It was an all British front-row, when the 12th round of this year’s DTM season was run at Brands Hatch in Great Britain.
Championship leader Gary Paffett had grabbed Pole Position ahead of number two in the Championship, Paul di Resta, while Pascal Wehrlein completed the Mercedes-only top 3. Rene Rast was once again the best Audi Sport driver in P4, ahead of Lucas Auer and Robin Frijns, before Augusto Farfus was the first BMW man in P7.
Yesterday’s winner, Daniel Juncadella was starting all the way back in 14th.
There were a few sprinkles while the cars were parked on the starting grid, but not enough to make the track wet.
Paffett and di Resta were side by side through the first turns, and di Resta managed to get ahead. There was panic behind them around Auer, Farfus and Frijns. Frijns gave Auer a small nudge, and then Farfus went into the rear of Frijns. That sent Auer and Frijns to the back of the field, while Farfus kept his P5, but with a big damage to his engine cover. The Safety Car was deployed due to all the debris on the track.
When the race was restarted, Wehrlein attempted to drive past Paffett, but without success. Jamie Green went past his Audi teammate Rast a few laps later.
Pascal Wehrlein, Marco Wittmann, Loic Duval, Nico Müller and Bruno Spengler came in for their obligatory pitstop on the next lap. The Audi mechanics on Rast’s car were a bit faster than the Mercedes ones on Wehrlein’s, so Rast went out ahead of his countryman.
Maro Engel and Augusto Farfus went to the pits after having been on the track for seven laps, and Farfus got some extra tank tape on his car to hold the bonnet in place.
Paffet went in after eight laps and came out on a clear track. Di Resta didn’t dare wait any longer and pitted on the next lap, and he came out with a nice gap to Paffett.
The Mercedes mechanics didn’t fasten the rear wheel enough on Edoardo Mortara’s car, but luckily he got stopped after a few metres, so the mechanics could fix the mistake.
Mike Rockenfeller came in after 18 laps, followed by Auer one lap after. The mechanics also had problems with putting a new tire on, but his race was already ruined anyway after the collision on the first lap. Joel Eriksson had a flawless pitstop on the 20th lap, but he was way out of the points in P14.
BMW chose to pull Farfus in halfway through the race. The damage on his car was too big, and it wouldn’t make sense to make him stay on the track with such conditions.
Frijns was the next to last man to pit on lap 25, but he fell back to P15 after his earlier contact in the race.
Lucas Auer went to attack Nico Müller in Paddock Hill Bend, and the Mercedes man got just enough place to get past the Audi driver.
With under 15 minutes left of the race, Mike Rockenfeller overtook Philipp Eng, in the battle for 7th place.
Jamie Green waited until ten minutes before the race ended to pit. Even though he had a nice gap to the cars behind him prior to that, he came out from the pits on fourth place, but quickly fell back to P6 due to cold tires. He tried to defend his position from Marco Wittmann and even squeezed Wittmann all the way onto the grass – but the German held his car in the right direction and Green had to give up the position.
The top field after everyone had pitted consisted of Paul di Resta, Gary Paffett, Rene Rast, Pascal Wehrlein and Marco Wittmann. Jamie Green was on P6 but got a drive-through penalty for his previous action against Wittmann, and furthermore he already had a warning earlier in the race when he drove a bit too hard against his teammate Rast.
Loic Duval got an unlucky puncture with just five minutes left – another forgettable race for the Frenchman.
Rast had closed in to the two Mercedes drivers in front, and even still had DRS so he could come even closer.
But there were no more changes, so Paul di Resta won the race ahead of Gary Paffett and Rene Rast.
After the weekend, Gary Paffett leads the drivers’ championship in front of Paul di Resta, Marco Wittmann, and Lucas Auer. There are 29 points between the first and second place, while there are 38 points down to the third and fourth, who have the same amount of points.
Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Petronas leads the teams’ championship, ahead of Silberpfeil Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, and Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Remus.
It’s also Mercedes-AMG that has a dominance on the constructor’s championship in front of BMW and Audi Sport.
DTM will be back in 14 days when they visit Misano in Italy. Alex Zanardi will have his DTM debut, and for the first time the race will be a night race. So the track will be fully lit, as we’ve known from Abu Dhabi and Singapore in F1 among others.