Podium decided on the penultimate lap

Round 15 of DTM was run on the short version of Nürburgring Grand Prix Strecke, leaving about 30% of the lap that we know from Formula 1 races.

The Audi Sport driver Rene Rast had taken Pole Position ahead of Mercedes-AMG man Gary Paffett and BMW driver Bruno Spengler. After that there was a mix of Mercedes and BMW drivers until we found the second Audi driver, Mike Rockenfeller, in P11.

The 55 minutes plus a lap race started under clear blue sky; perfect conditions for the drivers.

While top 3 took off without problems, there was a commotion between Lucas Auer and Marco Wittmann for fourth place. Auer pushed Wittmann quite a bit but both remained on the track. Further down the field, Robin Frijns went off track in Turn 1, when he got pushed by Eduardo Mortara. But both could continue.

Timo Glock attempted to overtake Daniel Juncadella from the outside in the Mercedes Arena, but he couldn’t make it past. Two laps later Glock dived on the way to Turn 1 and forced Juncadella to go wide. The Spaniard could however keep his foot on the gas pedal and went back on the track, where they drove side-by-side through the entire Mercedes Arena, before Glock went past on the way to the exit. It opened a door for the cars behind them and Juncadella lost five more places in the next two corners to two BMW drivers, three Audis, and a fellow Mercedes. The stewards thought that Glock had been a bit too harsh and gave him a warning.

Rene Rast
Photo: JJ Media

Robin Frijns and Jamie Green were the first to pit, on the fifth and seventh lap respectively. They were already last in the field anyway,so they had nothing to lose, and they could hope for a Safety Car period before the competitors managed to pit – then suddenly they would have the upper hand.

Lucas Auer pitted on lap 10, hoping to gain positions when he came out in free air, instead of being constantly under pressure from behind.

Marco Wittmann, Joel Eriksson, and Daniel Juncadella went to the pits on lap 11, and nearly at the same time there was a collision between Philipp Eng and Paul di Resta in the Mercedes Arena. Di Resta was spun around and went down to 12th place, and thus was the last person to pit. The stewards looked at the case and decided to give Eng a drive-through penalty for the incident.

Augusto Farfus pitted after 13 laps, followed by Paul di Resta.

Halfway into the race, Bruno Spengler went past Gary Paffett in the battle for second place, with a nice outbraking manoeuvre on the way to Turn 1.

Rene Rast pitted after 16 laps, which Paffett also chose to do. The pitstops went well for both drivers and they came out in the real lead, even though there were seven drivers ahead of them who hadn’t do the obligatory pitstop.

Jamie Green spun by himself, while he was about to overtake Lucas Auer. Green could see that the door was closed, so he tried to avoid it and span.

Bruno Spengler, Pascal Wehrlein, and Nico Müller pitted on lap 19. It send Wehrlein out in the middle of a bunch of cars with Green, Frijns, Farfus, and Eriksson. It wasn’t easy on cold tires, but the former Formula 1 driver could keep his car on the track and only lose a few positions.

Glock, Rockenfeller, and Duval were the only ones yet to pit.

Farfus was on the move, and he overtook first Frijns and then Green. The Brazilian had however used all of his DRS, so he would potentially be vulnerable in the last 20 minutes of the race.

Gary Paffett
Photo: JJ Media

Glock pitted from the lead and came out on seventh place, which was actually fifth in the real order.

Wehrlein slowly but surely started to overtake the competitors and came back in top ten, when he dived past Green. It went worse for Green as his teammate Müller also got past.

Rockenfeller pitted with 16 minutes left on the clock and came out seventh, but he quickly lost three places due to cold tires.

Duval was the last person to pit, and he came out in ninth place, but he lost two positions before he warmed up his tires.

Just as predicted, things were getting harder for Farfus as the race approached the end. First, he got overtaken by Rocky, and then Auer, and both Duval and Müller were putting him under pressure, and they went past him, too, in the first chance they got.

Rockenfeller came past Auer for the seventh place, after starting from P11.

With three minutes left, Glock went up to fourth.

Rocky gained another position and was now in P6, with only one minute left on the clock.

Glock had closed up to Paffett, with two laps left of the race, and could use his DRS on the Englishman. Spengler was also catching up on Rast, a bit over one second behind the reigning champion, but it meant that he couldn’t use his DRS.

Glock did a big mistake on the penultimate lap in the chicane, losing valuable points, and thus had to miss out the podium as he was down to P4.

But nobody could touch Rene Rast, who won ahead of Bruno Spengler and Gary Paffett. All three brands were on the first three places, so they could be happy with it – even though BMW and Mercedes surely would rather finish on the top of the podium.

The next race will be run tomorrow on the same track.

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