A thrilling start for Hankook into new DTM season
Never before was Hankook’s slogan ‘Driving emotion’ more apt than at the opening round of the new DTM season at Hockenheim. 58,000 thrilled spectators, including Hankook board members Jin-Wook Choi (COO for Europe) and Hyun-Bum Cho (Global CSFO) saw an action-packed race, from which Bruno Spengler emerged as the glorious winner with his Hankook shood AMG Mercedes C-Class. “My team has provided me with a great car and carried out the pit stops at the right moment. The Hankook tyres were also very good. Even though we are running a lot over the kerbs here at Hockenheim, the tyres remained consistent. That is really very good”, said the eight times’ DTM race winner.
After 38 laps in the Motodrom, the 27-year old Canadian took the flag with a margin of almost four seconds over his Audi opponent Mattias Ekström, who came second with his A4 DTM. “For me, it was a great race”, the Swede said. “I had a good start and my car worked perfectly. There weren’t any problems with the tyres either.”
However, Ekström, who just had become a father, was really lucky on the last few metres as a loose uniball joint made his 470 hp strong race car almost undriveable in the final four corners. The first to benefit would have been Mercedes-Benz driver Ralf Schumacher, who crossed the finish line only 0.177 seconds later. Nevertheless, the joy for the Salzburg-based driver was huge as his third place was his first podium finish in five years and his first-ever in the DTM. “Special thanks to Hankook! Somehow that seems to help a little bit. I think it is not natural for a new tyre manufacturer comes into a series and deliver a good and consistent tyre. Here at Hockenheim, we we had no problems at all during testing and racing. Thanks to Hanook for being here with us. I think this is a really good addition for the DTM”, said Schumacher.
As a new DTM partner, Hankook can also rightfully be considered as one of the winners of this race weekend. On all the cars, the new Ventus F200 DTM tyres completed the 174 kilometres long race distance without any problems. Audi’s head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, was impressed: “With Hankook, we now have a tyre that not only lasts throughout the race, but that we can also put pressure on.”