Mattias Ekström ended up ahead of already-crowned DTM champion Marco Wittmann.
Zandvoort – Swede Mattias Ekström was victorious in the ninth season round of the DTM at Zandvoort in The Netherlands and thus secured the first victory for Audi this season. In a thrilling closing stage of the race, the 36-year-old worked his way up through the field in an impressive way and claimed the lead. The two times’ champion finished ahead of the newly-crowned champion Marco Wittmann and Martin Tomczyk (both BMW), who were second and third respectively.
“In the DTM, racing is always extremely hard and today was no exception. After all the bad luck of the past months, now, things were running perfectly for us at last. I enjoyed every lap of this race,” said a delighted Ekström after scoring his fourth DTM career win at Zandvoort.
Of course, we are happy that we have finally scored our first victory of the season.
Marco Wittmann, who claimed the championship title in the Lausitzring round, was in contention for victory for a long time. Having started from second place, the German already took the lead in the first corner. Eventually, however, he didn’t have a chance against Ekström, who got maximum benefit from his soft option tyres in the closing stages of the race.
“This wasn’t an easy race for us as there were plenty of incidents. Initially, I had a perfect start, but our option tyres degraded more quickly than we had expected. In spite of the chaos on the track, my team always made the right decisions and called me into the pits at the right time,” Wittmann said after the race. Martin Tomczyk was also delighted after his first podium finish since August, 2012.
Mercedes-Benz driver Christian Vietoris was involved in a battle for fourth with Edoardo Mortara until the end of the race, but didn’t find a way past the Audi driver. The 25-year-old was the only driver in the field to race the updated version of the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé.
“Fifth place is a very good result. At the end, I even had the chance to challenge for a podium finish. Many thanks to my team for preparing my new car in the past week,” the German commented.
With his BMW M4 DTM, Maxime Martin finished sixth and thus contributed to the early title win for the BMW Team RMG in the teams’ standings. After winning the drivers’ title with Marco Wittmann, this is already the second title for Stefan Reinhold’s team. The battle for runner-up spot in the drivers’ standings remains thrilling. Thanks to his first win of the season, Mattias Ekström has moved up to second place in the points’ standings. Prior to the final round, the Swede has 81 points. Christian Vietoris and Edoardo Mortara (Audi RS 5 DTM) are only a few points behind. In the battle for the manufacturers’ title, everything is also still open between BMW and Audi.
Several accidents and crashes made their mark on the ninth season round of the DTM at Circuit Park Zandvoort. Augusto Farfus had a big moment after a collision with Daniel Juncadella on lap 19 and landed in the gravel trap. “That was a big crash, but I am fine,” the BMW driver from Brazil said. In total, the safety car was deployed four times during the race.
Traditionally, the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg will be the venue for the season finale, October 19.
Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “Of course, we are happy that we have finally scored our first victory of the season. This year, we had the possibility so often, but we always had something getting in the way. Today, we had to fear for a long time as well. But Mattias (Ekström) had the right strategy for this crazy race and eventually was extremely strong with the option tyres. Edo Mortara’s progress from last on the grid to finish fourth was also fantastic.”
Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director: “We can be very happy with second and third place. Congratulations to Stefan Reinhold and the entire BMW Team RMG crew for winning the teams’ title – they really have deserved this success. Now, the manufacturers’ title is still at stake. At Hockenheim, we will be doing our utmost once again to win this one as well. Today, we have done everything right in the decisive stages of the race. I am also very happy with Martin Tomczyk’s third place.”
Wolfgang Schattling, head of DTM Management, Mercedes-Benz: “We knew from the very beginning that this weekend wouldn’t be an easy one for us. In the race, Christian Vietoris has shown a great performance and finished a strong fifth. Having four cars in the top ten is good, but doesn’t satisfy us.”
Race at a glance
|13:31 hrs||Glock can't get away for his formation lap. He has to start from the back of the grid.|
|Start||Wittmann and Rockenfeller alongside each other on the way to the first corner. Wittmann gets through.|
|Lap 1||Tomczyk overtakes Green and is fourth. Glock charges past Petrov and Juncadella. Petrov tries to defend his position.|
|Lap 2||Wittmann has a margin of 1.4 seconds from Rockenfeller, Müller is third from Tomczyk, Green, Wehrlein, Hand, Paffett, Tambay and Di Resta.|
|Lap 4||DRS has now been enabled.|
|Lap 5||Wittmann's margin has been reduced to 1.0 seconds from Rockenfeller. Tambay has crashed, the safety car has been deployed. Juncadella comes into the pits at the end of the lap, makes a tyre change that doesn't count as his first mandatory stop, because these can only be made from lap 15 onwards.|
|Lap 6||Vitaly Petrov comes into the pits.|
|Lap 7||The safety car will come back in at the end of this lap.|
|Lap 8||Restart. Wittmann charges away and pulls a gap from Rockenfeller. Mortara has worked his way up from the back of the grid to twelfth.|
|Lap 9||Hand almost off the track. He drops back to 12th.|
|Lap 10||Collision Félix da Costa and Di Resta in the battle for ninth place. The collision is under investigation by the stewards.|
|Lap 11||DRS enabled again. Battle between Glock and Vietoris for 15th place.|
|Lap 12||Rockenfeller is closing up to race leader Wittmann.|
|Lap 14||Wittmann locks up under braking for Tarzan, Rockenfeller is right behind him. No further action after the collision between Félix da Costa and Di Resta.|
|Lap 15||Rockenfeller keeps the pressure on Wittmann, Müller is closing up as well. Hand into the pits, he is the first to make his mandatory stop.|
|Lap 16||Green overtakes Tomczyk for fourth under braking for Tarzan. Di Resta comes into the pits, retires.|
|Lap 17||Rockenfeller overtakes Wittmann coming out of Tarzan. Wittmann comes into the pits. Tomczyk, Paffett also into the pits.|
|Lap 18||Wittmann overtakes Vietoris for 15th. Farfus crashes in the S-Corner after being hit by Juncadella. Wehrlein, Mortara into the pits. Safety car deployed.|
|Lap 19||Rockenfeller is in the lead from Müller, Green, Scheider, Félix da Costa, Ekström, Molina, Glock and Wittmann. The incident between Juncadella and Farfus is under investigation.|
|Lap 21||Safety car in at the end of this lap.|
|Lap 22||Restart. Rockenfeller successfully defends his lead. The pit stop window has been extended to lap 34 because of the safety car intervention. Green overtakes Müller and is now second. Scheider also past Müller.|
|Lap 23||Wittmann overtakes Glock under braking for Tarzan and takes eighth place. Müller, Félix da Costa, Ekström, Spengler, Vietoris, Martin into the pits.|
|Lap 24||Wittmann overtakes Molina for fourth. Green, Molina, Wickens into the pits.|
|Lap 25||DRS is enabled again. Scheider, Glock, Juncadella into the pits.|
|Lap 26||Nico Müller crashes coming out of Gerlach corner after contact with Vietoris. Safety car is deployed again. The incident between Vietoris and Müller is under investigation.|
|Lap 30||The safety car will come in at the end of this lap.|
|Lap 31||Restart. Rockenfeller is leading from Wittmann, Tomczyk, Mortara, Paffett, Wehrlein, Hand, Petrov and Ekström. Ekström overtakes Petrov for eighth. No further action following the incident between Vietoris and Müller.|
|Lap 32||Molina has crashed. Pit stop window has been extended to lap 35.|
|Lap 32||Rockenfeller and Petrov into the pits, they are the two last ones to make their mandatory pit stop.|
|Lap 33||Several drivers are under investigation for inaccurate DRS activation. Ekström and Wittmann tangle for first place, Ekström gets past and takes the lead.|
|Lap 34||DRS enabled again. Ekström is leading from Wittmann, Tomczyk, Mortara, Wehrlein, Paffett, Green, Vietoris, Martin and Scheider.|
|Lap 35||Vietoris overtakers Paffett for sixth. Paffett crashes out at Scheivlak. Saferty car deployed again.|
|Lap 36||The race will be run to maximum time, still 11 minutes left. The incident between Glock and Molina is under investigation.|
|Lap 37||Safety car in at the end of this lap.|
|Lap 38||Restart. Ekström remains in the lead from Wittmann, Tomczyk, Mortara, Wehrlein, Vietoris. Vietoris overtakes Wehrlein for fifth place.|
|Lap 39||Ekström is leading from Wittmann, Tomczyk, Mortara, Vietoris. Spengler hits Green, who spins, but is able to continue. Green drops back to 18th.|
|Lap 41||DRS enabled again. Vietoris keeps the pressure on Mortara for fourth. Martin, also with soft gyres, is right behind Vietoris.|
|Lap 42||Wehrlein overtakes Martin for sixth. Spengler gets a drive through for causing the collision with Green.|
|Lap 43||Final lap.|
|Finish||Mattias Ekström scores his 18th DTM race win and his fourth at Zandvoort. Wittmann comes second from Tomczyk, Mortara, Vietoris. Martin charges his way past Wehrlein and comes sixth. Wehrlein, Spengler, Juncadella and Wickens round out the top ten. Rockenfeller comes into the pits at the end of the lap.|