Mortara win not enough as Wittmann clinches championship

Marco Wittmann clinched the 2016 DTM championship at the final race of the season at Hockenheim with a fourth place finish, enough to keep dominant race victor Edo Mortara at bay in the championship standings by four points.

Wittmann becomes the fourth driver to win two Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters titles following in the footsteps of Bernd Schneider, Mattias Ekstrom and Timo Scheider.

The Hockenheim circuit hosted an absolutely enthralling first few laps. Da Costa led the field at the start followed by Paffett. Wittmann kept ahold of his fifth place grid position as Mortara got away poorly and slipped down to seventh. The determined Italian was soon to make his way back up to sixth though with a gutsy move on the outside of turn two on Wickens.

Mortara was on the grass on the run-up to the corner after the pack of cars in front of him got bunched up before he swept around the outside of Wickens and nearly picked his way past Martin on the exit. Wittmann found himself in fourth after Martin let him through. Further down the field teammates Green and Mueller came into contact with the two touching and then running wide at turn 4. The damage would later cause Mueller to retire.

More overtaking maneuvers took place at the hairpin with Blomqvist slowing down to let Wittmann through and Mortara diving up the inside of Martin. On the following lap Mortara worked his way up to fourth after streaking past Blomqvist.

Da Costa and Paffett battled for the lead out in front. Paffett attempted a cut-back on Da Costa at turn eight and the two went side by side at turn nine and ten, Paffett couldn’t quite inch in front and Da Costa held his lead. The two were at it again on lap 3. Paffett this time attempting the cut-back at the turn 6 hairpin pulled alongside Da Costa on the run-up to turn 7. Paffett had the inside line but despite this the two were still side by side on the exit of turn 7 and Da Costa retook the position at turn 8.

Things soon turned very sour at turn eight when Paffett tagged Da Costa and spun the Portuguese driver. Da Costa fell down to the back while Paffett was punished with a drive-through.

This handed the lead to Wittmann but he soon lost the lead to a charging Mortara. Mortara got a fantastic run out of the hairpin and duly took the lead on the following right-hander. The Italian wasted no time in building up a huge gap and by the time the pitstops came around he already had a commanding lead.

Wittmann was struggling though. Losing roughly half a second per lap in the build-up to his pitstop he rejoined the race in seventh behind Di Resta but was soon propelled to fifth when Rockenfeller and Mueller pitted. A promotion to fourth followed when Tom Blomqvist essentially gave up his podium place to drop behind both him and Di Resta. There was nothing Mortara could do but hope for some bad luck to be inflicted upon his championship rival.

But nothing happened to help him along. Both the incident between Farfus and Scheider where the latter sent the former spinning and the incident in which Antonio Felix Da Costa’s torrid final race in DTM went from bad to worse when he lost a wheel due failed to bring out a safety car.

Mortara took the victory, but a very bitter one at that. Mercedes occupied both second and third with Vietoris and Di Resta filling the remaining spots on the podium. But it was Marco Wittmann who took fourth and with that the Drivers’ Championship. The fact that Audi secured both the manufacturer and team championship through Abt Sportsline was little consolation as Mortara was inched out in the end.

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