PODIUM FINISH AS TUCK CONSOLIDATES CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION!
For the second time in as many meetings, Ben Tuck led the field this weekend in the second of two DTM Trophy races at Lausitzring in Germany. As the DTM circus rolled into the eastern German circuit on Thursday, Ben was looking to build on his debut win in the championship’s opening round at Spa 3 weeks earlier. And just like at Spa, Lausitzring served up a mixed bag for the Walkenhorst driver, with a 7th place in Race 1 and a 2nd place podium in Race 2 after leading 13 of the 17 laps.
The DTM Trophy is the brand new GT4 feeder series to the legendary and highly respected German DTM Championship. As part of the DTM package, the DTM Trophy receives high profile billing across its six double header weekends in 2020, making it a hugely important platform for manufacturers, teams and sponsors alike. Ben’s results at the weekend consolidated his 2nd place in the new championship.
Friday practice netted the team good data in the hot and dry conditions. The long wheelbase BMW M4 is not naturally suited to the twisty infield of the EuroSpeedway, however Ben was happy to claim 3rd fastest, with high hopes for the first of the weekends battles the following day.
But Race Day #1 dawned under heavy skies, leading the team to make some difficult decisions on the wet setup. In qualifying, Ben wrestled his BMW to 12th position on a setup far from ideal in the very heavy rain. With a mountain to climb in the race, Ben launched into the spray at turn 1 and set about clawing his way forward. He quickly picked off 5 positions within half a lap and set about a race long battle to maintain position in a car that was unhappy in the wet conditions. By the flag, Ben had hung onto 7th position – a valiant effort. “We really struggled in the wet today, but unfortunately today’s conditions just suited the Mercedes and Porsches better. I’m really happy to be the fastest of the BMW’s again. Hopefully tomorrow is dry and we can show our pace” said Ben after the race.
The following day indeed promised warm, dry and stable conditions and with them the opportunity to take the fight to the Mercedes and Porsches. In a blistering qualifying battle Ben held on to Pole position for much of the session, being edged out to second only on the final flying lap. With another front row start, this time sandwiched between the Mercedes, Tuck was expecting a fight. He was not disappointed.
Almost immediately the top three broke away from the rest of the field and within a lap Tuck pounced with superbly timed overtake around the outside of turn 9 to take the lead. For the next 13 laps, Ben commanded the race, but the M4 was harder on its tyres than the chasing Mercedes and eventually on the penultimate lap, it was able to find a way alongside. As the two roared along the start finish straight side by side, the Mercedes finished the move into turn 1 and Ben completed the race just behind in 2nd position.
“We were so close to victory! The tyres degraded more and more with two laps remaining. At some point, I hoped that Tim would come under more pressure from behind and get involved in a fight but unfortunately that didn’t happen. But I’m still really happy to be back on the podium after a tricky couple of races” said Ben.
The weekends work extended Ben’s second place in the Championship and cements his position as the fastest BMW driver in the DTM Trophy. Ben now turns his attention to the next round of the NLS at Nürburgring on 29th August 2020.