Maxi Goetz clinched the DTM title with victory at the season finale at Norisring, as collisions thwarted Liam Lawson and Kelvin van der Linde.
After taking this second win Saturday’s penultimate encounter, Team HRT driver Goetz came into the decider third in the standings, and led home an all-Mercedes top three to snatch the crown.
Leading the standings by 16 points, Lawson moved in front from pole at the start, but his title chances were taken out of his hands at the first corner.
Van der Linde dived up the inside, leaving Lawson sandwiched between his chief rival and AF Course team-mate Nick Cassidy. Contact resulted in both Cassidy and Lawson being pushed wide and dropping down the field. But steering damage put an end to Lawson’s hopes, his title chances resting on both van der Linder and Goetz not winning.
Lucas Auer led the way for Team Winward, while a feisty move from fellow Mercedes pilot Philip Ellis enabled him to pass van der Linde – who was handed a 5s penalty for the lap one incident – for second. Goetz ran fourth early on before making his mandatory stop after 17 laps.
Auer and Ellis soon made their stops, both rejoining ahead of Goetz, as van der Linde moved into the lead for Abt Audi.
Van der Linde pitted after 50 laps and also served his penalty, rejoining just ahead of Goetz, but behind the Mercedes driver’s team-mate Daniel Juncadella
After the pair both dispatched Juncadella, Goetz tried to slip up the inside of van der Linde. But the championship contenders touched, with Goetz furiously complaining on the radio to the team despite continuing. But van der Linde suffered a tyre failure a few corners later and spun, effectively ending the South African’s title hopes.
Needing the victory to take the title, Goetz was helped by fellow Mercedes drivers Auer and Ellis, who slowed in the final minutes from first and second respectively to allow Goetz through.
Cassidy tried to help rescue the title for team-mate Lawson by battling the Mercedes trio, but damaged his Ferrari after contact with Ellis, who also slowed and dropped to 10th after receiving a 5s penalty.
Goetz took the win, and the championship, ahead of Auer and Maxi Buhk, the latter scoring his first podium.
Juncadella finished fourth on the road, but lost one place to a 5s penalty, promoting Mike Rockenfeller to fourth for Audi
Arjun Maini was sixth for Mercedes ahead of BMW’s Marco Wittmann, and Mercedes driver Vincent Abril, while Sophia Floersch scored her second points finish in ninth for Audi.
Featured image credit: @amgmotorsport