victory tally at the venue up to five. Adding to that, he has also clinched another two podiums at the track.
Returning to the Styrian hills this weekend, Eriksson is understandably optimistic, although swapping his previous single-seater experience for a first visit in DTM machinery will certainly add to the challenge.
“For sure it will be different, going around in the DTM car for the first time, but it’s been the same at most tracks this year and it’s just part of being a rookie,” Eriksson argues. “I always enjoy being at Red Bull Ring. Not just because of the results I’ve had there in the past, but just the atmosphere in general. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place. The track itself also suits my driving style really well, with plenty of high-speed corners. The final sector in particular is amazing. I can’t wait to get out there and push!”
Eriksson, who claimed his maiden DTM win last month at the Misano night races in Italy, arrives in Spielberg sitting 11th in the overall standings. The grid is bolstered by an additional entry this weekend, with five-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier making a one-off appearance for Mercedes.
As always, DTM action will get underway with 30 minutes of free practice on Friday, with the more decisive sessions then playing out across Saturday and Sunday.
All times local (GMT+02:00)
DTM | Round 9
Red Bull Ring (Austria)
Friday 21 September
Free Practice 1: 16.45-17.15
Saturday 22 September
Free Practice 2: 08.30-09.00
Qualifying 1: 10.35-10.55
Race 1: 13.30-14.30
Sunday 23 September
Free Practice 3: 08.30-09.00
Qualifying 2: 10.35-10.55
Race 2: 13.30-14.30
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
DTM | After 16/20 races
1: Gary Paffett (GBR), Mercedes, 206 p.
2: Paul di Resta (GBR), Mercedes, 204 p.
3: René Rast (GER), Audi, 149 p.
4: Edoardo Mortara (ITA), Mercedes, 138 p.
5: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, 137 p.
11: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, 60 p.
FOLLOW JOEL (IF YOU CAN…)