Joel Eriksson did not enjoy the kind of success he had been vying for at the season-opening round of the 2019 DTM campaign at Hockenheim, but at least snatched a late point in style by out-dragging a rival driver to the line in Sunday’s weekend finale.
Launching his sophomore DTM season for BMW, Eriksson was held back by some technical issues in Friday free practice, leaving him on the backfoot on the very first event for the DTM’s new-for-2019 technical regulations overhaul.
Never able to truly recover during an unremarkable weekend complicated further by changeable weather, Eriksson qualified a still-solid ninth to line up in the heat of the midfield for both of the weekend’s two races, finishing in 13th and 10th respectively.
His top ten result in Sunday’s Race 2 netted Eriksson the final point on offer, the Swede opportunistically out-dragging the Aston Martin of Jake Dennis in a sprint towards the chequered flag and snatching the position off the Briton by a mere 0.035 seconds.
The first two races of the new season were won by Marco Wittmann (BMW) and René Rast (Audi).
“A pretty unspectacular weekend to be honest, not one of my best,” says Joel Eriksson. “I was obviously aiming for a lot more, but we had a few problems too many and never recovered from that. At least we managed to complete both races and gain some important data. We were not fast enough here and in the dry race on Sunday we struggled with tyre wear. We have a bit of homework to do, but we will get that done before the next race. I know we are a lot better than this.”
The next DTM round takes place at the Zolder track in Belgium, on home soil for Joel Eriksson’s BMW Team RBM, on May 17-19.
RESULTS (top five)
DTM | Round 1/9
1: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, 34 laps
2: Mike Rockenfeller (GER), Audi, +13.727s
3: Robin Frijns (NED), Audi, +34.681s
4: Timo Glock (GER), BMW, +37.407s
5: Loic Duval (FRA), Audi, +1m03.383s
13: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, +1 lap
1: René Rast (GER), Audi, 37 laps
2: Nico Müller (SUI), Audi, +11.922s
3: Robin Frijns (NED), Audi, +12.184s
4: Philipp Eng (AUT), BMW, +17.952s
5: Bruno Spengler (CAN), BMW, +22.769s
10: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, +49.079s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
DTM | After 2/18 races
1: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, 34 p.
2: Robin Frijns (NED), Audi, 31 p.
3: René Rast (GER), Audi, 25 p.
4: Nico Müller (SUI), Audi, 22 p.
5: Mike Rockenfeller (GER), Audi, 20 p.
14: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, 1 p.