Eng: “The Austrian is a patriot”
Philipp Eng and Lucas Auer certainly hoped for a clearly better home meeting as the DTM weekend at the Red Bull Ring proved to be rather mediocre, for the local heroes. BMW’s Austrian, Eng, succeeded in scoring – at least – some points by finishing eighth and ninth while Mercedes-AMG driver Auer, who came sixth on Saturday, was enfeebled by an infectious disease on Sunday and forced into early retirement.
“We actually were able to match the pace of the front runners. A race weekend comprises four key moments: The two qualifying sessions and the races. And we always struggled with some issues. On Sunday we had quite a number of technical problems and I consequently wasn’t able to finish the race and failed to score,” explained Auer who even hadn’t a trouble-free race when scoring eight points on Saturday. “My pace was extremely positive however we unfortunately lost the race in the pits. But we jointly win and jointly lose.” With 118 points Auer now holds seventh position in the championship. Eng follows in ninth position with 20 points less on his tally.
The DTM rookie racing for BMW improved in both races compared to his grid positions but in the end, the Salzburger was particularly annoyed by an incident in the Sunday race. On lap four he was booked for allegedly having pushed his compatriot off the track. The booking was accompanied by the order to let Auer re-pass him. “The booking and the fact that I was forced to let myself drop back behind Luggi again was extremely hard to swallow. I hadn’t had it in for him. Three of us were racing side by side and he was on the outside while Robin Frijns was behind me, next to my rear wheel. He hit me while braking. Therefore, I missed the apex. Lucas was just at the wrong place at the wrong point in time. I tried everything to not touch Lucas but my right front wheel locked. Due to the collision I was far too fast for the corner. I tried to decelerate by turning in as hard as possible but that wasn’t enough. The incident cost me three to four seconds – and destroyed my race. Otherwise, a better result would have been possible.”
Auer, his also involved compatriot, wasn’t ready to comment the incident. “A fat lot I care. There were other things that made an impact on my race but Philipp didn’t. And it’s of absolutely no importance that it was Austrian versus Austrian. It also could have been a US-American. It was racing driver versus racing driver and in these cases, the racing always is tough. Always! Meanwhile, Eng had a second reason for being frustrated due to the penalty. It was his third booking in the 2018 season and therefore, he will receive a five-position grid penalty for the Saturday starting grid at Hockenheim.
The dream of a win in the home meeting at Spielberg didn’t come true. Nonetheless, BMW’s Philipp Eng enjoyed every single second of the Austrian DTM weekend – particularly the starting grid presentation that was opened for the fans. “It was amazing. On Saturday, I was on the grid from the first to the last minute. Never before did I sign as many autographs and make as many selfies. That made me really proud. I witnessed at close range that the Austrian is a real patriot. What a cool experience.”