After starting from pole, Marco Wittmann scored a dominant win for BMW. Leading for whole race in difficult conditions and having two Audi’s breathing down his neck, it was a great day in the office for the German driver.
Awful weather at Hockenheim meant that the race started behind the safety car and had three formation laps. Wittmann had a very good start, unlike Mike Rockenfeller, who lined up alongside him on the grid. Rockenfeller really experiencing the disadvantage from starting on the dirty side of the track. Robin Frijns, who started from fifth place on the grid, jumped right to second place, though he didn’t have the pace to challenge Wittmann.
Heading into the first corner of the race, Rene Rast touched the back of Timo Glock’s car, which caused him to spin. The incident was under investigation but no further action was taken.
One lap later we saw the first man to park his car in his garage – Ferdinand Habsburg. After struggling in qualifying already, it was a short race for the Austrian. Another Aston Martin driver who had to quit is Paul di Resta, he had brake issues. The British manufacturer did score its first points – a P9 for Daniel Juncadella. Jake Dennis just outside the points in P11.
Already early in the race, we learned that Wittmann was the man to beat. He had a comfortable lead over Rockenfeller in P2, though by lap 3, Rockenfeller stole second place from Frijns and adopted the title of fastest man in the field.
In the midfield, we saw Aberdein battling with Jamie Green. The young South-African tried to make a move on Green but there was a touch. This caused problems for the Brit as other drivers behind him, easily went past.
In lap 23 Aberdein pitted and changed to slicks. When he went out, we saw him struggling to keep his Audi on track, although the track was slowly drying. In the end, the decision didn’t really pay off as he finished P15. His WRT team-mate Pietro Fittipaldi took P10 and his first DTM point.
Rene Rast was the only driver who could really challenge the leader of the race. And so he did for a long time. Unfortunately, in lap 28 he had to park his car due to technical issues. This made it all a bit easier for Wittmann, who was at the time in a comfortable lead.
In the end, Marco crossed the finish line 13.7 seconds ahead of Audi’s Rockenfeller, with Frijns in third. Glock recovered very well from his incident in turn one and finished in fourth place. Loic Duval, the second Phoenix driver closed the top five.
It was an impressive result from BMW’s rookie, Sheldon van der Linde. The young driver showed good pace and finished in sixth, meaning he’s the best rookie of today. In seventh and eighth were Bruno Spengler and Nico Mueller, the two drivers who led the free practice sessions yesterday.
Tomorrow we have a new day with qualifying and race 2. New day, new chances, new weather conditions?