With an undispute lights-to-flag victory in his Audi RS 5 DTM, Mike Rockenfeller crowned a successful DTM race weekend at Brands Hatch in the UK. After 98 action-packed laps and 189.042 kilometres, the 29-year old German crossed the finish line as the buoyant winner. Reigning DTM champion Bruno Spengler from Canada followed in second place with his BMW M3 DTM, 7.641 seconds down. Spengler’s compatriot Robert Wickens ended up third after a great recovery in Kent county with his DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. Over the weekend, 21,000 spectators attended the first race of the 2013 DTM outside Germany.
A little bit of luck and a strong performance were the basis for Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller’s first race win of the season. In qualifying for the second DTM round of the year, ’Rocky’ had ended up second, but after the exclusion of erstwhile pole-sitter Martin Tomczyk as his car had been found to be underweight, he had moved up into the best starting grid position. “We have scored 25 points, that is just great. It was a nice race, which I was able to control quite well. My Audi worked perfectly and so were the two pit stops. Of course, going into every season, my goal is to become champion. Let’s see how the year continues,” the winner said after his second career win in the most popular international touring car series.
Bruno Spengler was also happy with his result. “Today, Mike was super fast and did a very good job. Initially, he was faster, and I was faster at the end, but it wasn’t enough to overtake. I am happy with my podium result and the points,” Spengler commented.
Third-placed Robert Wickens could hardly believe his luck after his maiden podium finish. Originally, his fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett had crossed the finish line in third place and was already on his way to the prize-giving ceremony. Because Paffett hadn’t sufficiently reduced his speed when yellow flags were out, he was given a post-race five seconds’ time penalty that made him drop back to sixth place. Wickens was promoted and stepped onto the podium instead of Paffett. “That is like a miracle. Great to taste some champagne again after two years. I had a very good start, during which the new option tyres helped me a great deal. Two good pit stops on top of that, and a little bit of luck at the end - just perfect”, said the 24-year old Canadian, who had started the race from 13th on the grid and shown a remarkable recovery.
With his victory, Mike Rockenfeller moved up into the lead of the drivers’ standings with a new total of 29 points. Spengler follows with 28 points and Augusto Farfus is third with 25 points. The BMW driver from Brazil was in second place for a long time, before he had to park his car due to electrical problems.
The third round of the season takes place at Spielberg in Austria, June 2nd.
Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “Not only this victory is a great reward for the hard work during the winter, but also the dominant way in which Mike Rockenfeller achieved this success. He dominated the race for 98 laps and didn’t make any mistakes. Strategically, his team has done everything right and delivered two perfect pit stops. Congratulations! At Hockenheim, we already saw that the Audi RS 5 DTM has a strong performance. Nice that we were able to turn this into a victory today and end BMW’s winning streak.”
Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director: “Today, Audi has shown a strong performance. We can simply be happy. Bruno has driven a great race and we had three cars in the top ten. Unfortunately, Augusto had a problem while on podium course. In his second race, Marco Wittmann has finished fourth, Joey Hand confirmed his good performance.”
Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “For us, Sunday was clearly better than Saturday. For us, the result is very good. We are very happy to have brought four cars into the top ten. Robert, Christian and Gary have driven fantastic races, but we also had a bit of luck. Today, the racing god was on our side. A podium with all three brands, that is the way it should be.”