Weather once again played a part, when the season’s 14th round was run at the Italian Misano.
The qualifying was done under pouring rain, where Loic Duval for Audi Sport was the fastest man. It was the Frenchman’s first Pole Position in DTM, after one and a half season that had more challenges than success.
Edoardo Mortara was the second fastest, ahead of his Mercedes-AMG teammate Daniel Juncadella and Audi drivers Mike Rockenfeller and Rene Rast, while Marco Wittmann was the best BMW driver in P6.
Guest driver Alex Zanardi again started from P19, in another difficult qualifying for the Italian star, who drove in a specially built BMW M4 DTM with hand control. When he drove in WTCC, he used one of his legs to brake, but this car was purely hand controlled.
The championship leader Gary Paffett had another hard quali and had to start from P8, two positions his closest championship rival, Paul Di Resta.
There was again a mix of tire choice on the starting grid, and it would be exciting to see who had chosen the correct one.
Duval got a horrible start and fell back to third. Instead, it was Mortara who came first in Turn 1, ahead of Juncadella and Glock. Glock had a little detour on the run off area but he managed to come back to the track.
But Glock had a contact with Rene Rast, and halfway spinning the defending champion out of the track, who was then corrected by another competitor and could continue.
Marco Wittmann took his obligatory pitstop after the first lap.
Robin Frijns was flying, and went up to seventh after the second lap, having started from P15.
Mike Rockenfeller, Timo Glock and Augusto Farfus were the next drivers to pit, while Gary Paffett, Philipp Eng and Bruno Spengler came in after the fourth lap.
Jamie Green and Lucas Auer were also coming in for their pitstop and came out last on the field, on fresh tires.
Paul Di Resta gained two places on two corners, when he went past Frijns and Müller, in the battle for fifth place.
Juncadella, Müller and Wehrlein changed tires at the start of lap 7, while Duval and Di Resta followed one lap later.
With forty minutes left, the rain started to fall again, which really gave problems for all the drivers who had changed to slicks.
Hence Mortara, Rast, Frijns and Zanardi got a huge advantage, since they hadn’t pitted and were still on rain tires. Eriksson was starting on slicks and struggled to get the car back to the pits and have fresh rain tires mounted.
Juncadella spun just before the pit entry – but he didn’t have to drive far to get new rain tires.
Lucas Auer spun on the track by himself, which deployed a Safety Car to get the car removed.
Mortara, Rast, Frijns and Zanardi hadn’t pitted, while Eriksson was the first person who had taken his obligatory pitstop. Actually, the five drivers had a whole lap advantage in front of all the others, since they had pitted twice.
Normally, the race would be restarted with two cars side by side, but due to the rain, the race director decided they would start one car after the other, as we know from almost all race series in the world.
Farfus hit the wall on the way out of the last corner. It gave such a huge damage on his rear drive shaft that he was forced to retire from the race.
Gary Paffett and Daniel Juncadella had a contact with each other in Turn 2, which spun both cars around. It was the second consecutive day that Paffett had a contact with a teammate, after Edoardo Mortara in yesterday’s race. It sent him out of the points.
Mortara, Rast and Frijns continued on the track for a long time, before they pitted for fresh tires. Rast dived in with 14 minutes left, while the others followed suit in the next few laps.
Even though Mortara had driven on rain tires in almost fifty minutes, he could still pull away from the others, before he pitted with eight minutes left.
Frijns waited to pit until the penultimate lap, which sent him back to fourth place.
After everyone had pitted, Eriksson had a five-second lead to Mortara.
And they came to the finish, where Swede Joel Eriksson took his first DTM victory in his rookie season. Edoardo Mortara finished second, ahead of Rene Rast. Which means we had a BMW win, in front of Mercedes and Audi. Robin Frijns took fourth place, ahead of the sensation fo the day, Alex Zanardi. Zanardi was pretty lucky, like the other four drivers in top five, to not take his pitstop before the Safety Car. And he still had to hold the car on the track, which he did until finish.
Today’s result means that Paul Di Resta has taken the lead in the drivers’ championship, in front of his fellow Mercedes drivers Gary Paffett and Edoardo Mortara. Marco Wittmann is the best BMW driver in P4, ahead of Lucas Auer and Timo Glock, before the best Audi Sport driver Rene Rast in P7.
In two weeks, the season’s 15th and 16th rounds will be run at the Nürburgring.