Hockenheim DTM: Mortara dominates, but Wittmann takes title
A spectacular charge to victory from Audi's Edoardo Mortara was not enough to deny BMW's Marco Wittmann his second DTM drivers' title.
Wittmann, champion in his sophomore campaign in the series back in 2014, needed to finish fifth to ensure he would repeat in 2016 and duly brought the car home in fourth to get the job done.
The German became the DTM's first repeat champion since the retiring Timo Scheider, who had doubled up with Audi back in 2009.
Mortara's chances of overhauling WIttmann for the championship took a hit in qualifying, the Audi driver struggling with a technical issue for much of the session and only recovering to line up sixth, one spot behind his rival.
From there, the Italian needed to finish first or second to have any chance at the title at all - and, less than six laps after the start, Mortara was already at the helm of the race.
Poleman Antonio Felix da Costa had led the way off the line his final DTM race, with Gary Paffett of Mercedes maintaining second.
Wittmann was off to a solid start and got up to fourth, while Mortara slumped from sixth to seventh - but the Italian floored the throttle on the outside line into Turn 2 and emerged from the corner right behind Wittmann.
The championship leader was soon waved through by BMW stablemate Tom Blomqvist, but Mortara forced his way past the Anglo-Swede a lap later.
Out front, Paffett was all over da Costa, hassling the Portuguese driver from Turn 10 to Sachs on lap two and then going side-by-side out of the hairpin on lap three, da Costa just hanging on to the lead.
Their battle allowed both Wittmann and Mortara to catch right up before Paffett punted da Costa out of the way at the Mercedes corner on lap four, with Wittmann clashing with the Briton on exit.
Despite that, the championship leader kept second, which soon turned into the lead when Paffett was assessed a drive-through.
But a lap after, Mortara pulled a switchback move on Wittmann in the hairpin, getting a better exit and moving ahead on approach to Turn 7. In the next 15 laps, the Italian would escape into the distance, establishing a seven-second lead over his rival.
On lap 23, Mortara and Wittmann made their mandatory stops, and the Italian was held in the pits after his tyre change was finished as Wittmann arrived into his box.
Despite that, Mortara maintained the lead even after pitting, whereas Wittmann slipped behind Christian Vietoris, Blomqvist and Paul di Resta, all of whom had stopped earlier.
Running right behind di Resta, Wittmann found himself in fifth - a position just good enough to give him the title - as the field completed their mandatory stops. Soon, Blomqvist ran wide at the hairpin and was passed by di Resta, with the Anglo-Swede then allowing Wittmann through for fourth.
Out front, Mortara saw out the race distance to win by three seconds over Vietoris, the Mercedes driver making the most of his early-stop strategy.
Di Resta, running on older tyres than Wittmann, completed the podium, as the German settled for fourth, preferring not to risk his title.
He was followed home by BMW trio Timo Glock, Maxime Martin and Blomqvist, with Jamie Green, Robert Wickens and Martin Tomczyk making up the points.
Tomczyk's fellow DTM retirees - Scheider and Felix da Costa - endured disappointing ends to their careers in the series.
Scheider tapped Augusto Farfus into a spin early on, his race undone by a subsequent drive-through penalty, while da Costa, running well down the order after the Paffett collision, lost a wheel after his mandatory stop.
The teams' championship went to Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, with the Ingolstadt marque also securing the manufacturers' crown.
|1||48||Edoardo Mortara||Audi RS5 DTM||39||1:02'52.131|
|2||8||Christian Vietoris||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||39||1:02'55.171||3.040|
|3||3||Paul di Resta||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||39||1:02'56.425||4.294|
|4||11||Marco Wittmann||BMW M4 DTM||39||1:02'57.161||5.030|
|5||16||Timo Glock||BMW M4 DTM||39||1:02'58.234||6.103|
|6||36||Maxime Martin||BMW M4 DTM||39||1:03'01.078||8.947|
|7||31||Tom Blomqvist||BMW M4 DTM||39||1:03'05.988||13.857|
|8||53||Jamie Green||Audi RS5 DTM||39||1:03'07.185||15.054|
|9||6||Robert Wickens||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||39||1:03'08.143||16.012|
|10||100||Martin Tomczyk||BMW M4 DTM||39||1:03'13.444||21.313|
|11||99||Mike Rockenfeller||Audi RS5 DTM||39||1:03'13.634||21.503|
|12||7||Bruno Spengler||BMW M4 DTM||39||1:03'14.361||22.230|
|13||51||Nico Müller||Audi RS5 DTM||39||1:03'17.093||24.962|
|14||17||Miguel Molina||Audi RS5 DTM||39||1:03'18.110||25.979|
|15||2||Gary Paffett||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||39||1:03'20.068||27.937|
|16||22||Lucas Auer||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||39||1:03'21.429||29.298|
|17||72||René Rast||Audi RS5 DTM||39||1:03'28.661||36.530|
|18||10||Timo Scheider||Audi RS5 DTM||39||1:03'31.243||39.112|
|19||84||Maximilian Götz||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||39||1:03'48.103||55.972|
|Ret||12||Daniel Juncadella||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||33||53'55.482||6 laps|
|Ret||88||Felix Rosenqvist||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||32||52'09.132||7 laps|
|Ret||18||Augusto Farfus||BMW M4 DTM||29||47'59.892||10 laps|
|Ret||13||Antonio Felix da Costa||BMW M4 DTM||21||34'23.890||18 laps|
|Ret||27||Adrien Tambay||Audi RS5 DTM||15||25'12.574||24 laps|
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Mortara: "Hard feelings" remain over Zandvoort penalty