The second half of the DTM 2018 season started today at the Brands Hatch circuit in England.
This is the first time since 2013 for the German touringcar series to be racing in Great Britain.
Daniel Juncadella had taken Pole Position ahead of his Mercedes-AMG teammate Lucas Auer. Rene Rast was the best Audi in P3 ahead of Philipp Eng in a BMW on P4. Another BMW in the shape of Augusto Farfus had sneaked in ahead of the championship leader and local hero Gary Paffett. His closest opposition in the championship, Paul di Resta, was all the way back in P12. Timo Glock, who was third in the championship, started right behind Paffett in P7.
The race was run at the full Brands Hatch Grand Prix loop, which is a change, since the Indy Circuit has previous being used for the DTM.
While there was rain on Friday, all 18 cars were ready to race under beautiful clear skies.
Things were turned a little upside down at the start, when Juncadella made a very bad getaway with loads of wheel spin, and both Auer and Rast made it past the Spaniard before Turn 1.
A whole bunch of drivers went for the pitlane already on the first lap. That was Rene Rast , Timo Glock, Paul di Resta, Loic Duval , Robin Frijns and Bruno Spengler.
We had a yellow flag on the second lap because Duval was stuck in the gravel, only two corners after the pit exit.
Marco Wittmann and Nico Müller were the next two to pit, in the hope of a Safety Car would be scrambled. It wasn’t, and instead it was a Slow Zone, so the field was still spread all around the track.
Once they went green again, Augusto Farfus, Philipp Eng and Mike Rockenfeller dived for the pits. Farfus managed to get out and stay in front of Rast, so the BMW driver was really moving forward.
Juncadella pitted on Lap 7, and even made it out of the pits ahead of Farfus and Rast, so Rast really had lost out.
The leading driver Auer pitted on the ninth lap, and rejoined in front of the race, but he couldn’t do anything since he was on cold tires while Juncadella and Farfus ahead had heat in their tires. Rast was right underneath the rearwing of Auer, but wasn’t able to get past.
Pascal Wehrlein was the last man to pit after 15 laps, and his mechanics had some problems with the tire change, so he dropped all the way from the lead to P7 at the pit exit, a position that he could defend on his warm-up lap.
So after all the pitstops, Juncadella was leading ahead of Farfus, Auer, Rast, Eng, Paffett, Wehrlein, Mortara Wittmann and Glock. Di Resta was still far behind and way outside the points in P15.
Timo Glock started to get troubles with his tires, when he first had a trip off at Paddock Hill Bend with his left pair of wheels, and a few laps later lost out to the three Audi drivers , Frijns, Rockenfeller and Jamie Green. Rocky and Green even made it three wide on Glock, where Glock had to back out of the middle going into Hawthorn, to avoid taking all three cars out.
Paffett did one last try on gaining a position with three laps to go, when he was right behind Eng. With the DRS wing open, he gained several meters on the straights but didn’t make it past.
Jamie Green got past his teammate Robin Frijns on the very final lap of the race.
Daniel Juncadella won the race ahead of Augusto Farfus and Lucas Auer. This was the first DTM win for the Spaniard, after he grabbed his first Pole Position at Norisring earlier this year.
Paffett extended his points lead in the Championship, since both di Resta (P16) and Glock (P13) finished outside the points. Lucas Auer has actually made it into P3 now – but 50 points behind Paffett.
There is another DTM race tomorrow – but one thing is for sure – Gary Paffett will be able to leave Great Britain as the championship leader no matter what happens tomorrow, since he leads di Resta by 35 points.