Eric van de Poele and Marc Hessel Reunited for Tourwagen Classics at Zolder

by Chloe Hewitt

Former DTM Series drivers, Eric van de Poele and Marc Hessel are to be reunited this weekend for the Tourwagen Classics race at Zolder.

Marking 32 years since the pair found themselves embroiled in one of the most dramatic DTM title deciders of all time.

In the third year of the touring car series, van de Poele and Hessel found themselves competing for the title in the BMW M3, with 315 bhp and an incredible 9,600 rpm it became an instant hit.

At the second round of the year at Zolder, Hessel had to start from twenty-third on the grid after losing a wheel on his qualifying lap – in the race he went on to drive round all twenty-two drivers ahead of him on a wet track to take victory in just his second touring car race.

In the end it was van de Poele who took the championship in the finale at the Salzburgring despite not clinching a race win all year.

Sebastian Küppers, of  2.0Automotive has spearheaded the pair’s journey back into the iconic M3 since 2017 with the opportunity finally coming this weekend.

2.0Automative was set up by former footballer Martin Stranzl and Küppers with the intention of implementing premium projects for automative enthusiasts.

Marc Hessel, said: “There’s a wonderful book called “Mon Ami Mate” about team mates and F1 rivals Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorne. Sharing an original Zakspeed BMW M3 with my friend and teammate Eric van de Poele after 32 years is something along those lines. I am incredibly grateful to Sebastian Küppers from 2.0 Automotive, who are entering their car for us, and made this long overdue reunion as a team possible for us and all long term DTM fans.

“Eric was fantastic as a friend and opponent in the early days of our careers in the hotly contested European Formula Ford scene. The highly emotional time at BMW, when we fought each other for the DTM title, created a special bond between the two of us. It’s impossible not to reminisce about 1987, especially about my victory at the DTM round at Zolder circuit, which I, of course, remember very well. I’m really looking forward to our reunion for the Touringcar Classics season opener and I’m sure that we’ll have a lot of fun!”

Van de Poele, added: “A few weeks ago my friend Marc (Hessel) contacted me and asked if I’d fancy to drive the ex-Zakspeed-M3 alongside him. Of course I was enthusiastic about this idea. I quickly agreed a deal with Sebastian Küppers of 2.0 Automotive and now I’m really looking forward to it. The collaboration with Marc was fabulous back in the day. At my home race at Zolder, where we will now share a car together, I was bumped off the track, while Marc drove a great race and won, which, despite all the frustration, made me very happy for him and the whole team.

“Of course I was delighted to win the championship in the final race, because the whole team had been working so hard all season long. But of course I felt sorry for Marc, that was a tragic finish. But while I’m looking forward to driving the M3 again and to compete in a team alongside Marc, the nice thing is that Marc is competing for the Touringcar Classics Championship in 2019. The best result I therefore could possibly achieve at Zolder would be to help him to win the championship this time around by scoring a top result. I hope for that to happen as a small reparation for events back in the day.”

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