Round 14 of this year’s DTM Championship, and opposite of yesterdays wet start, turning into a dry track, before the rain came and wet again, the race today was all dry.
Marco Wittmann started from Pole Position ahead of Paul Di Resta, Robert Wickens, Lucas Auer, Tom Blomqvist and Timo Glock. The first Audi was all the way down in 11th position with Jamie Green, while Championship leader Mattias Ekström started P13. Audi was once again 25 kilos heavier than BMW and 10 kg heavier than Mercedes, since DTM didn’t change the BOP from yesterday to today, due to the changeable weather conditions yesterday – something that Audi Sport was very angry about, and used every possibility over the weekend to tell everybody about.
Rene Rast started from last position, which was 5 places behind his actual qualifying position. The German received his third warning of the season in the race yesterday, and that gave him a position penalty for today’s race.
Paul Di Resta made the best start, and took the lead going into Turn one, ahead of Marco Wittmann, while Lucas Auer made it into third. Timo Glock had a small trip off the track in the Mercedes Arena, but returned to the racing surface, but lost 5 points during his small detour.
Mike Rockenfeller and Rene Rast went for the pits after lap one. The pitstop of Rast went way too slow, due to a problem with a wheel nut for the team. One lap later we saw Maxime Martin and Edoardo Mortara in the pits too.
Timo Glock was quick at regaining positions again, and was back in top 10 already three laps later.
Maxime Martin had made a jump start, so he received a drive-through penalty by the stewards.
Rockenfeller attacked Mortara on lap 4, and went past the Mercedes driver.
The winner from yesterday, Auer, made a huge mistake on the 6th lap, but hitting a curb too hard, and thereby was send into a spin. The Austrian fell all the way back to 13th, which was the final driver, who hadn’t done a pitstop. He took his pitstop two laps later, and rejoined in 16th position.
Jamie Green and Maro Engel had a battle on the 9th lap of the race, where Green pushed Engel wide, resulting in Mattias Ekström also slipping by Engel. The race stewards gave Green a warning for that manouvre.
15 minutes into the race, we saw a new battle between Marco Wittmann and Paul Di Resta, after the former had caught back up with the Scott, and put pressure on him for several laps.
Rockenfeller had good speed, and slowly but surely gained positions amongst the drivers who had already pitted.
On the 15th lap of the race, Wittmann finally was able to dive past Di Resta in Turn 1, in a perfectly executed outbraking manouvre, after he had slipstreamed Di Resta down the start-finish straight.
It didn’t all go to plan for the mechanics on Di Resta’s car during the pitstop, where there was troubles with one of wheels. That cost him two positions to Augusto Farfus and Robert Wickens, before Tom Blomqvist passed him too later on that same lap.
Robert Wickens had plenty of speed, and firstly went past Augusto Farfus and only two corners later, Marco Wittmann too, in the real battle for the lead.
Di Resta got past Glock, but the latter tried to fight back – but couldn’t eventually follow the Mercedes driver.
Bruno Spengler, Mattias Ekström, Jamie Green, Nico Müller and Loic Duval chose to wait long with their pitstops, and especially the two latter were leaders in a bit of train, before the guys who had already pitted, could pass them due to fresher tires. But it cost them a bit of time.
Bruno Spengler left the pits in P5, but since tire warmers are not allowed in DTM, he lost a few positions before he had gotten heat into his tires.
With about 17 minutes of the race, Marco Wittmann tried to attack Mercedes driver Robert Wickens, and used a bit of elbows. The German was awarded a warning for that.
Timo Glock crashed into the rear of Nico Müller in the Veedol-S chicane. That resulted in damage on both cars, and shortly after Müller got a puncture due to carbon had shredded his tire. That send him way out of the points, before he eventually retired.
After everybody had been in the pit, Wickens was leading Wittmann and Di Resta. Ekström was best Audi in 10th positoin – but most important of all, still ahead of Lucas Auer and Rene Rast, who were the closest competitors in the Championship. 10th wasn’t good enough for Ekström who went on to attack and pass Gary Paffett, with Green following past too. One lap later, the duo tried to pass Augusto Farfus, where a bit of paint was exchanged. That made Green pass Ekström too, and he was able to pull away from the Swede.
With 6 minutes left of the race we saw Paul Di Resta passing Marco Wittmann, who quickly was joined by Bruno Spengler. His teammate wasn’t going to attack Wittmann, since he was on his way to a big advancement in the Championship with the results from today.
Gary Paffett tried to get past Augusto Farfus on the penultimate lap. At the same time, Tom Blomqvist was only centimetres away from Paffett. Maxime Martin got a tow from both of them, and ended up hitting both cars. Blomqvist lost his position to Martin, but Paffett stayed ahead.
The final lap of the race, Maxime Martin tired to overtake Gary Paffett on the outside in the chicane. The Belgium tried to outbrake Paffett, but the latter defended his position. Martin still had his front up towards the door of Paffett when the two cars collided, sending Paffett into a spin over the grass.
Robert Wickens took the win ahead of Paul Di Resta and Marco Wittmann. They were followed by Bruno Spengler, Marco Engel , Jamie Green and Mattias Ekström.
Mattias Ekström kept the lead in the Championship, and even extended it to Lucas Auer and Rene Rast. Marco Wittmann jumped into 4th, ahead of Jamie Green, MIke Rockenfeller and Timo Glock.
Amongst the constructors, Audi still leads, while Mercedes jumped into second – with a big thanks to the total Mercedes dominance in the race yesterday.
Audi Sport Team Rosberg still leads the Teams Championship, with Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline 2nd and BMW Team RBM in third. There however are equal on points with Mercedes-AMG Motorsport me, and only two points ahead of BWT Mercedes-AMG Motorsport.
The penultimate round of this years Championship will be run in two weeks time at Red Bull Ring in Austria. Audi will be allowed to skip 5 kilos of success ballast for that race, while Mercedes have to carry 5 kg more. So it’s very likely for (at least) the Saturday to be dominated by BMW. They were very dominant on the circuit last year too, with five cars in top 7 in both races.