Brands start crash “a shame” after promising qualifying – Dennis

by James Eagles
Jake Dennis - DTM - 2019 Brands Hatch

R-Motorsport‘s Jake Dennis said the first-lap accident that ended his DTM Race 1 at Brands Hatch was “a shame” after a solid qualifying performance.

Dennis started from seventh place, his best qualifying since the opening round of the season at Hockenheim, but was forced to retire with collision damage at the end of lap one.

The Aston Martin driver suffered a poor start and was squeezed into the wall by the BMW Motorsport car of Timo Glock, who himself was hit by Dennis’s team-mate Dani Juncadella, and suffered major rear wing damage as a result.

Juncadella was handed a drive-through penalty for his part in the incident, but managed to finish as the sole Aston Martin points scorer in tenth.

Aston Martin had achieved its best average qualifying since Hockenheim too, with three cars starting inside the top 10.

The cambered start/finish straight at Brands has the potential to cause problems, with the road falling away towards the pit wall.

Dennis accepted that the accident was unfortunate and there were no ill-intentions from Glock and Juncadella.

“It was just all merged into one,” Dennis said, speaking to The Checkered Flag.

“I was on the right-hand side up against the wall and didn’t have a great start.

“And then the next thing I knew I had Glock smashing into the side of me, but it was obviously all caused by a concertina effect from Dani’s side.

“It’s a bit of a shame because Dani doesn’t know I’m there and all he can see in Glock, so it’s four-into-one with Sheldon [van der Linde, BMW driver] there as well.

“It just happened to be me who was up against the wall, which happens quite a lot at Brands Hatch. People on the inside get squeezed towards the wall, and that’s what happened to me.

“I just need to qualify on an even number tomorrow or pole and it might not happen,” he joked.

Despite racing here in junior single seaters and the Blancpain GT Series, this was the first time Dennis had performed a standing start at Brands Hatch – and hinted that a lack of experience may have contributed to his sluggish start.

But the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team development driver said that he had been made aware of the dangers through watching the British Touring Car Championship at the circuit.

“I’ve been watching the BTCC here for many years and you can see the general trend that all cars struggle with the camber,” he added.

“It just happened to be me that was hit hard by it.

“We’ll just have to try again tomorrow and hope it doesn’t happen again.”

Glock suffered damage to his floor and front splitter, leaving him lacking on downforce and only able to finish a lowly thirteenth – over a minute behind race winner and BMW team-mate Marco Wittmann.

“It destroyed our race, there was a lot of damage on the right-hand side,” said Glock.

“The whole splitter and the floor was damaged.

“It’s just another unlucky situation for us at the moment, and it doesn’t seem like we’re getting out of it – but that’s how it is.”

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