Photo: BMW Motorsport

Philipp Eng ecstatic after going from ninth to second at Misano

Team RBM driver Philipp Eng saved the day for BMW Motorsport at Misano with a strong drive from ninth on the grid to finish second in race two seeing him take the fight to the dominant Audis.

Eng had a good start and was up to seventh place in the first lap, gradually climbing up the order as the race wore on.

After fellow BMW driver Marco Wittmann retired after contact, it was clear that the Austrian was the fastest BMW driver on the track, having an exciting spat with WRT’s Jonathan Aberdein for several laps.

The Austrian finally overtook the South African on lap 13, as Audi’s René Rast suffered a puncture when leading the race. Rast limped back to the pits and returned to the track, with Eng completing his stop four laps later.

Eng returned to the track just behind Rast and did his uttermost to attack the Audi driver, managing to overtake for second place on lap 21. Although Rast challenged the BMW driver on several occasions, Eng managed to open a gap to finish the race in a comfortable second place.

“I am incredibly proud of everyone,” said Eng. “There is no guarantee that you can finish runner-up from ninth place on the grid.

“I am really happy with the result. We did everything right. In hindsight, I could possibly have pushed a little earlier, as my tyres were in good condition. Then I could have attacked Nico Müller. However, he was probably too far in front. On the whole, however, I am extremely happy,” added the Austrian.

The strong result allows Eng to stay in second place in the drivers’ championship, ten points behind Rast.

Marco Wittmann was the other side of the coin for BMW. After looking strong in the early stages of the race, challenging Rast and Aberdein for third position, Wittmann was pushed out at Turn 8, breaking his steering and forced to retire. The stewards would later rule the move as a racing incident.

“It is really annoying to crash out in that manner,” said Wittmann. “I cannot say too much on the subject and am obviously totally frustrated.”

Rudolf Dittrich, BMW Motorsport Vehicle Development manager, said: “Eng’s impressive performance on Sunday, with some nice overtaking manoeuvres and great tyre management, is also a great advertisement for the DTM.”