Which of the top drivers will prevail in the battle for the title, this year?
Nürburg – The Nürburgring is one of the classics on the DTM calendar and provided the motor-racing enthusiasts numerous thrilling and weird races, in the past. This year, the race at the Nürburgring could represent the first hint regarding the question, which of the top drivers will prevail in the battle for the title, this year.
There still are four races to be contested but the fight for the title already has evolved into a classic old-vs-young duel. 24-year old Marco Wittmann who is contesting his only second DTM season versus the extremely experienced Mattias Ekström – with his age of 36 years the oldest driver on the grid. Nonetheless, none of the two accepts to be called the favourite.
Yes, we’ve got a nice lead but there still are four races to be contested
Those who want to witness the battle of the motor-racing aces live on site still can purchase tickets at the box offices. Also live but at home in your living room: the live coverage of DTM’s German TV partner ARD, beginning on Saturday at 13:30hrs CEST (12:30hrs BST) and on Sunday at 13:15hrs CEST.
Wittmann holds a 39-point lead over his toughest rival but due to bad experiences, he opts for keeping a low profile. “Yes, we’ve got a nice lead but there still are four races to be contested,” says the BMW driver. “And in my past, I lost the battle for several other titles in the very last second.” Therefore, Wittmann prefers to think just from race to race. But a win in this weekend’s race would be something special, nevertheless – particularly for his team. After all, RMG is based in Niederzissen, not far from the Nürburgring.
Meanwhile, Ekström already begins to calculate, due to his 39-point deficit. “Theoretically, I have to score 10 points more than him per weekend but the race winner doesn’t score 10 points more than the runner-up,” says the Swede to underline that winning the title without good results of his fellow Audi drivers will be virtually impossible. Even more so as Audi hasn’t secured a single race win in the season to date. “I don’t think a lot about the battle for the title,” adds Ekström. ”It is far more important to achieve the right pace as that’s what we lacked in the past weeks. Should we succeed in doing so, everything will be possible.”
Memories of the Eifel circuit
Neither Robert Wickens nor one of his fellow Mercedes-Benz drivers have a chance of winning the 2014 DTM title but the Canadian has fond memories of the Eifel circuit. Last year, he celebrated his maiden DTM win at the Nürburgring. It began to rain right at the start of the race, in 2013 – perfect conditions for Wickens and he made the best possible use of the situation by winning the race. This year, Wickens once again hopes for the unpredictability of the DTM races. “I already had to learn that it may be easy to make it to the very top on one weekend and on the next, you’re out in Q 1.”
And indeed, the changeable Eifel weather conditions have caused numerous surprises on Nürburgring race weekends, in the past. Nonetheless, the tradition-rich circuit is regarded by many as one of the season highlights. After all, BMW-Team RGM isn’t the only DTM competitor that is based in the Eifel. The Audi Team Phoenix headquarters, for instance, are located in Meuspath, with the Nürburgring just around the corner, and its two drivers also grew up in the region. Reigning DTM Champion Mike Rockenfeller was raised in Neuwied, his team-mate, Timo Scheider, in Lahnstein near Koblenz – and Mercedes-Benz driver Christian Vietoris was born in Gönnersdorf. For each of them, racing in the Eifel represents an additional motivation for deliver in particularly good style – and the fans benefit from this situation!