09/05/17

Race Result: A disappointing start to the DTM season for Tom Blomqvist

Hockenheim I (GER) Hockenheim I (GER)
Race 1 16th Race 2 12th

Tom Blomqvist endured a challenging weekend at the opening round of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) season at Hockenheim. Poor luck saw the 23-year old involved in incidents in both races and cost him any chance of a points scoring finish. 

The first weekend of the DTM season was guaranteed excitement and it definitely delivered; unfortunately for Tom, he was in the thick of the weekend’s drama and will now have to work even harder to catch up with the other drivers in the championship standings. 

Kicking off the season on Friday, the day’s practice session was the first time all 18 drivers were lined up against each other for the 30-minute training and gave the teams and drivers the first insight to how they compared to their competitors. Finishing the session in 8th place and as the fastest BMW, Tom began his weekend in a positive manner but knew there was still lots to work on prior to Saturday’s action. 

Race One Saturday - 

A dramatic Saturday kick-started with free practice in the morning and Tom ran for 11 laps before returning to the pits to finish the session in 18th place. Being the opening round of the season, Tom was working tirelessly with Team RBR to shave time off his free practice results heading into the day’s qualifying. Qualifying for race one of the weekend saw Tom end the first qualifying of the season in 9th place, putting him dead in the middle of the field and in a good position for the afternoon’s hour-long race. 

When the lights went out for the start of the DTM season, Tom had to take evasive action to avoid the slow moving Maro Engel and in doing so, was overtaken by BMW teammate Marco Wittmann heading into turn one. Keeping his throttle to the floor, Tom got a good run down Parabolika and was alongside Nico Mueller going into the hairpin. Taking the outside line, Tom swept round the side of the Audi and lifted himself back into 9th place. 

Now on the back of the Mercedes of Robert Wickens, Tom again got great traction out of turn 4 and was flying down Parabolika – catching the Canadian rapidly. Squeezed to the inside and with just a cars width to work with, Tom was later on the brakes and got down the inside of Wickens - placing his car perfectly on the track to stop the switch-back. 

Now up into 8th place, Tom was trying to escape Robert Wickens as the Mercedes driver closed the gap to Tom heading round the final sector. By the time they had come through the first few corners, Tom had pulled a slight gap and Wickens started to come under pressure from Nico Mueller as the pair entered the hairpin. Wickens, trying to keep the Audi behind him, broke late and subsequently made contact with Tom – resulting in Tom being spun around and demoted to the back of the field. Not only was Tom now running at the back but the extensive damage caused by the crash meant Tom had no rear downforce and was lapping almost 2 seconds slower than the rest of the field after the incident. 

A thoroughly disappointing first race to start Tom’s season as the Thunderhead backed driver managed to finish the race but only to bring the damaged car home in 16th place.

Race Two Sunday - 

Trying to salvage something from the weekend, Tom began Sunday by finishing the morning’s session in 9th place and entered qualifying looking for a positive result. Running at the top end of the timesheets through the most of the session, Tom was looking very quick on the drying Hockenheim track and pitted for tyres heading into the session’s final minutes. Unfortunately for Tom, he and the team didn’t get their timings right in the drying conditions and ended the weekend’s second qualifying in 14th place. With drivers scoring points from the back of the grid in race one, Tom knew that it was all to play for when the field lined up on the grid for race two!


Getting off the line solidly, Tom maintained 14th through the first corners and was fighting hard with the cars around him. This scraping continued down into the hairpin, where Tom was on the outside of the track running into the first-gear corner. Running side by side with another driver around the hairpin, Tom’s exit saw him pushed wide off the tarmac and onto the large ‘banana’ kerb – compromising his exit pace and putting him on the backfoot. At the manic “IndyCar” restart, Tom made contact with another driver and the TPS-sponsored driver again suffered heavy damage to his car.
 
With the extensive damage from the incident, Tom’s race was effectively ruined as he couldn’t match the pace of the rest of the field. Driving the car home in the variable conditions with little downforce, Tom managed to keep the car on the track and brought the BMW M4 DTM home in 12th place after a late pass on Mercedes driver Maro Engel. 

Tom Blomqvist finishes the weekend disappointed to come away from Hockenheim with no points and has switched his focus already onto the next round. 

“I am obviously disappointed with weekend’s results. I was well positioned in the race one, and felt comfortable. Then Robert Wickens spun me. My race was over after that.
Again, in race two I didn’t have a good race. I didn’t have the best start, and then had contact with another car on the opening lap. The IndyCar restart was quite a mess. I touched another car and damaged my car in the process. I lacked pace as a result. Even with the early pit stop, there was not a lot I could do. It was a real shame, but we have to look ahead now and focus fully on the coming race weekend at the Lausitzring. Hopefully we will do better there.”

Next up for the Brit is the second round of the DTM at the Lausitzring in Germany, where he’ll be looking to bounce back from his tough start to the season.