The very last DTM race in 2018 was run at Hockenheim, and like yesterday, under beautiful blue sky.
Marco Wittmann had improved from yesterday’s nightmare race and grabbed a BMW Pole Position. One of the championship contenders Rene Rast would start from P2, right in front of the championship leader Gary Paffett. The other contender for the championship, Paul Di Resta started the race all the way down from P11.
Rast got a perfect start. He already went in front before Turn 1, and had a big lead towards Turn 2. Di Resta had won three places on the first lap, but there was still a long way to go, if he wanted to win the title. It didn’t get any easier when he got a penalty from the stewards, where he should let Philipp Eng get past again, since they thought Di Resta had pushed him off the track.
In an attempt to get further ahead in the field, the Scotsman was the first one to pit for new tires.
Jamie Green had a solo run-off in the Sachs-Curve, but he came back on the asphalt by himself.
Mike Rockenfeller was in and changed tires after lap 8.
Robin Frijns did a wild overtaking on Timo Glock on lap 11, where the Dutchman got pushed off track by the German. Frijns merely kept his foot on the speeder, and even though both tires were momentarily in the air when he hit a curb pretty hard, he managed to get past.
Paffett pitted after eleven laps, and tried to get Rast to pit, too. But Rast didn’t fall for it and continued on the track. Edoardo Mortara and Bruno Spengler pitted one lap after, and the Mercedes mechanics sent Mortara out right ahead of Spengler, so there was almost a collision between the two. Although there were only millimetres between the cars, the stewards did nothing about it.
Rast pitted after 13 laps, and the Audi mechanics did a perfect pitstop, followed by Joel Eriksson and Glock.
Wittmann, Eng and Lucas Auer pitted after 17 laps, coming out after Paffett, and thus lost a position.
Green chose to pit with 22 minutes left on the clock, but he was dead last after the run-off earlier in the race.
On lap 22, Wittmann went past Paffett again.
Eng and Di Resta had a duel through several corners, where the two cars were side by side – though Di Resta couldn’t make it past.
Nico Müller, Augusto Farfus and Daniel Juncadella came to the pits after 22 laps.
Wehrlein was the last person to change tires, and he came out in the last position.
With 15 laps, it looked like Paffett would win the championship, even though Rast was leading and Paffett only in third.
Frijns did a great overtaking on Eriksson around the last corner, with nine minutes left.
The Dutchman continued the progress and overtook Eng next, taking him up to P7.
Rene Rast won the sixth DTM race in a row, ahead of Marco Wittmann and Gary Paffett, who then took the DTM championship for the second time in his carrier, after winning it back in 2005.
Rast finished second in the championship, with Paul Di Resta in third after his P14 result.
That was the last race of the 2018 DTM season.
We say goodbye to Mercedes-AMG, who already announced for one and a half years ago that they would pull out of the series. The DTM organization ITR can be happy with the announcement of R-Motorsport starting in DTM in 2019 with Aston Martin cars, that will be built and developed by HWA, who’s also behind the Mercedes programme.
It will be exciting to follow DTM in 2019, with all the new cars and drivers, who will join the series for sure.