DTM’s new turbo formula kicked off in spectacular style as Marco Wittmann mastered the elements to take a commanding victory at Hockenheim.
DTM’s new two-litre, turbo-charged engines provided the drivers with an extra challenge, as they battled to control the torquey power response from the 610hp units in the slippery conditions.
Pole-sitter Wittmann, DTM champion in 2014 and ’16, maintained his lead at the start and defended successfully until the finish, despite coming under intense pressure from René Rast (GER, Audi) who chased the leader after making his way through the field.
Rast was cruelly denied a shot at the lead when he was forced to pull onto the grass with a mechanical problem in the second half of the race. Instead, it was fellow Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller (GER), who inherited second place following Rast’s retirement. Robin Frijns (NED, Audi) finished third, ahead of Timo Glock (GER, BMW), who drove a charging race back into contention after being nudged into a spin at the first corner. Fourth place and fastest lap was his reward for a strong afternoon’s work.
R-Motorsport/Aston Martin brought home its first car in ninth position, Daniel Juncadella (ESP) the first of two cars to finish, following the retirements of Ferdinand von Habsburg (AUT) and Paul Di Resta (GBR), who had qualified a highly impressive third on Saturday morning.
For Wittmann, it was his 12th career win in DTM, echoing the start to his title-winning 2014 season, where he also won the opening race at Hockenheim.
Strong rookies: van der Linde, Dennis and Fittipaldi
DTM’s four rookies Sheldon van der Linde (RSA, BMW), Jake Dennis (GBR, Aston Martin) and Pietro Fittipaldi (BRA, Audi) all showed impressive flashes of speed during a tricky afternoon. For van der Linde and Fittipaldi, sixth and 10th place in their respective debuts saw them score their first-ever DTM championship points. Dennis just missed out on a point-scoring finish when he came home 11th.
Another courageous performance by Jonathan Aberdein (RSA, Audi) went unrewarded. He ran in the top 10 for some time, but lost his chance of scoring points with a tyre strategy that proved too brave for the conditions. The South African was the sole driver to fit slick tyres, but the conditions never turned around sufficiently to reward his bravery.
The second race of the season gets underway on Sunday at 13.30 hrs local time.
Source DTM Media