Wittman opens new DTM season with first ever victory at Hockenheim

  The DTM (Deutschen Tourenwagen Masters) season opener at Hockenheim saw BMW driver Marco Wittman score his first ever win in his 11th DTM start. Wittman’s victory was also Team RMG BMW’s 1st win and 60th DTM win for the Munich-based squad. Wittman secured the win on Sunday over the two Audi RS 5 DTMs of Mattias Ekstrom and Adrien Tambay. Prior to raceday, Tambay had captured his very first pole position. In all, six BMW M4 DTMs and four Audi RS 5 DTMs finished the race in the points. Mercedes-Benz’s best finisher was Pascal Wehrlein in eleventh, clearly depicting one of the worst season-opening races for the Three-point Star squads. (click, enlarge)

Wittman took control of the race from the third of 42 laps and never looked back. The BMW driver managed to overtake Tambay on lap 3, and thanks to a time penalty imposed on Tambay, Wittman had a smooth sail till the end of the race. There was plenty of action behind the race leader in the early stint with a mix of the Audis and BMWs. The two Audis of Ekstrom and Tambay were going at it for second place five  laps from the end, and Ekstrom’s progress was slowed somewhat as  he overtook Tambay which resulted in a slight collision. Still, his tenacity to go from eighth to second from start to finish was the major highlight of the Hockenheim race. Jamie Green in the RS 5 DTM had to call it quits after 2 laps following a front splitter damage due to a collision with Augusto Farfus’s BMW M4 DTM.

“I am overjoyed. After two difficult years for the RMG team, this victory is very good for everyone. I kept an eye on the drivers behind me in the rear-view mirror all the time and I knew that the drivers with option tyres would be quicker than me towards the end of the race. However, my margin was big enough,” Wittman beamed in post-race.

In his first race with starting n0.1, Reigning Champion Mike Rockenfeller made up from tenth place on the grid to finish fourth; BMW driver Timo Glock came fifth. Rockenfeller, who drove an impressive season-opening race, had achieved a much better start of the new DTM season than in his championship-winning year, last season.

Glock led three other BMW M4 DTMs of Bruno Spengler, Martin Tomczyk and Augusto Farfus in places fifth through to eighth. Then, it was the Audi of Timo Scheider who bumped off Joey Hand for ninth position. Scheider ran third place when he was turned around by DTM rookie António Félix da Costa on lap 34 under yellow flags. This incident, too, caused Scheider to subsequently lose a total of six positions; the last three following a tussle with Farfus on the final lap.

Mercedes drivers, meantime, need to dig deep and analyze everything that happened during the season-opener weekend prior to the second round or risk further non-point finishes in the next races. Wehrlein finished almost 5 seconds up on former DTM champ Gary Paffett, who grabbed 12th.

In the second DTM round at Oschersleben from 16 – 18 May, performance weights will be given according to the new sporting regulations. Following the result of the season opener, Wittmann, Glock, Spengler, Tomczyk, Farfus and Hand all have to take five kilograms on board. Their fellow BMW drivers Maxime Martin and da Costa each get 2.5 kgs extra weight on board. On the other hand, all seven Mercedes-Benz drivers can run the next race with cars that are five kgs lighter.

2014 DTM Round 1 Hockenheim race results

1 Marco Wittmann BMW 1:06:40.548
2 Mattias Ekström Audi +12.869
3 Adrien Tambay Audi +14.879
4 Mike Rockenfeller Audi +17.593
5 Timo Glock BMW +21.780
6 Bruno Spengler BMW +23.513
7 Martin Tomczyk BMW +24.082
8 Augusto Farfus BMW +24.913
9 Timo Scheider Audi +26.138
10 Joey Hand BMW +34.759

Drivers standings
1. Marco Wittmann 25 points
2. Mattias Ekström 18
3. Adrien Tambay 15
4. Mike Rockenfeller 12
5. Timo Glock 10
6. Bruno Spengler 8
7. Martin Tomczyk 6
8. Augusto Farfus 4
9. Timo Scheider 2
10. Joey Hand 1