Joel crossed the line just three tenths from the podium in a gripping final race of the weekend at Hockenheim, in which he belied his rookie status to join a heart-stopping late scrap over victory with the leading stars of the DTM.
The closing stages of Sunday’s race go down in history as among the most dramatic the sport has recently seen, with Joel starring in a sensational battle against eventual winner Timo Glock, runner-up Mike Rockenfeller, Saturday victor Gary Paffett, Loic Duval, Pascal Wehrlein and reigning champion René Rast.
After starting the race from third, Joel dropped back a few places in the opening stint as he struggled with the balance of his BMW M4 DTM, but then recovered strongly after the pit stops to claw his way back up into podium – and essentially victory – contention.
He pulled off a courageous move on former champion and ex-F1 driver Paul di Resta to clinch third with just ten minutes to go, and then started to close the gap to leaders Glock and Paffett as the two disputed first place.
He joined the fight over victory to sensationally challenge Paffett – another ex-champion – for P2 at Mercedes Arena, but the two banged wheels and Joel instead had to yield position to the chasing Rockenfeller.
He then clung on to fourth over some incredible final laps, defending and attacking as the leading group raced hard but respectfully against each other, and eventually finished fourth – just 0.3s behind Paffett, and 3.4s from victory.
Glock and Joel were the top two BMW finishers.
The result sees Joel leave the Hockenheim opener holding sixth in the DTM standings.
Results – Race 2
WEEKEND TIME TABLE
All times local (GMT+02:00)
DTM | Round 1
Friday 4 May
Free Practice 1: 15.45-16.15
Saturday 5 May
Free Practice 2: 09.00-09.30
Qualifying 1: 11.25-11.45
Race 1: 13.30-14.30
Sunday 6 May
Free Practice 3: 09.00-09.30
Qualifying 2: 11.25-11.45
Race 2: 13.30-14.30