Refuelling can jammed, front wheel gone...
The Circuit Park Zandvoort is an absolute must in every DTM season. DTM.com looks back on special and weird incidents.
The DTM debut at Zandvoort, in 2001, began with a bang. Starring: Christian Abt and Uwe Alzen. In the qualifying session, Abt secured his first DTM pole to then win the short qualifying race that was part of the DTM weekends in those days. He also held the lead for the major part of the feature race but in the closing stages, his Audi TT-R oversteered extremely. On the final lap, Alzen who had closed the gap to Abt step by step, with his Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM, jostled the Audi away to secure the win. “Everyone can overtake this way,” Abt – who crashed into Alzen who braked hard after having crossed the finish line – fumed after the race. At the end of the day, Alzen had to pay a DM10.000 for his manoeuvre.
Albers the last local hero to have won in the dunes, to date
In 2003, the Dutch fans could celebrate their compatriot, Christijan Albers. In front of an enthusiastic crowd, the Mercedes driver celebrated his fourth win in the season. On the way to his win, Albers benefited of Timo Scheider’s bad luck. Scheider who represented the Opel camp in those days started into the race from pole and held the lead up to his second pit stop – when his race ended as he rolled to a standstill on three wheels at the end of the pit lane. The right front wheel hadn’t been fixed properly. “What can I say,” Scheider said after the race. “I can’t find the words to describe what happened. This could have been my day.”
In the Zandvoort race in 2006, Tom Kristensen had to survive a moment of shock. At the end of lap 13, the Dane pitted with his Audi A4 DTM from the lead for the first time – back then, not only the tyre change but also refuelling was obligatory. The refuelling can jammed and still was hanging on the car when Kristensen rejoined the race. Fortunately, the problem solved just a few metres after the pit-lane exit when the can fell off. Kristensen refused to let the incident make an impact on his race and secured the race win, nevertheless.
In 2015, the visitors could witness massive blue-and-white celebrations in the Zandvoort pit lane. The BMW drivers dominated the race action in the dunes just as they liked. On Saturday, all the top-seven positions were secured by BMW drivers – a result never witnessed in the DTM history to date.
From the barbecue to the racetrack
In the following year, the Zandvoort weekend represented the beginning of an unexpected success story. Following an accident in the Saturday race, Tambay’s left hand was aching extremely and so, contesting the Sunday race was impossible for him. Consequently, Audi pulled out all the stops to find a replacement for the Sunday race. At 21:00hrs, the telephone of René Rast – who just was in Hannover, at a barbecue on the occasion of the 30th birthday of his girlfriend – began to ring. At 03:00hrs he arrived at the hotel in Zandvoort and just a few hours later, he contested his first DTM race in the Audi RS 5 DTM, a car he never had driven, so far. Three month later, in the season finale at Hockenheim, Rast was offered his second DTM chance – as reserve driver for Mattias Ekström – and finished sixth. With his result and his approach the German definitely recommended himself for a DTM race seat for the 2017 season. The rest is history.