TUCK TAKES DTM TROPHY 3rd PLACE WITH PODIUM AT SEASON FINALE!
The inaugural DTM Trophy Championship drew to a close in dramatic style at the weekend, where BMW driver Ben Tuck delivered his 4th podium finish of the season to seal overall 3rd in the Championship with a 2nd place race finish as the Top BMW driver! Walkenhorst Motorsport driver Tuck survived two frantic races at the well-known Formula 1 circuit at Hockenheim, which also enabled his team to take 3rd in the DTM Trophy Teams Championship.
Coming off the back of a challenging round at Zolder, where Ben registered a DNF and slipped to 4th position in the Championship, the final weekend of the 2020 DTM Trophy at Hockenheim took on a momentous feel. With the Championship’s first and second places already decided, the battle for 3rd became the focus of interest, and Ben needed to coolly deliver the performance necessary to take the last remaining prize.
Perhaps unusually for November, conditions were stable but very cold. It was a challenge in qualifying for Race #1 to extract pace from the car and tyres, and Ben claimed 11th on the grid putting him squarely in the middle of the pack – traditionally the danger zone for first lap incidents. Despite Hockenheim being a wide circuit, the race start featured the most dramatic start line incident of the season, which chaotically unfolded immediately in front of Ben on the run down to Turn 1.
However, he was able to successfully dodge the spinning cars and found himself 5 positions up and racing with the leading pack. The resulting safety car locked the positions for 5 laps until releasing the pack, whereupon Tuck stayed in the lead battle as a fierce 4-way fight for 5th place developed briefly demoting him to 6th on lap 12. A superbly executed sustained attack a lap later saw Ben smoothly re-take 5th place after a move lasting a full 7 corners, netting him a 5th place finish.
“Wow, what a crazy race” exclaimed Ben. “I was quite lucky and just managed to avoid the carnage at Turn 1 and then had to battle hard for that 5th place! We had work to do this weekend and we were fully prepared and now there’s only 5 points in the battle for P3 in the championship. Bring on tomorrow!”.
Race day #2 would be the decider for 3rd in the Championship and required Ben to extract every ounce of performance from his car in qualifying. With a sense of calm efficiency, he set about maximising the pace and came away with 6th place, just 2/10ths of a second away from a top 3 qualifying spot. But Race #2 would be the final arbiter with Tuck needing to finish 4th or higher to secure a top 3 Championship spot. “That lap felt good!” said Ben, seeming to relish the pressure. “I didn’t make any mistakes. This is the last chance to gain positions and the last shot at P3 in the championship and I can’t wait”.
The race start proved to be less dramatic than Race #1 and after safely negotiating Lap 1, Ben maintained 5th place as part of the leading pack, picking off 4th on lap 2. On lap 6 a spinning car brought the safety car out. At the chaotic restart, Tuck spotted his opportunity as the cars ahead stumbled over each other out of Turn 2 and he pounced, taking 2 positions in a single move. Holding securely on to 2nd until the flag, the audacious move sealed the final Championship slot in Tuck’s favour and saw the 2020 DTM Trophy season end much like it began, with Tuck holding aloft a trophy on the podium.
The result cemented Ben’s status as the fastest and most successful BMW driver in the DTM Trophy Championship. It also brought a trophy to Walkenhorst Motorsport, who likewise claimed 3rd spot in the Teams Championship.
“Another crazy race today!” said Ben. “I cannot believe it! Highest placed BMW in the Championship against the dominant Mercedes and Audi this year – that feels good! And to have Walkenhorst take P3 in the team championship, meaning we’re also the highest placed BMW team too!”
“I started in 5th spot on the grid after another car had a penalty from yesterday” explained Ben. “It was a good start again and I stayed patient and calm and waited for the others ahead of me to make mistakes while battling and I made my way through. We got lucky yesterday with the incident in front of me but today I really drove my heart out and left absolutely nothing behind! I’m really happy with my performance today and I have to say a massive thank you to the team, the car was faultless all weekend – really great race pace from the car. That podium was very much needed!”
The result concludes Ben Tuck’s regular racing duties for 2020 and he now looks to 2021 to build on his superb results in 2020.