Mortara and Wittmann the big winners
Timo Glock and Gary Paffett aren’t the season dominators any more. The gaps between the drivers at the top of the standings diminished and the former two-way battle was turned into a five-way fight. Following the race meeting at the Norisring, Marco Wittmann, Edoardo Mortara and Paul Di Resta joined the former dominators, Glock and Paffett, as potential title winners, with BMW’s Wittmann and Mercedes-AMG driver Mortara turning out to have been the biggest winner of the Norisring weekend.
Local hero Wittmann has been racing in DTM since 2013. Prior to last weekend, the man who was born in Fürth secured two fourth places, one fifth and two sixth at the only street circuit on the DTM calendar. However, he never made it to the podium, in his home race. But on this weekend – that should be memorable for him – everything changed. The third place on Saturday, his first Norisring podium, was followed by the triumph on Sunday. Wittmann scored a total of 41 points in Nuremberg and only three drivers – Mortara (Norisring, 46), Glock (Hockenheim, 44) and Paffett (Hockenheim, 43) succeeded in adding more than 40 points to their tallies in one race meeting, in the season to date. With 92 points, the two-time DTM Champion now holds third position in the championship. In the run-up to the fifth race weekend of the championship, held at the Dutch North Sea coast, he will relax for a week in Croatia. “Zandvoort is one of my favourite circuits and one of those were I have been particularly successful. I secured several poles and race wins, there, and look forward to returning to this circuit. And my home win will represent an extra boost for the Zandvoort weekend,” says Wittmann who now is tied for points with Timo Glock.
Glock would love to cone off the Norisring
Glock was far less happy than his fellow BMW drivers. Two 10th places meant just two meagre points for the previous championship leader. “I never found a rhythm as I use to do at other circuits,” he admitted. “Somehow, this weekend was just weird. We don’t test here, so how should I learn to improve. But I could phone Nuremberg and ask them if they cone the circuit off, for me. If they did I had to follow Marco Wittmann to learn something. But Marco was far away,” Glock added, thus proving that he was a good sport about the situation. At the end of the day, he wasn’t surprised that another three drivers are following in his slipstream. Not to forget championship leader Gary Paffett (99 points). “I expected such a situation,” reveals Glock. “Some day there is a weekend when two or three drivers get into problems and then, the others close the gap. I knew that this was going to happen.”
Glock expects the fight between the two manufacturers BMW and Mercedes-AMG to also be extremely close in the coming weeks. “Zandvoort always suited us well and Spielberg also was okay although the long straights represent an advantage for Mercedes. Altogether it will be well-balanced, with slight advantages for Mercedes. But the opportunity to each time secure five or six positions at the front end of the field gives them a good tactical position for the races.”
Mortara does without contesting the Formula E season finale
With impressive 46 points of the maximum of 56, Edoardo leaped to second position in the championship. With 93 points, he follows just six points behind his fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Paffett. “The 2017 season proved to be extremely difficult for me but we learned from our mistakes and the car is far more competitive, now. I’m really delighted after this mega weekend. On Saturday I secured the pole and won the race and on Sunday I finished second. I’m virtually over the moon as this weekend wasn’t easy. But when you score so many points you may be really happy as this doesn’t happen too often in DTM,” says the Swiss-Italian who now is going to do without contesting the Formula E season finale in New York to race at Zandvoort, instead. “DTM represents my top priority compared to Formula E. I’m not sad as my prospects in DTM are far better.”
Although the six Audi drivers scored just 23 points more than Paffett alone and the best Audi driver, Mike Rockenfeller (34 points), holds 10th position in the championship, Mortara isn’t ready to write the Ingolstadters off completely. “You should never underestimate Audi. I know them very well as I raced for them for several years. I know how competitive they can be. They have got problems, this year, but I am convinced that they will find better setup solutions at a certain point in time, thus allowing the drivers to race with increased confidence. I expect that they also will be able to battle it out for the top positions, then. On the other hand I don’t know if this will be enough to become a factor in the fight for the title. But the season still is long.”
Di Resta scores consistently week by week
The fifth driver in a promising position is Paul Di Resta. The 32-year old Scotsman has got just 12 points less on his tally than fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Paffett. In the 2018 season he impresses with his consistency. Eight points at Hockenheim were rather meagre but in Lausitzring and at the Norisring he scored 20 points each. His season highlight to date was the Hungaroring where he added 39 points to his tally and won the Saturday round. Di Resta is the only one of the 18 drivers on the DTM grid who scored in every single race. “I’m no Norisring fan and therefore, it’s good that our championship chances still are alive. Now I’m looking forward to return to permanent circuits that should suit me somewhat better. All in all it was a solid but not outstanding weekend for me. In motor racing, scoring points in every single race occasionally can be crucial. Doing so can make for the difference and that’s exactly what we achieved in the season so far,” said Di Resta.