It will be the end of a tough year for Augusto Farfus and BMW Team MTEK at Hockenehim this weekend. However, the driver can only look at the positives and so wants to finish the nine weekend, 18 race DTM season on a high in his Shell BMW M4 DTM.
Looking back to the beginning of the season, which was also at the Hockenheimring, it was a good start for him and his new team with a front row grid slot and third on the podium in the Sunday race. Sadly since then the driver from Curitiba has not been able to show his racing expertise with two fourth positions in Spielberg and Moscow his best other finishes. “I suppose lady luck just hasn’t been smiling on me this year. This can happen, but it is frustrating when you know that things beyond our control have stopped us getting some good results. However, we have fought hard all year and we will continue to do that until the very last lap of the last race of the season. Once this is over I shall only be looking forward and not back,” he said.
This track, which is about an hour away from Frankfurt, is one that Augusto likes, as he explained: “I like Hockenheim a lot. I have been on the podium there many times and have won races. After such a difficult season it would be great to give a little reward to the team and to myself by finishing the year on a high.” While the Brazilian is not in the running for any championships, he is very keen to get a good result for BMW: “As we head into this race BMW is second, just 37 points behind Audi, in the manufacturers’ championship. My aim is to do everything I can to help them win the title, which would be the fourth time in five years if we can manage it.”
The schedule for the DTM cars on the 4.574 kilometre track will be FP1 from 16.45 to 17.15 on Friday (14th October). For Saturday it is FP2 from 10.50 to 11.20, Qualifying from 12.40 to 13.00 and the 40-minute race starts at 14.58. On Sunday it is FP3 from 10.55 to 11.25, Qualifying from 12.55 to 13.15 and the 60-minute race starts at 15.18.
In time for Sunday’s 60-minute race, Augusto Farfus and BMW Team MTEK made a huge step forward in setting up the Shell BMW M4 DTM – but this did not prevent the driver from Curitiba leaving the Hungaroring empty handed. It was simply bad luck that brought his Sunday race at the racetrack near Budapest to an early end. After only a few laps he had to return to the garage with a water leak.
Augusto, the team and BMW analysed everything in depth after the difficult Saturday and qualifying 14th for Sunday’s race. He set his sights on making up positions during the race and collecting more points. The Brazilian was optimistic, not only because of the performance of his Shell BMW M4 DTM, but also because of the fact that all the BMWs had improved in comparison to Saturday. The pace was back. The start was hectic, with several collisions at the very front. Augusto came safely through the first corners, but soon noticed that something was wrong with the car. After two laps he returned to the BMW Team MTEK garage and had to retire.
“My start was normal, but then I saw some carbon parts flying around,” Augusto reported. “Something hit the radiator and, as a result, I had a water leak. Once again, we were missing the necessary luck.”
Summing up the weekend he said: “All the weekends are pretty similar. We start well on Friday, but we are not always able to make the right changes for Saturday. Then on Sunday, we head in the right direction again. Today again we had a good race set-up, but the performance also comes a little but too late. Now we will focus on the season finale in Hockenheim. It is a track where it went well for us at the beginning of the season. So the potential is there to have a good result and to finish the season on a high.”
The highest-placed BMW driver was Marco Wittmann, who finished fourth despite the fact that he was hit by several cars directly after the start. With this result, Wittmann extended the overall lead in the drivers’ championship to 26 points.
The finale of the 2016 DTM season will be held on 15th and 16th October at the Hockenheimring.
The 2016 DTM season has entered the finishing straight: at the Hungaroring near Budapest, the penultimate round of the year has got under way for Augusto Farfus and BMW Team MTEK. However, so far the weekend has not gone according to plan for Augusto and BMW. In Saturday’s sprint race, the driver from Curitiba had to settle for 20th in his Shell BMW M4 DTM. So far BMW has struggled to find pace on the newly surfaced Hungarian track.
The highest placed BMW driver was championship leader Marco Wittmann in seventh position, the rest of the BMW M4 DTMs made it to the finish outside the points positions. The first six positions went to Audi. Qualifying in the early afternoon gave a hint that it would be a difficult day for Augusto and BMW. Wittmann was the fastest BMW M4 DTM driver in qualifying, finishing tenth. Augusto started from 19th on the grid. After 40 minutes, he crossed the line in 20th. Despite the fact that the result is not what he hoped for, Augusto is pretty optimistic that tomorrow will be a better day.
“It is not a track which suits our car and we started so far back that it was not possible to aim for a good result,” was how he summed up the race. “I have to say that during the race the car was not feeling too bad, so I will not look at this race as that negative. Of course if you look at the results it is negative, but I think it helped us to learn some things. Now let us try to take the lesson learnt today and perform better tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a better day, this is what we are here for.”
The action at the Hungaroring will start with a free practice session from 10.45 to 11.15. Sunday’s qualifying will be held from 12.50 to 13.10 and the 60-minute race will start at 15.30.
Augusto Farfus was determined to fight back in Sunday’s 60-minute race at Zandvoort, after the sprint race on Saturday had ended prematurely for him. However, a drive through penalty prevented the BMW Team MTEK driver from transferring the strong race pace of his Shell BMW M4 DTM into a result in the points.
Augusto started the tenth race of the 2016 DTM season from 17th on the grid. When the lights went out, he set his sights on working his way forward, but as early as turn one he was pushed off the track by another car. Later when he tried to pass the Audi of Timo Scheider the two collided, Scheider spun and Augusto was given a drive-through penalty. After 39 laps, he crossed the line in 13th.
He reported afterwards: “It was pretty inconsistent, because when I was pushed completely off the track and lost a lot of time there was no penalty given. When I tried to pass Scheider I was on the inside kerb and he just turned into me. When we had the contact he spun. I know that you get a penalty when you turn people around, but I honestly had no room to go anywhere. It was a shame to get the penalty, because our race pace was good and we could have finished in the points.”
Augusto will put the weekend in the Zandvoort dunes behind him as soon as possible, as he is leaving the Dutch track empty handed: “We came to my favourite circuit of the year and to a track where we had a very good history. Unfortunately this time we could not get the results, for different reasons. In the end, I look on the positive side. I take home a very good race pace, as in the race I was one of the fastest cars on track. We still have to improve our qualifying performance and then we will see if we can fight back and get some points.”
But first there is a break to take a breather, as the DTM season will only resume in five weeks. The 11th and 12th races of the season will be held on 20th and 21st August at the Moscow Raceway in Russia.
Saturday at the Dutch Circuit Park Zandvoort turned out to be a difficult day for BMW Team MTEK driver Augusto Farfus. After finishing 11th in Friday’s first free practice session on the iconic circuit in the North Sea dunes, the driver from Curitiba was confident about racing into the points with his Shell BMW M4 DTM. However, fortune turned against him in today’s qualifying and the 40-minute sprint race.
In this afternoon’s qualifying Augusto was hit by another car. As a result he was not able to get a decent grid position and had to start this evening’s race from the back of the field. The Brazilian was determined to work his way forward and made up several positions in the early stages. However, on lap nine he came off the track, slid through the gravel and hit the barriers. Augusto was unhurt, but his race came to a premature end.
“You have the feeling sometimes that when the day starts bad it just gets worse,” Augusto commented. “We had a difficult qualifying, but in the race I was there. I was trying to push more than I should have when trying to get past Müller, but then I ran off the track. It was a shame, but it is good that the day is over and tomorrow we will have another chance.”
Augusto is keeping his head high and is now fully focused on tomorrow’s tenth race of the 2016 DTM season. The action in the Zandvoort dunes will start with a free practice session from 09.20 to 09.50. Sunday’s qualifying will be held from 11.20 to 11.40 and the 60-minute race will be started at 13.43.
One of the coolest tracks on the DTM calendar is how Augusto Farfus describes the Zandvoort circuit, which nestles in the sand dunes by the North Sea in the Dutch seaside resort of the same name. He also has every reason to remember this place fondly, as he has some great results there, including a win in 2013.
“BMW has a great past there. I don’t think anyone can forget the amazing result last year, with the BMW M4 DTM claiming the top seven places in race one and the top five in race two. It was amazing to be part of that. Obviously I would have loved to have replicated my 2013 result, which was the 50th win for the BMW M3 DTM in the series, but I can’t complain at pole and fourth in race one and third on the grid and second in race two,” was the way the always upbeat Brazilian remembers his and BMW’s 2015 there.
However, after what can only be described as a deeply disappointing Norising three weeks ago for him and his Shell BMW M4 DTM, the driver from Curitiba needs all his resilience to put that behind him this weekend. “It was a big disappointment for me and BMW Team MTEK to come away from the race empty handed. I know only too well that this is a track that is difficult. That first corner has seen many incidents and, sadly, I was caught up with one in race two. But I am, as always, looking forward and not back,” was his positive view of things.
The Zandvoort track, which has the official title of Circuit Park Zandvoort, is 4.307 kilometres long and can be tricky as the wind often blows the sand onto the circuit. The way Augusto describes it is: “I think it is the coolest track of the season, it is nice to drive on and has high speed corners. Also the Dutch fans love their motorsport and make the atmosphere pretty special. We have had some very wet races in the past, but let’s hope it will stay dry this year.”
Only one appearance on the podium so far this season and just 32 points to his name means Augusto is currently 12th in the drivers’ standings, but he still has another ten races ahead of him to score some hard earned points.
The first race in the town of Zandvoort was on its streets in 1939, but it was not until 1948 that the circuit was opened. It then held its first Grand Prix in 1950 but the race was not a round of the world championship until 1952, which was won by Alberto Ascari. The last time the track hosted a Grand Prix was in 1985 and this, its 34th Grand Prix, was won by Niki Lauda.
The schedule for the DTM, which has been visiting the circuit since 2001,will be FP1 from 17:00 to 17.30 on Friday (15th July). For Saturday it is FP2 from 13.45 to 14.15, qualifying from 15.45 to 16.05 and the 40-minute race starts at 18.88. On Sunday it is FP3 from 09.20 to 09.50, qualifying from 11.20 to 11.40 and the 60-minute race starts at 13.43.
The weekend of the Nürburgring 24 Hours started pretty well for Augusto Farfus and his team mates in the number 18 Schubert Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, as the Brazilian qualified the car second on the grid, but sadly things didn’t go their way and so the car was only 120th at the end of the gruelling race.
After the good qualifying result on Friday the driver from Curitiba, who was sharing the car with Marcus Wittmann, Jörg Müller and Jesse Krohn. said: “Conditions were far from easy today, but P2 is obviously a great result. The track was still damp in some areas, so you had to be extremely careful. It’s nice that the long phase of preparations is over and that the race is now almost there. We are ready, and there’s not much more we could have done. A big 24 hours await us, and the weather will surely be a challenging factor. However, we have a strong squad and will be fully focussed.”
His comment that the weather could be a challenging factor proved prophetic, as after only 50 minutes of the 24 hour race, which started at 15.30 local time, the red flag was brought out due to hailstorms that cut across the Eifel mountains and left drivers stranded out on the 25.378 kilometre Nürburgring-Nordschleife track. It certainly earned its nickname of the “Green Hell”. At that time Jörg Müller was in the number 18 car and it was running in second. Racing action restarted just after 20.00 and it was a one-two for BMW at that time, with the number 18 car leading the number 22 ROWE Racing car with Markus Palttala at the wheel. Unfortunately on lap 17 a technical problem with the powertrain forced the Schubert car into the pits, and it was then that the mechanics produced their herculean effort and changed the engine over night.
Augusto’s comment after all these dramas was: “The biggest winners this weekend were the Schubert crew. It is a shame. We were leading the race, it was looking very good and so definitely this hurts. We got running again this morning, but by then any chances of getting a good result in the race were over for the team, despite the fact the car was running quickly. I want to say a big thanks to BMW for giving me the opportunity and to Schubert Motorsport for the amazing work done by its mechanics.”
Now Augusto heads back to the DTM and next weekend he will be racing the BMW Team MTEK BMW M4 DTM at the Lausitzring. “I have to focus on that now and go chasing the trophy in that series,” he said.
This weekend Augusto Farfus heads into his second 24-hour race of the 2016 season when he races on the “Green Hell” in the Nürburgring 24 Hours. A former winner of the iconic event, his aim is to give the new BMW M6 GT3 its first 24 hour win as well as notching up the 20th outright victory for BMW at the event.
Alongside him in the number 18 Schubert Motorsport car will be his fellow BMW DTM driver Marcus Wittmann, Jörg Müller, who was with him when he won the event in 2010, and BMW Motorsport Junior Jesse Krohn. This will not be the first time this year the Brazilian has driven on the famous 25.378 kilometre Nürburgring-Nordschleife track, as he has been part of the team contesting the VLN races there as a warm up to the big event.
He is full of enthusiasm for the track and the whole experience ahead of him: “I think it is the most exciting 24 hour race on the planet. There are a lot of cars and a lot of fans, and for us this year is special as we are going there with a brand new car. It was great that this car has already got a good result after winning the third round of the VLN in the hands of my three team-mates, and this gives us hope for a great result.”
Looking back to what happened at the race 12 months ago, he said: “It was great putting the BMW Z4 on pole last year, but I was disappointed not to have won, as I think the car was capable of that. However, I suppose in such a race to come fourth wasn’t that bad.”
The one thing that cannot be controlled in the Eifel mountains is the weather, and over the years the drivers have experienced everything from snow, to sunshine, to fog to driving rain. “Hopefully we are going to have nice weather this year, but you never know as the Nordschleife is always special and not at all predictable. The great thing is the weather never puts the thousands of fans off. They are there for the show and they want to see the cars run. It is also great to see so many BMW fans cheering us on and I hope to make them proud of us.”
The line up of BMWs this year is as strong as ever, with Schubert Motorsport, Walkenhorst Motorsport and ROWE Racing each entering two of the cars that are powered by a 4.4 litre V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology in the SP9 class. The provisional entry list for the event, which can be started by up to 200 cars, includes no less than 40 BMWs.
The first opportunity for practice in the run up to the race weekend will be on Thursday (26th May) from 15.45 to 17.25, but the first major session for Augusto and his team mates will be on Friday with the Top-30 Qualifying, that they have already secured a place in. The race, which last year was run over 156 laps, will begin at 15.30 on Saturday. This will be the 44th running of the event that was first held in 1970.
Even if he could not repeat his podium success from the DTM season opener in Hockenheim in today’s second race in Spielberg, Augusto Farfus leaves the Austrian Red Bull Ring with a big smile on his face. The BMW Team MTEK driver finished the 60-minute race in fourth and collected 12 more points.
Like Saturday, conditions were good with bright sunshine and warm temperatures. In the qualifying in the morning, Farfus secured sixth on the grid in his Shell BMW M4 DTM. When the lights went off, he maintained this position in closely fought first corners in order to then progress forward. On lap three, he improved to fifth and shortly after, he took fourth position with a brilliant manoeuvre. When the race ended after 60 minutes, he brought this fourth place home. The top step on the podium was taken again by a fellow BMW driver: this time BMW Team RMG driver Timo Glock was victorious.
“I am extremely happy,” Augusto commented. “P6 in qualifying and P4 in the race is a good result, considering from where we were at the beginning of the weekend. We started really from the back foot and had to work a lot on the set-up. I have to say that the team did a superb job, all the MTEK boys. They enormously improved the car over the weekend and today a I quite good car. There is still room for more but we achieved our goal to score points in both races, and this is why I am satisfied. Congratulations to Timo and to BMW, it was a great weekend for the BMW M4 DTM with two victories.”
After the first four races of the season, Augusto is seventh of the championship classification with 32 points. The next round with races five and six will be held at German Lausitzring in two week’s time from 3rd to 5th June. Augusto however has no time to take a breath as he will be in action again next weekend, when he will contest the iconic 24-hour race at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in the new BMW M6 GT3.