Mattias Ekstrom admits he will be relying on Pascal Wehrlein suffering a disastrous weekend at Hockenheim if he is to have any chance of beating the German to the DTM title.
Following two difficult weekends for the two-time DTM champion at the Nurburgring and Hockenheim in which he scored only a single point, Ekstrom heads to Hockenheim 38 points adrift of Wehrlein in the drivers’ standings.
It means only a double victory or a win and a second would keep Ekstrom in contention for a third DTM crown, and the Swede is no under illusions as to the scale of the task ahead.
“Under my own power, I won’t be able to become champion anymore this time because two victories alone won’t be enough for me,” said Ekstrom.
“Our opponent [Wehrlein] will no doubt have to be struck by two bad days. But it doesn’t take much to score zero points twice in the DTM.
“I know this from past experience and it can easily happen to others too.”
DTM points standings:
|1||Pascal Wehrlein||HWA Team/Mercedes||165 (2 wins)|
|2||Edoardo Mortara||Team Abt Sportsline/Audi||128 (1 win)|
|3||Mattias Ekstrom||Team Abt Sportsline/Audi||127 (2 wins)|
|4||Bruno Spengler||Team MTEK/BMW||119|
|5||Jamie Green||Team Rosberg/Audi||107 (3 wins)|
Ekstrom’s fellow Audi driver Edoardo Mortara is one point ahead in the championship, 37 behind Wehrlein, and the Italian has vowed to keep fighting until the end even though he concedes overhauling Wehrlein will be “virtually impossible.”
“The big is gap and the chances are getting smaller and smaller,” said Mortara, whose title aspirations will be dashed if Wehrlein finishes on the podium in the first race.
“Unfortunately, we had a minor problem in the Sunday qualifying session at the Nurburgring that prevented us from securing a better result in the race.
“So, realistically you have to say, yes, that stealing his lead is virtually impossible. On the other hand, I am a fighter.
“And as long there is a chance – and should it be tinier than tiny – I will keep on fighting and giving my very best.”