Reigning DTM champion Marco Wittmann has once again accused rival marque Audi and its driver Nico Muller of intentionally trying to sabotage his race.
Wittmann, who drives for BMW, had criticised Audi and Muller earlier this year for what he perceived as “unacceptable” tactics in the Sunday race at Moscow. Accusations that Audi was using the Swiss driver as a 'water carrier' were then also levied after races at Zandvoort and the Nurburgring.
Now the highest-placed of Audi's rivals in the drivers' standings, Wittmann feels he was targeted by the Ingolstadt marque at the Red Bull Ring – as he believes Muller tried to back him up towards his points-leading stablemate Mattias Ekstrom in the second race of this past weekend.
“After he [Muller] overtook me, we were both two seconds slower,” Wittmann told Motorsport.com. “Ekstrom was running behind me. So it was clear what was going on.
“It is what it is and I think everybody saw what happened. Audi had a good pace for sure, they were faster than us. After all, he passed me.
“But ever since he passed me, he blocked me the same way he has done it all year. I can only reiterate, this is on the line of unsportsmanlike behavior.”
Wittmann was particularly incensed because Audi was the team to beat at the Red Bull Ring, locking out the podium in both races in what was the first race weekend since the series agreed to scrap performance weights.
“It was clear to see who had the dominant car here. That's why I think it was not necessary to destroy the race of the others,” he said.
Wittmann went on to finish the race in sixth, shuffled down the order during a late safety car restart.
“At the restart they weren't very fair either. I was the only driver in a sandwich of Audis,” he said.
“In Turn 1 I was pushed out, in Turn 3 even worse. Okay, Ekstrom had to give the position back. But the position I lost to [Mercedes driver Gary] Paffett was not given back to me.
“For that reason I am not in a very good mood of course.”
The reigning champion will head to the Hockenheim season finale as one of six drivers with a mathematical chance of taking the 2017 title, but as he sits 38 points behind Ekstrom, Wittmann acknowledges a successful title defence is unlikely.
“Theoretically it's still possible, but realistically I don't think so.
"I've said it already - the title fight has been distorted some way due to this whole weight decision. Now it seems that there is only one manufacturer left in the title fight.”