Yoga course, lollipop and a bigger rear-view mirror
The 2017 DTM season made history in many areas. It featured beaming winners and terrific races, with René Rast making for a motor-racing fairy tale. At the same time, we also witnessed incidents and accidents. We chose several special scenes of the past season and in a not really serious poll among the drivers we wanted to know: What would you give your DTM rival as Christmas gift – be it as apology or compensation.
A scene that made for a particular lot of discussions was caused by Timo Glock at Zandvoort. In the Sunday qualifying, the BMW driver was of the opinion that he was hampered at first by Loïc Duval and then by Edoardo Mortara while being on the way to securing the pole. Afterwards, Glock brake-tested Mercedes-AMG driver Mortara in several corners – and received a massive grid penalty, taking him from 5th to the very end of the field. In addition, he insulted Mortara via the pit radio and as he was ‘on a roll’ he also gave the mechanics in Mercedes-AMG garages the finger. On the following day, however, Glock was somewhat unhappy about his appearance. He twice had been misinformed about the situation by his team. ”Difficult as it wasn’t his mistake, with hindsight,” said Glock, the rueful sinner when asked what he would give Mortara. But then he comes up with a smart idea. “A bigger rear-view mirror.”
Lucas Auer was forced into retirement just in his home race. At the end of lap 31, the Mercedes-AMG driver had to pull in with a damaged rear. Through no fault of his own he was pushed off the track by Bruno Spengler. An incident that cost ‘Luggi’ who had finished eighth on Saturday valuable championship points. The conscience-stricken Canadian even could imagine spending a convivial evening with his opponent. “I would give him a bottle of Whisky for having a nice evening. I already talked with him about our close encounter at Spielberg and apologised. It was a racing incident. The overtaking manoeuvre wasn’t about him but about the car of Paul Di Resta. Lucas happened to be in the corner and it was just a mishap that I hit him. I even would drink with him although I usually don’t drink whisky. So I possibly would opt for another drink,” says the BMW driver.
The seasons of the two rookies couldn’t have differed more: while René Rast surprised the paddock, pundits and fans in equal measure by winning the title in his debut season, his fellow Audi driver Loïc Duval cam 18th and last in the championship. “I would give him a yoga course for Christmas,” says Rast. “This would allow him to start into the new season in a relaxed mood to really go for it.”
Meanwhile, Mattias Ekström and Marco Wittmann had a dispute following the Sunday race of the Norisring meeting. In the race the two had two close encounters and both times the BMW driver complained about Ekström not having left enough room for his overtaking efforts. Then, in the final corner of the race, he pushed the Swede who consequently lost his apparently safe podium in a thrilling finish to Edoardo Mortara. Right afterwards, the emotions came to the boil. “I’ve got the impression that he believes to be the king who believes that he may do whatever he likes,” Wittmann ranted. And the Swede replied: “Sometimes I think that I should stop entertaining the people.” In the meantime, everything is has been forgiven and forgotten. Nonetheless, the mischievous Swede can’t do without a small side blow: “I would give Marco a lollipop for Christmas as lollipops make happy.”
“I would give Marco a lollipop for Christmas as lollipops make happy.””Mattias Ekström
Up to his two Spielberg podiums Nico Müller encountered a difficult season. The Swiss again and again was accused to decelerate the field as support for his fellow Audi drivers and in particular Mattias Ekström. Following an incident at the Nürburgring, Timo Glock even called Müller a brake shoe. Therefore, the Swede has come up with an idea for him: “I’d give Nico an anti-virus programme that will protect him against mean attacks.”
Gary Paffett and Mike Rockenfeller were involved in the worst accident of the season. On lap 33 of the Sunday race at the Norisring, Jamie Green and Paffett approached the hairpin at 250kph wheel to wheel. They made slight contact and then, on a bump, Paffett lost it. The 36-year old Mercedes-AMG driver rocketed into the crash barriers, spun back onto the track and hit the door of Rockenfeller’s Audi RS 5 DTM at high speed.
The crash looked horrible but fortunately both drivers got off rather lightly. Paffett had a lot of bruises and a few cuts, with Rockenfeller having encountered slightly worse injuries. The 2013 DTM Champion suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his left foot and nonetheless, he finished second in the next race, at Moscow. The 36-year old Briton Paffett answers the question with a dosed of British humour: “In consideration of how Rocky raced at Moscow with his right foot I arguably even did him a favour. So what is he giving me? I would give him a walking stick with the writing Gary Paffett. When he’s and old man this always will remind him of who caused his pains.”
And for his friend Robert Wickens who switches from DTM to the IndyCar series, next year, Paffett also has got some great ideas: “Robert has been my team-mate at Mercedes-AMG for many years. Therefore, he has deserved something special. The best would be a miniature Gary Paffett on his shoulder. This Gary then would tell him when he’d better shut it. Or I’ll place pictures of me everywhere in his house. Really everywhere! Or we put a cardboard Gary Paffett into his boot. And when he sees me he starts thinking about what he was going to say. But to be honest, he actually is the one who should have a gift for me as I helped him so often.”