BMW driver wins maiden DTM title of his career after Hockenheim victoryPoints leader Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) still beaten in final roundHankook supports thrilling battle for the title with consistent and quick tyres2012 Bruno Spengler has made his dream come true. The BMW driver won the final DTM round of the season at Hockenheim on Sunday and thus became champion in the most popular international touring car series for the first time in his career. After 42 dramatic laps, the 29-year old crossed the finish line with a margin of 2.214 seconds from his main rival Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz), and thus still beat the Brit, who had been leading in the driversstandings since the season opener, on the final metres.In bright sunshine, 128,000 spectators got to see a thrilling and heart-stopping finale, which remained exciting till the end. Third in qualifying, Bruno Spengler overtook Paffett, who was in front of him, with a rocket start, soon also passed his fellow BMW driver Augusto Farfus and moved into the lead of the field. Spengler didnt give up this lead anymore, even though Paffett, who moved up into second place following a quick pit stop, tried everything. However, the Brit didnt get closer than one second from the faultlessly driving Canadian.Thus, Paffett lost his three pointslead in the final round of the season and ended up second in the final driversstandings, four points down on Spengler. His fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Jamie Green was third in the driversstandings with a fourth-place finish at Hockenheim. Mike Rockenfeller ended the season as the best-placed Audi driver in fourth position.BMW was the big winner of the final round and the concluded DTM season. With Augusto Farfus, who came third at Hockenheim, and, next to winner Spengler, another three drivers in the top ten, the brand from Munich also beat erstwhile leaders Audi in the manufacturersstandings. Thus, after 20 years, the DTM returnee didnt only win the driverstitle, but also the manufacturerstitle right away. For Audi, Edoardo Mortara was the only driver to score points by finishing sixth on Sunday. Mattias Ekstrm retired on lap eleven.
Hankook, the DTMs exclusive tyre partner, brought absolutely equal conditions in the field. The Ventus Race supported all drivers in an optimal way and with its always consistent performance at the highest level, it also contributed to keeping the battle for the title open and thrilling until the final lap. In the finale at the legendary track in the Hardtwald forest, both Spengler and Paffett were able to keep setting fast lap times in very long second stints until the end and at the Hockenheim season finale, they staged a fascinating fight that thrilled the fans.
Bruno Spengler (BMW): With the drivers, the teamsand the manufacturerstitle, this comeback season has been incredible for BMW. For such a success, everything has to be 100 percent spot-on: the car, the pit stops, and you need a little bit of luck, too. In todays race, I had the best start of my career. In the middle part, Gary came quite close, but in the final three laps, I saw that he didnt get any closer. A big thank you to my team, but also to Hankook. All the tyres were sensational throughout the season, they were super-consistent both in qualifying and in the race and we havent had one puncture. That shows, how strong the Hankook tyres were.Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz): I am very disappointed and sad for my team that has been working hard for a year. Now, I need some time to think about what has happened and then, I will concentrate on next season. My car was incredibly good, we were fastest today. The fact that we have done many long runs during the winter has paid off. The new generation of Hankook tyres also has contributed to the championship being so thrilling.Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director: We have started into an exciting and interesting project with a great team and highly motivated people, we have put in a lot of passion and worked hard. For this success, I thank everyone involved and I am proud to be the head of such a team. From the very first day, we have been working together with Hankook very well and we have developed a car with a wide platform, in which there has always been a window, in which the Hankook tyres were able to work very well.Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of motorsport Audi: This year, the co-operation between the manufacturers, the DMSB, the ITR and with our tyre partner Hankook has worked very well, that has provided us with a tyre that worked very well. For Audi, things didnt go so well. We caught up halfway through the season, but we didnt get where we wanted. In motorsport, the only thing that helps is looking ahead and we will work hard to ensure that we are absolutely capable of winning again next season.Hans Werner Aufrecht, chairman, ITR e.V.: The season has offered many highlights in all areas. The right tyre has contributed to that as well. Hankook has fully met the quality standard that the manufacturers require from such a relevant part as a competition tyre. With these tyres, we had equal chances for all drivers. Hankook has achieved this goal perfectly.