ANOTHER PODIUM FOR TUCK IN MIXED FORTUNES AT NURBURGRING
2020 continues to throw challenges in the direction of Ben Tuck who, against the odds pulled out another fantastic podium finish at the latest round of the DTM Trophy at Nurburgring. The result means that he has visited the rostrum at every one of the 3 weekends of the inaugural season of the high profile DTM support championship and sees him placed 3rd in the race for the title.
The podium finish in Race #1 was a welcome achievement for the Walkenhorst driver in the light of the weekends action at the Nurburgring, which was far from smooth. Troublesome setup compromised Tucks qualifying performance for both of the weekend’s races. Whilst he took his BMW M4 GT4 to a hard-fought 3rd place in Race #1, a penalty after contact in Race #2 halted his spirited fight back through the field, ending his chance of Championship points.
The weekend enjoyed unusually warm and stable weather for the Eiffel, but it was not quite the signal for sunnier times in Tucks 2020 campaign. After a lot of work on the Walkenhorst Motorsport run BMW, both free practices netted encouraging results in the run up to qualifying for Race #1. Tuck has been consistently the fastest lapping BMW of the championships 4 preceding events, claiming the honours in 5 of the 8 outings on track across qualifying and races. However, Nurburgring was to prove trickier, when Tuck took his #34 machine to 6th position for the weekend’s opening battle.
Race #1 saw Ben quickly move forward with 2 places gained on Lap 1, and a stunning move to claim 3rd two laps later, by which time the leaders had already broken away. The race settled into a pattern of consistency and focus for Ben, the resulting podium a satisfying, if anticlimactic conclusion: “I said I wanted that podium and we managed it! We worked hard for that one and I feel that was the best that we could manage from our BMW today. I tried everything I could but just couldn’t keep up with the car in front on the straights.”
In qualifying for Race #2 Ben was among the top handful of drivers in sectors 1 and 2, but he was almost bottom of the field in the final section of the lap, belying a crucial issue in the final chicane, which consigned Ben to 12th on the grid for Race #2. Facing another challenge for the race, Tuck immediately found 3 places on lap 1 getting him into the points paying positions and another on the following lap, building momentum for a dramatic and impressive comeback. But Ben’s progress was cut short when a penalty was handed out, commanding Ben to return a position to a car he’d passed just 7 corners after the start 5 laps earlier.
The car he was obliged to let pass was down in 16th position, which consigned Ben almost to the back of the field. This eliminated the chance of championship points and denied the race of potentially action-packed battles as Ben caught those cars he normally fights with.
But, without hesitation Ben complied and set about fighting back yet again, eventually reaching 13th position having overtaken a total of 8 cars during the race – an average of 1 every other lap. Ben was disappointed but focused on the next race. “Clearly Race #2 was not the result we were expecting, we’d been making good progress so to get the penalty was unfortunate. But I’m confident we can do more next week and we’ll be up there again looking for more podiums.”
The weekend leaves Ben in 3rd position in the Championship and the team with a short turnaround ahead of the next race in just 1 week, again at Nurburgring.