Thunder in the rain – Wittmann kicks off DTM's turbo era with wet-weather masterclass

Thunder in the rain – Wittmann kicks off DTM's turbo era with wet-weather masterclass

04.05.2019: Start, race 1, Hockenheim • Masterclass: Wittmann takes 2019 season-opener for BMW, his 12th DTM career win • Thunder: Evenly matched new turbo formula proves a spe



Start, race 1, Hockenheim


•    Masterclass: Wittmann takes 2019 season-opener for BMW, his 12th DTM career win

•    Thunder: Evenly matched new turbo formula proves a spectacular success

•    Rain: Wet-to-dry conditions test drivers until the chequer




DTM's new turbo formula kicked off in spectacular style as Marco Wittmann (GER, BMW) mastered the elements to take a commanding victory at Hockenheim today.



DTM's new two-litre, turbo-charged engines provided the drivers with an extra challenge, as they battled to control the torquey power response from the 610hp units in the slippery conditions.



Pole-sitter Wittmann, DTM champion in 2014 and '16, maintained his lead at the start and defended successfully until the finish, despite coming under intense pressure from René Rast (GER, Audi) who chased the leader after making his way through the field.



Rast was cruelly denied a shot at the lead when he was forced to pull onto the grass with a mechanical problem in the second half of the race. Instead, it was fellow Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller (GER), who inherited second place following Rast's retirement. Robin Frijns (NED, Audi) finished third, ahead of Timo Glock (GER, BMW), who drove a charging race back into contention after being nudged into a spin at the first corner. Fourth place and fastest lap was his reward for a strong afternoon's work.



R-Motorsport/Aston Martin brought home its first car in ninth position, Daniel Juncadella (ESP) the first of two cars to finish, following the retirements of Ferdinand von Habsburg (AUT) and Paul Di Resta (GBR), who had qualified a highly impressive third on Saturday morning.



For Wittmann, it was his 12th career win in DTM, echoing the start to his title-winning 2014 season, where he also won the opening race at Hockenheim.





Strong rookies: van der Linde, Dennis and Fittipaldi




DTM's four rookies Sheldon van der Linde (RSA, BMW), Jake Dennis (GBR, Aston Martin) and Pietro Fittipaldi (BRA, Audi) all showed impressive flashes of speed during a tricky afternoon. For van der Linde and Fittipaldi, sixth and 10th place in their respective debuts saw them score their first-ever DTM championship points. Dennis just missed out on a point-scoring finish when he came home 11th.



Another courageous performance by Jonathan Aberdein (RSA, Audi) went unrewarded. He ran in the top 10 for some time, but lost his chance of scoring points with a tyre strategy that proved too brave for the conditions. The South African was the sole driver to fit slick tyres, but the conditions never turned around sufficiently to reward his bravery.



The second race of the season gets underway on Sunday at 13.30 hrs local time.






» Quotes – race 1, Hockenheim



"I've often been asked the question about championship favourites, and I've always said that Rast and Wittmann really impress me because they're always fast and always perform consistently. Today, both were top class again. In difficult conditions, they didn't make any mistakes and were clean and fast. For me, Aston Martin was a positive surprise, too. Being third in qualifying, right behind BMW and Audi, was a massive achievement.


In the race, they were stong as well, but because of Di Resta's retirement, they weren't able to score the result they deserved. I also enjoyed watching this year's rookies. Van der Linde and Dennis were well up on the starting grid, van der Linde finished sixth right away today."

Gerhard Berger, Chairman ITR




"What a perfect start! The first win of the season, the first win in the new turbo era and in the new livery of my new sponsor Schaeffler, too. It couldn't have gone any better. First, Mike Rockenfeller really put me under pressure, then René Rast did likewise. Only after René had retired was I able to bring victory home safely."


Marco Wittmann, winner




"Second place is good and I'm happy with the valuable points. Initially, things weren't going too well. We'd put new tyres on and decided to save the used tyres from qualifying for the final stint. With the new tyres in the rain, the handling of the car felt strange. On the second set, things got better again. I'm happy with today's result. The season is long and you have to score points consistently to be successful. That is what we managed to do."


Mike Rockenfeller, 2nd place




"My start was good, we were quick during the first four laps. After that, I didn't manage to get the tyres to work and I lost time. I let Mike Rockenfeller and René Rast past. Once I fitted the second set of tyres, things started going better, but then there were only six laps left."


Robin Frijns, 3rd place




» Results – race 1, Hockenheim



01. Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, 34 laps in 1h 03m 30.158s
02. Mike Rockenfeller (GER), Audi, + 13.727s
03. Robin Frijns (NED), Audi, + 34.681s
04. Timo Glock (GER), BMW, + 37.407s
05. Loïc Duval (FRA), Audi, + 1m 03.383s
06. Sheldon van der Linde (ZAF), BMW, + 1m 05.453s
07. Bruno Spengler (CAN), BMW, + 1m 13.886s
08. Nico Müller (SUI), Audi, + 1m 29.780s
09. Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Aston Martin, + 1m 30.322s
10. Pietro Fittipaldi (BRA), Audi, + 1m 31.873s



Fastest lap: Timo Glock (GER), BMW M4 DTM, 1m 42.469s

Pole position: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW M4 DTM, 1m 48.215s

Weather conditions: 5–7°C, rain
Circuit conditions: 5–8°C, wet, then drying




» Strategies at a glance – race 1, Hockenheim



#11 – Marco Wittmann (GER)
First stint: 91 percent » pit stop: lap 31 » second stint: 9 percent

#99 – Mike Rockenfeller (GER)
First stint: 79 percent » pit stop: lap 27 » second stint: 21 percent

#4 – Robin Frijns (NED)
First stint: 88 percent » pit stop: lap 30 » second stint: 12 percent






» Wow fact – race 1, Hockenheim




   
One-two-three



The first qualifying session of the new season, and DTM’s brand new turbo era, took place in wet and extremely difficult conditions – and saw all three manufacturer brands occupying the top three spots.



Marco Wittmann (GER) put his BMW M4 DTM on pole position, Mike Rockenfeller (GER) was second in his Audi RS 5 DTM. Third place went to Paul Di Resta (GBR) and his Aston Martin Vantage DTM. A thrilling grid formation for the first race of the DTM with two-litre engines.





» Regulations at a glance





Tyres



Each driver has seven fresh sets of Hankook Ventus slicks at their disposal for each DTM weekend, which comprises practice sessions, qualifying and the races. The number of wet weather tyres for practice and the races is limited to six per weekend. The tyres for each driver are drawn by the scrutineers. Neither wet weather tyres nor slicks may be pre-heated.





ITR GmbH



Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/thunder-rain-wittmann-dtm-hockenheim---190024.html

04.05.2019 / MaP

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