Stefano D’Aste and the Wiechers-Sport team secured another top ten result during round ten of the 2012 World Touring Car Championship from the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest.
The two free practice sessions saw the Italian driver struggle due to a lack of knowledge of the Hungarian circuit and this caught him out come qualifying, as he failed to progress from the first stage. D’Aste ended up fifteenth fastest at the end of the qualifying session.
Round nine of the season saw D’Aste move up the order on the rolling start but was then caught up in contact which damaged the #26 BMW 320TC. He limped back to the pits for repairs and was able to rejoin the race but finished 17th overall and tenth in the Yokohama Independents’ category.
Round ten saw the repaired BMW320TC line up fourteenth and D’Aste was soon on a charge up the field and was soon duelling with rival BMW driver Franz Engstler.
Soon D’Aste was ahead of the Liqui Moly Team Engstler driver and was chasing down Championship leader and triple Champion Yvan Muller and on the final lap, the pressure from D’Aste was enough for Muller to make a mistake which gave the Italian eighth place overall and fourth Yokohama Independent.
After the back to back races in Slovakia and Hungary, D’Aste and the team have a two week break before the series heads to Austria and the Salzburgring for rounds eleven and twelve of the season, and the penultimate European round of the season.
D’Aste currently sits eighth in the outright Drivers’ Championship with 59 Championship points while in the Yokohama Independents’, he has slipped to third behind race two winner Norbert Michelisz. He has fifty eight points after ten races.
“The Hungaroring was a new circuit for me,” explained D’Aste after the races. “I did find it hard at the beginning to find my way around. The track is very beautiful and technically very demanding.
“To be at 100% here, you need to have plenty of laps experience which I missed out on. I missed out on the second part of qualifying by a tenth of a second.
“In race one, I got off to a good start but (Franz) Engstler and (Gabor) Wéber took me off. This damaged my front tyre and I lost many positions. After a few laps, both tyres were flat so I had to go back to the pits.
“In race two, I made a good start again and I was able to catch (Darryl) O’Young, Engstler and (James) Nash before being able to pass them and then I caught Yvan Muller.
“In the last three laps, I was faster than Yvan and I put him under constant pressure and tried to pass him. On the final lap, Yvan made a mistake and I could pass. The weekend start was difficult for us but in the end it was still good for us.”
Wiechers-Sport team manager, Dominik Greiner is pleased with the performances shown by D’Aste in Hungary, despite his driver not knowing the circuit.
“As with the race on the Slovakiaring, at the Hungaroring we also initially had problems. Stefano did not yet know this track, so he needed some time to find the right rhythm. After the beating in qualifying he rose well in both races. Unfortunately, our good speed was stopped through two crashes in the first race. A big congratulations to our mechanics that have put the BMW back on the road in great time.
“In the second race Stefano shone again. After he overtook Franz, he put pressure on Yvan and overtook him at the end,” continued Greiner. “Eighth place and 4 World Championship Points are a conciliatory conclusion of the race weekend. Now we look forward to the next event at the Salzburgring where we will hopefully renew our strong performance, but Stefano also doesn’t know this track yet!”