„Altogether I can’t be happy” | DTM.com | The official website
2018-12-05 12:30:00

„Altogether I can’t be happy”

„Altogether I can’t be happy”

Bruno Spengler is popular. In a DTM.com poll prior to the 2018 season, the biggest number of fans voted for him as coming champion. But throughout the 2018 DTM season, the Canadian struggled too often with problems. In his 14th season on the grid of the touring-car series, the 35-year old failed to meet the expectations and finished 12th in the championship. In the past three years, the 2012 DTM Champion who also finished second twice (2006 as well as 2007) and three times third (2010, 2011 and 2013) failed to make it to the top 10 in the championship rankings.

“It goes without saying that I all in all can’t be happy with the season: I made it to the podium at the Nürburgring and could have done better at the Norisring. These two race meetings actually ran rather well, for me. Of course I would have loved to secure more podiums and become a factor in the title race. But it didn’t work, this year,” Spengler admitted in the conversation with DTM.com to add: “A few times we had bad luck and sometimes our strategy cost us some points. Unfortunately, a season is over rather quickly. If you don’t score in the first races, delivering in the rest of the season also isn’t exactly easy. But I’d say that the second half of the season went better for us and we should use this momentum for our start into the coming season. There we will try to do better.”

Five times he started into a race from the last position on the grid

Spengler already secured 15 wins in his DTM career so far and in 49 of his 177 races he made it to the podium. In the 2018 season, however, he had to cope with a new, disagreeable experience. Five times he had to start into a race from the last position on the grid – more often than any other driver of the field. “I already had completely forgotten this fact but now I remember. A particularly annoying situation when you know that you could fight for pole positions and race wins when the car is running well and you don’t make mistakes. You try to find out what went wrong. But doing so is difficult if you know – for instance at Brands Hatch – that you won’t be able to gain a lot from the end of the grid. The racing in DTM is that close and many drivers had to settle for being last on the grid if a component of the package didn’t work as it should. And if things don’t run perfectly you quickly are 16th, 17th or 18th on the grid. You just have to examine every aspect to find out what you can improve to make sure that something like that won’t happen again.”

A race weekend to forget at Brands Hatch

Just in England’s Kent County Spengler had to cope with a race meeting to forget. From 2006 to 2013, the circuit located to the south-east of London staged eight DTM races. Spengler contested each of these races – and did so extremely successfully. He finished second three times, with seventh place being his worst result. In 2018 at Brands Hatch, however, everything went wrong: he finished 14th and 17th. “At Brands Hatch we hit rock bottom as we had a major problem with the car throughout the weekend and weren’t able to solve it. As a result, I was one of the four drivers at the end of the field throughout the race meeting. The fact that we weren’t able to solve the problem until the weekend was over was particularly bitter as we never had the chance of battling it out at the front end of the field.”

And Spengler struggled not only in the races but in the qualifying sessions, too. In the DTM record book pole position statistics he holds third place behind Bernd Schneider (25) and Mattias Ekström (20). In the 2018 season, however, he scored just one qualifying point by securing third grid position on the Saturday of the Lausitzring weekend. “In the qualifying session everything has to run perfectly. You can’t clinch the pole without a perfect car and you also fail to do so of your lap isn’t perfect. It’s a 50:50 package. In the end, we often didn’t get the small details of our act together. At the end of the day, comparing with – for instance – Mercedes proved to be generally difficult for us in the BMW camp. Mercedes delivered in amazing style in both the qualifying sessions and the races and in the closing stages of the season, Audi proved to be extremely competitive. We arguably just weren’t competitive enough compared to our opponents.”

In the Eifel Spengler upped the ante

But it’s a well-known fact that there also must be light wherever you find shadow. In the Eifel, the BMW driver made use of his full potential and his huge wealth of experience to impress by finishing second and fourth. “This weekend definitely was one of my highlights. On Saturday I secured a podium and on Sunday I also came close to doing so. We scored in fine style, this weekend. And the Norisring also was cool although I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t make it to the podium or even win a race. Furthermore, I also liked the night races at Misano. They were something new and special. It goes without saying that contesting these races wasn’t so easy but driving in changeable conditions at night was big fun.”

His racing credo: fight hard but fair

Nonetheless, the Canadian’s season featured one constant: it’s a well-known fact that Spengler always is likeable and charming, aloof from the track. But even in wheel-to-wheel situations, Spengler always remains a gentleman. Apart from Gary Paffett and Loïc Duval he was the only driver who didn’t receive a booking, this year.”I think this wasn’t my first season without bookings. I always try to avoid getting involved in trouble as pushing people off the track just isn’t my style. If somebody is racing aggressively against me I of course don’t hesitate to pay back. But apart from that I try to race hard but fair. It’s my goal to make it to the top with fair racing. Sometimes I succeed in doing so, sometimes I don’t. But I always used to be rather trouble-free, in the past years. And ‘knock on wood’ – I hope that I will be able to continue this way.”

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