The fastest pit stops – the harshest penalties
Rain, sunshine, many penalties, overtaking manoeuvres galore and thrilling race action – the DTM season kick-off at the Hockenheimring provided anything the motor-racing enthusiast may hope for, on a DTM weekend. With 108 points on their tally, Audi hold the clear lead in the constructors’ championship, with Mercedes-Benz (58 points) and BMW (38) following in second and third positions. But which driver received the harshest penalty? Who completed the theoretically fastest race lap? And which manufacturer had to cope with the biggest number of retirements? Please read the second part of our selected Hockenheim postscripts to find out.
The drivers who received the harshest penalties of the Hockenheim weekend were Augusto Farfus and Gary Paffett. On both days, the two drivers received grid penalties and the impact was massive. Both the Briton and the Brazilian lost aggregated 25 positions.
Farfus encountered a particularly tough fate in race one. At first, the BMW driver was delighted with having set the third-fastest qualifying time but he already was aware that his team had pushed its luck regarding the amount of fuel. And prior to the race, this move turned out to have been a touch too much. During the final check, the scrutineers found out that the amount of fuel in the tank of the Brazilian’s BMW M4 DTM amounted to less than the stipulated 500g. As ‘reward’, he 31-year old was relegated to the final row of the grid, to position 23. And on Sunday, Farfus who had qualified 11th, received a five-position grid penalty as his team illicitly had opened the boxes with the wet-weather tyres, in the morning. Mercedes-Benz driver Paffett actually had been 14th on the grid for the first race at Hockenheim but short before the race it was announced that his team had offended the Parc Fermé regulations – and Paffett was relegated to the very end of the grid. On Saturday, his penalty was announced clearly earlier but in the end, this didn’t make things any better. Paffett who had been the fastest Mercedes-Benz driver by qualifying eighth once again was relegated to the last row of the grid – to 23rd position. In the qualifying session, his AMG C 63 DTM wasn’t equipped with a component that prevents the use of the DRS.
The same carelessness was made by the team of Audi driver Adrien Tambay. In the Sunday qualifying, the Frenchman set the 10th-fastest lap but had to start into the race from the last position on the grid. Due to the 14 positions lost because of this penalty, Tambay is the third-place driver in this area.
The biggest number of retirements was encountered by Mercedes-Benz. In both races, the manufacturer failed to finish the race with all its cars. Altogether, five Mercedes AMG C 63 DTM vehicles were forced into early retirement, on the Hockenheim weekend. The Euronics/BWT-Team encountered a particularly bitter weekend with only once car making it to the finish line. This car, however, achieved a particularly fine result as Gary Paffett finished third, on Sunday. While his team-mate. Lucas Auer, had to cope with a race to forget. He went off during the formation lap, stranded in the gravel – and his race was over before it even had begun. On Saturday, the Euronics/BWT-Team had to cope with an even bigger dose of bad luck: following a braking mistake, BMW’s Martin Tomczyk pushed both Paffett and Auer out of the race. In the same race, Mercedes-Benz drivers Daniel Juncadella and Robert Wickens also were forced into early retirement. On lap 11, the Spaniard lost it in the ‘Sachskurve’ and went of and for the Briton, the race ended as early as on lap one, following a first-corner jostle.
The number of Audi retirements amounted to a total of three. Timo Scheider also was involved in the first-corner turmoil and had to pit to retire. Miguel Molina was involved in several fierce battles and then, a collision with the AMG C 63 DTM of Maximilian Götz made an early end to his race. On Sunday, Adrien Tambay also failed to make it to the finish line. As early as on lap 13, the Frenchman had to pit on lap 13 for the second time – and retired. On Saturday on lap six, it was Tom Blomqvist’s time to retire and then, on lap 15, Tomczyk made his braking mistake of serious consequences. A mistake he apologised for, after the race.
The biggest comeback of the weekend was achieved by Gary Paffett. Following his relegation to the last row of the Sunday grid, the Briton stunned the crowds with a true tour de force, gained 20 positions and secured the absolutely unexpected third place, just 0.8 seconds behind the Audi RS 5 DTM of the runner-up, Edoardo Mortara. When the rain began to fall at the end of the ninth lap, Paffett proved to be absolutely unstoppable and battled his way up in astounding style.
Over the course of the Hockenheim weekend, BMW driver Timo Glock scored five driver-championship points. A success that came as a kind of surprise, following the qualifying sessions. On Saturday, the former Formula 1 driver was 20th on the grid to finish eight and on Sunday, he qualified 14th to secure 10th place in the race. With these results, the 33-year old gained a total of 16 positions, thus finishing second in these statistics, followed by fellow BMW driver Bruno Spengler. The Canadian gained nine positions over the course of the Hockenheim weekend, with his BMW M4 DTM. On Saturday, Spengler started from 17th position to finish 11th and in the Sunday race, he worked his way up from 12th position on the grid to finish 10th.
The fastest pit stop of the Hockenheim weekend was achieved by Edoardo Mortara. From lap 12 to lap 14 of the Sunday race, nearly the entire field pitted for wets. Mortara was one of the first drivers to come in, his Audi Sport Team Abt pit crew really went for it – and so, the Italian needed just 24.508 seconds from entering the pit lane to rejoining the race action.
Second and third positions in this area were secured by the BMW drivers Marco Wittmann and Augusto Farfus. Wittmann (BMW Team RMG) was back in the race after 24.585 seconds and Farfus (BMW Team RBM) needed 24.741 seconds for his stop.
The theoretically fastest lap of the weekend was achieved by Adrien Tambay.
On his personally fastest lap, the Frenchman crossed the line in 1:34.903 minutes, thus being the fourth-fastest driver of the field. Theoretically, however, with his three fastest split times added up, the Audi driver would have been faster than anybody else. On lap five, Tambay set his fastest split time in the first section. With 20.785 seconds he was the fourth fastest driver, on section one. On lap seven, Tambay set his personal fastest split time in the second section: with 44.428 seconds, he was the sixth-fastest driver, here. And on lap four he achieved his fastest split time in the third section. With 29.206 seconds, he came second behind fellow Audi driver Jamie Green. Theoretically, the Frenchman had completed the 4.574-kilometre Hockenheim lap in 1:34.419 seconds.
The second position in these statistics was clinched by Mercedes-Benz driver Paul Di Resta. His three fastest split times added up to a theoretical lap time of 1:34.432 minutes. In the second section, the Briton even set the fastest split time of all the drivers. Mattias Ekström theoretically could have completed the lap in 1:34.503 minutes – the third best theoretical lap time of the Hockenheim weekend. All these times were set on Saturday, during the race held on the dry track as the Sunday conditions didn’t allow for faster lap times.