Joel took away a haul of welcome championship points for sixth place in a turbulent final race of the Budapest DTM weekend, as a strategy of early pit stops paid off handsomely for BMW who locked out the podium.
Sunday’s race at the Hungaroring certainly threw up the unexpected, featuring everything from a sudden downpour to pitlane crashes, a red-flag stoppage and a thrilling final few laps.
The early stages of the race were fairly conventional, however, the start taking place in dry conditions, and for Joel it was always a case of trying something different from 17th on the grid.
BMW therefore opted to bring him in for his compulsory pit stop already on the opening lap, with Timo Glock also applying the same strategy.
The remaining four BMWs then all pitted within the next five laps, just as the skies suddenly burst open and rain started to fall over the Hungarian Grand Prix venue.
A number of drivers came diving into the pitlane to change for wet-weather tyres, but the slippery concrete surface proved highly treacherous and caught out a trio of race winners in Lucas Auer, Bruno Spengler and Edoardo Mortara – who all ploughed spectacularly into their respective pit gantries.
Sadly, the out-of-control cars caused three people working in the pitlane to sustain injuries, calling for the medical team to attend the scene and the race to be stopped.
The DTM have confirmed that a marshal suffered “severe leg injuries”, while the other two people sustained what organisers are referring to as “medium-level injuries”. No one is in critical condition, but all three were transported to hospital.
Joel Eriksson Racing wish everyone a swift recovery.
The rain subsequently eased off during the stoppage, and when racing resumed, it did so on a dry track. Crucially, all BMW drivers had completed their compulsory pit stops before the red flag, leaving them at a big advantage with the field now packed up together again and their rivals still to pit.
At the restart, Joel found himself up in ninth place following all the turmoil before the stoppage, and this soon became seventh when Glock and Gary Paffett shoved each other wide at Turn 4. Glock, however, would re-pass Joel again on lap 15.
When the leading Mercedes and Audi runners made their pit stops, BMW then came to the fore, with Marco Wittmann, Glock and Philipp Eng going on to score an unlikely podium lock-out to somersault a previously torrid weekend for the marque.
Joel ran fourth going into the closing stages, but ultimately had to yield position to Mike Rockenfeller and Paul Di Resta in the final few laps on ageing tyres.
Coming home sixth from 17th on the grid still marked a very good result, on a day when BMW turned the tables to see all six of its cars finish in the top eight – but when everybody’s thoughts were with the injured marshals.
Results – Race 2
WEEKEND TIME TABLE
All times local (GMT+02:00)
DTM | Round 3
Friday 1 June
Free Practice 1: 16.05-16.35
Saturday 2 June
Free Practice 2: 08.35-09.05
Qualifying 1: 11.20-11.40
Race 1: 13.30-14.30
Sunday 3 June
Free Practice 3: 08.30-09.00
Qualifying 2: 11.20-11.40
Race 2: 13.30-14.30
Entry list: DTM 2018
Rules: how the championship works
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