The season opener for the German Touring Cars (DTM) at Hockenheim went to Marco Wittman and BMW.
Hockenheim. Marco Wittmann scored the maiden victory of his DTM career in the season opener at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. It was also the first win for the BMW Team RMG and a perfect debut for the new BMW M4 DTM. The 24-year old German driver already took the lead soon after the start on the third of 42 laps and didn’t lose it anymore until the finish.
“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,” the BMW driver commented after his first victory in the eleventh DTM race of his career. In total, 75,000 spectators attended the opening weekend of the 2014 DTM season.
Two Audi drivers joined Wittmann on the winner’s podium. Mattias Ekström finished second, 12.869 seconds down. Adrien Tambay, who had started from pole position for the first time in his DTM career, crossed the finish line in third place. In eleventh postion, Pascal Wehrlein was the best-placed driver of a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé.
“The race was fun. I was able to battle my way up more and more. My tyres were perfect. In the battle for second place, I tangled with Adrien Tambay, but that was nothing serious,” Ekström said. Tambay was also happy with second place. “I reckon that this was a good start,” the Frenchman said and added: “Starting with the option tyres was the safe choice, even though it got really tough for me towards the end.” In his first race with starting number 1, defending champion Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) made up from tenth place on the grid to finish fourth; BMW driver Timo Glock came fifth.
Pascal Wehrlein started searching for problems right after the opening race. “Summing this weekend up in words isn’t easy. It was clear for everyone to see that it was quite difficult for us as Mercedes-Benz drivers. It is too bad that we didn’t score any points. Now, we have to analyse everything to be able to improve in the next races,” Wehrlein said.
Nico Müller (Audi) was the best-placed of the four new drivers in 16th place. Mercedes-Benz driver Vitaly Petrov finished 17th in the Hockenheim season opener. António Félix da Costa and Maxime Martin (both BMW) retired and were classified in 20th and 22nd place. Until his retirement, Félix da Costa had shown an impressive performance and ran as high up as third at a certain point. Locking up under braking and then colliding with Timo Scheider (Audi) prevented him from scoring a good result and forced him to retire.
In the second DTM round at Oschersleben (16 till 18 May), performance weights will be given according to the new sporting regulations. Following the result of the season opener, BMW driver Marco Wittmann, Timo Glock, Bruno Spengler, Martin Tomczyk, Augusto Farfus and Joey Hand all have to take five kilograms on board. Their fellow BMW drivers Maxime Martin and António Félix da Costa (BMW) each get 2.5 kilograms extra weight on board. On the other hand, all seven Mercedes-Benz drivers can run the next race with cars that are five kilograms lighter.
Jens Marquardt, Motorsport Director, BMW: “A fantastic result and a great debut for the new BMW M4 DTM. Marco Wittmann has shown an impressive performance and scored a deserved maiden victory in the DTM. This is only his second year in this series, so this success is all the more impressive. Six of our cars in the top ten, that is brilliant.”
Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “It was a good race for Audi. The fact that we got three cars into the top four, and with different strategies on top of that, speaks for our new RS 5 DTM. Victory was within reach, too, but Marco Wittmann was extremely strong this weekend. Congratulations to him, but above all to our guys. We all have tough weeks behind us. We can build on this result and we are already looking forward to Oschersleben.”
Wolfgang Schattling, head of DTM management, Mercedes-Benz: “Our performance level was by no means where it should be. It just wasn’t right. We have to get back to work so that we can show a better performance in the next races.”
The race in detail
Start Tambay is leading from Spengler, Wittmann and Félix da Costa who runs wide at the first corner.
Lap 1 Wittmann overtakes Spengler coming out of turn 1 and is now second. Green runs wide at the hairpin. Green's car is damaged at the front left side. Scheider collides with Mortara in the battle for sixth and gets past.
Lap 2 Tambay is leading from Wittmann, Spengler, Da Costa, Glock, Scheider, Mortara, Ekström, Rockenfeller and Tomczyk. Glock overtakes Spengler for fourth. Green into the pits - retires.
Lap 3 Wittmann overtakes Tambay under braking for the hairpin and takes the lead. Tambay tries to counter, but to no avail.
Lap 4 Wickens attacks Hand in the battle for 14th and gets past. Vietoris passes Hand as well.
Lap 5 Battle between Scheider and Glock for fourth place, Glock defends his position.
Lap 6 The battle between Scheider and Glock continues.
Lap 7 Wickens overtakes Tomczyk for tenth. Scheider overtakes Glock and is now fourth.
Lap 8 Wickens overtakes Rockenfeller and is now ninth.
Lap 9 Wickens attacks Spengler and gets past in the battle for eighth. Vietoris overtakes Tomczyk and is now eleventh.
Lap 10 Vietoris overtakes Rockenfeller for tenth.
Lap 11 Wickens overtakes Ekström under braking for the hairpin and is now seventh.
Lap 12 Wittmann is leading from Tambay, Da Costa, Scheider, Glock, Mortara, Wickens, Ekström, Vietoris and Spengler.
Lap 12 Petrov overtakes Juncadella and is now 21st.
Lap 13 Rockenfeller overtakes Spengler for tenth.
Lap 14 Pit window now open until lap 28.
Lap 15 Wickens overtakes Mortara and is now sixth. Hand overtakes Paffett for 15th. Scheider attacks Da Costa for third, but can't get past.
Lap 17 Scheider keeps the pressure on Da Costa.
Lap 19 Scheider finally overtakes Da Costa under braking for the hairpin and gets past. Da Costa counters, but Scheider remains in front. Glock is the first to come in for a pit stop.
Lap 20 Wittmann, Tambay, Scheider, Da Costa, Wickens, Vietoris into the pits.
Lap 21 Paffett, Wehrlein, Petrov into the pits.
Lap 22 Mortara, Ekström, Rockenfeller, Spengler, Farfus, Di Resta, Martin, Müller and Juncadella into the pits.
Lap 23 Martin almost collides with Juncadella when leaving his pit stand and then loses the left front wheel of his car after the stop.
Lap 23 Martin almost collides with Juncadela when leaving his pit stand and then loses the left front wheel of his car after the stop.
Lap 23 Martin almost collides with Juncadella when leaving his pit stand and then loses the left front wheel of his car after the stop. Tomczyk, Hand, Molina into the pits.
Lap 24 Martin is given a drive-through penalty because of an unsafe release and comes in at the end of the lap.
Lap 25 Order after the pit stops: Wittmann is leading from Tambay, Scheider, Glock, Da Costa, Mortara, Ekström, Vietoris, Wickens and Rockenfeller. Hand overtakes Paffett and is 14th.
Lap 26 Da Costa overtakes Glock under braking for the hairpin and is now fourth.
Lap 27 Rockenfeller and Spengler overtake Wickens, who drops back from ninth to eleventh.
Lap 28 Farfus and Tomczyk overtake Wickens.
Lap 29 Spengler overtakes Vietoris and is now ninth, then Vietoris loses two more places to Farfus and Vietoris.
Lap 32 Puncture left rear tyre for Edoardo Mortara under braking for the hairpin.
Lap 33 With ten laps remaining, Wittmann is leading from Tambay, Scheider, Da Costa, Glock, Ekström, Rockenfeller, Spengler, Farfus and Tomczyk.
Lap 34 Scheider and Da Costa collide in the hairpin, Scheider spins, but continues. Da Costa into the pits for a tyre change, he is also under investigation because of the collision.
Lap 35 Farfus overtakes Spengler for seventh, Ekström overtakes Glock and is now third. Drive through penalty for Da Costa, comes in at the end of the lap.
Lap 38 Ekström overtakes Tambay for second from the slipstream coming out of the final corner. Da Costa into the pits and retires.
Lap 40 Rockenfeller attacks Glock for fourth and gets past under braking for the hairpin.
Lap 42 Final lap. Farfus attacks Scheider for sixth, the two collide. Spengler and Tomczyk get past. Wittmann wins from Ekström, Tambay, Rockenfeller, Glock, Spengler, Tomczyk, Farfus, Scheider and Hand.