Robert Wickens racks up first season win
The going gets tougher in the DTM. After a tough battle, Robert Wickens won Sunday’s second race in front of 78,000 spectators at the Nürburgring. The Canadian was the man of the weekend in which the Mercedes-AMG driver scored 42 points. With a new total of 100 points, he is now ninth in the drivers’ standings and can be considered as one of the title candidates again. “I am racing because it is my passion, I am not setting myself any goals at present. Prior to the weekend, I was far away from the front. I like the thought that I am now in a position to fight a bit for the title,” Wickens said after his first win of the season ahead of his fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Paul Di Resta and the pole-sitter, BMW’s Marco Wittmann.
WWittmann now has a total of 115 points and is fourth in the drivers’ standings. “Towards the end of the race, I tangled with Robert. After that, my front tyres were gone. Finishing on the podium is always nice, but when you were on pole position before, you want to win as well. Here, the plan was to make up points. Yesterday, the weather slightly prevented us from executing that plan, but all in all, the weekend was very positive. Spielberg is next, a track that suits me. Now, I am in the mix again, that is nice,” the defending champion said. For Wittmann, it was a race with plenty of variety. At times, he was the hare and at times he was the tortoise. After losing out to Paul Di Resta in the duel after the start, he claimed back the lead on lap 15. Three laps later, right after the pit stop, Wickens made the undercut and went past Wittmann. With five laps to go, the German was also left without means to respond to Di Resta’s attacks.
The secret winner on Sunday, on which the drivers were in a competitive mood on the track and hardly avoided any contact, was Mattias Ekström. The Swede extended his lead in the drivers’ standings to 136 points. From 13th place on the grid, ‘Eki’ moved up to finish sixth. “My race was relatively boring. I was often driving out there on my own. The car was only halfway in one piece. My tyres were cooking. I tried to stay out of all the battles and I wanted to see what I could bring home. Eight points are better than none. These were valuable points, but I didn’t have a good feeling.”
Ekström’s main rival Lucas Auer made a mistake with huge effects in the opening stage of the race. The winner from the previous day spun into the grass on his own on lap six while in third place coming out of the Mercedes Arena. The error cost the second-placed in the drivers’ standings ten positions. The Austrian finished 13th with his Mercedes-AMG and remains at 127 points. “The mistake was entirely mine. I have to apologise to my team, the guys are working so hard. They didn’t deserve this. As stupid as it may sound, but mistakes are part of the job. Until that point, it was a mega strong race, but it is what it is.“
Another driver who didn’t score was René Rast. After 13th place in qualifying, the Audi driver was dropped to the back of the grid due to his third warning of the season. On lap two, Rast lost 15 seconds due to problems during the pit stop and was left without a chance. Eventually, he finished twelfth and the fastest race lap time was his only consolation. With 124 points, Rast is third in the drivers’ standings. Jamie Green (Audi/113), Mike Rockenfeller (Audi/110), Timo Glock (BMW/108) and Maxime Martin (BMW/102) in fifth to eighth place of the drivers’ standings also still have title chances in the remaining four races of the season.