Eng wants to trigger the fireworks, next year
With his style of driving and his laid-back character, Philipp Eng proved to be a true asset to the 2018 DTM grid. The BMW driver made it to the top 10 in his debut season and by doing so he out-performed established DTM aces, such as Bruno Spengler, Augusto Farfus or Jamie Green. Furthermore, the 28-year old secured the unofficial Rookie-of-the-Year title. DTM.com talked with the Austrian who was born in Salzburg.
Congratulation, you are the best rookie of the 2018 DTM season…
Unfortunately, DTM hasn’t got an official rookie title. But it existed for a certain period of time. I can well remember that my Team Principal, Jens Marquardt, told me on the occasion of the official presentation of drivers and cars that the rookie title solely was won by BMW drivers. And I promised him right away that I also would achieve this goal. That’s a nice record.
In the driver’s championship you finished ninth. How would you sum up your season?
My start into the season, at Hockenheim, was extremely poor. A character-forming race meeting. In the run-up to the season I worked extremely hard to be able to deliver right from the start – but then I was slapped instead of making it. Fortunately I was able to continue the season at the Lausitzring by coming third in race three of the season and securing the pole for the fourth. This weekend definitely was a highlight – just like my starts at Zandvoort and the Norisring from the first row on the grid. But I have to admit that I often didn’t make the best possible use of my grid positions. Therefore, a top-10 result in the championship is okay. A result you can build on.
Mercedes-AMG driver Paul Di Resta accused you and Robin Frijns during the Hockenheim meeting that you were the drivers racing for Audi and BMW that spoiled everything for him. What is your response to this imputation?
Making such an assertion is easy. But let’s take a look at the season finale at Hockenheim. Gary completely destroyed him in both qualifying sessions and both races – at the wheel of an identical car – and therefore he well deserved to win the title. Nonetheless, I understand Paul’s frustration. After all, he also had a great season. Greetings to the colleague.
It was your first DTM season and – first of all – your first season finale. Could you please describe your impressions?
In DTM you only battle it out with top-class racers. At the Red Bull Ring I was fighting for 13th position and was surrounded by the likes of Gary Paffett and Pascal Wehrlein. You always have to keep things in perspective. I mean, there were reasons why Pascal was promoted to Formula One. If you fail to fully get your act together, in DTM, you quickly are 13th instead of third. My performances often were better than they looked on paper. At the end of the final race I unfortunately was somewhat too far behind and therefore wasn’t able to really see the fireworks. But I hope that I will trigger the fireworks when we return to Hockenheim, next year.