D er The start of the 2019 DTM season was expected with particular excitement this year. The makers of the touring car series had promised the fans the fastest DTM of all time. And they should be right. Even if the targeted top speed mark of 300 km /h was still clearly missed at the end of the long straight, at least the lap times fell noticeably.
Philipp Eng's pole position lap on Sunday was 1 : 28,972 minutes, almost four seconds below the qualifying best times that were achieved at the 2018 season finale in mid-October. A closed racing car has never been as fast as Eng on the Grand Prix circuit in Hockenheim.
Wittmann is the first DTM turbo winner
For the first race of the new DTM era Marco Wittmann secured pole position on Saturday. The 2014 and 2016 champion fought an exciting duel with last year's runner-up, René Rast, in wet conditions. The decision was made five laps before the end when the transmission suddenly went on strike on the Audi von Rast.
The competition could not keep up with the pace of the two leaders. After Rast dropped out, Mike Rockenfeller inherited second place. The gap was more than clear at 13.7 seconds. Robin Frijns, who took third place on the podium, was already 34.6 seconds short in the end.
On Sunday, in dry but very cool conditions, the winner rolled over the with a large margin Finish line. In the 37 race laps before that, the fans were offered exciting motorsport. René Rast, who after another technicalProblem in qualifying only started the race before 16th place, decided on a risky two-stop strategy, which surprisingly led to victory in the end.
Rast takes advantage of the fresh tires
During During a safety car phase, triggered by a slip by Loic Duval, Rast was the only driver to pit early next to Aston Martin driver Paul Di Resta. With fresh rubber, the Audi factory driver plowed straight across the field to the top within just five laps after the restart.
Because the visit to the mechanics during the safety car phase was not considered a mandatory pit stop , Rast had to pits again later. But the speed of the 32-year-old from Minden on fresh tires was so outstanding that no one could endanger him anymore.
Places 2 and 3 also went to two Audi cars thanks to perfect pit stops and good tire management Pilots. Nico Müller crossed the finish line 11.9 seconds behind Rast, just ahead of his brand colleague Robin Frijns. The best BMW driver was pole setter Philipp Eng in 4th place. Marco Wittmann, who was still in 2nd place at the start, only ended up in 8th place after a spin. Thanks to the additional points from the two qualifying sessions, the Franconian is just ahead with 34 points Frijns (31) at the top of the table.
Aston Martin also delivered a decent performance in their debut in the DTM. Paul di Resta, who had made a pit stop shortly before the safety car phase in the second race and, like Rast, relied on a two-stop strategy, was the best-placed Vantage driver in seventh place. In the end, the four Aston racers fielded by R-Motorsport only scored 9 points in two races, but because of the short preparation time, the small pace difference to the established competition was more than respectable.