Hockenheim DTM: BMW's Marco Wittmann dominates 2014 opener
|By Andrew van Leeuwen||Sunday, May 4th 2014, 12:57 GMT|
Marco Wittmann took his first DTM race win in dominant style at the season opener at Hockenheim.
The RMG BMW driver did not put a foot wrong all race, barging past polesitter Adrien Tambay's Abt Audi on the second lap of the race, before building a healthy gap on the option tyre.
He pitted for a set of the standard Hankooks on lap 20, and with the remainder of the rest of the top six also running options in the first stint, and the best of the standard tyre starters well back, the race was essentially won.
Wittmann had a 6.3-second gap over Tambay a lap after his stop, and managed to stretch it to 12.8s at the finish as he recorded his first DTM win.
Behind Wittmann, Ekstrom made the exact opposite strategy work. The Abt Audi driver started from fifth on the standard tyre, was ninth when he stopped on lap 22, and the charged home on the option tyre to finish second.
He was helped a little bit by early frontrunners Timo Scheider and Antonio Felix da Costa clashing nine laps from the end, giving him a clear run at Tambay, as well as Edoardo Mortara, who was on a similar strategy, retiring a lap earlier with a puncture.
Tambay held on to finish third, while 2013 champion Mike Rockenfeller was the best of Phoenix Audis in fourth, using an almost identical strategy to Ekstrom to make a late run to the front.
Timo Glock finished fifth for MTEK BMW, having set up the result with a crucial first lap on the options on which he jumped up four places and most importantly cleared the drivers in front of him starting on the standard tyre.
The rest of the top eight was made up by drivers who started on the standard tyre - the Schnitzer BMW pair of Bruno Spengler and Martin Tomczyk, and RBM BMW driver Augusto Farfus.
The best of the Mercedes drivers were HWA's Pascal Wehrlein and Gary Paffett, who finished 11th and 12th respectively after starting on the standard tyre.
Option starters Christian Vietoris and Robert Wickens did manage to charge from the back of the grid into the top 10 in the early stages of the race, but ultimately slipped back to 15th and 18th by the finish.
Results - 42 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Marco Wittmann RMG BMW 1h06m40.548s 2. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi +12.869s 3. Adrien Tambay Abt Audi +14.879s 4. Mike Rockenfeller Phoenix Audi +17.593s 5. Timo Glock MTEK BMW +21.780s 6. Bruno Spengler Schnitzer BMW +23.513s 7. Martin Tomczyk Schnitzer BMW +24.082s 8. Augusto Farfus RBM BMW +24.913s 9. Timo Scheider Phoenix Audi +26.138s 10. Joey Hand RBM BMW +34.759s 11. Pascal Wehrlein HWA Mercedes +53.857s 12. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes +57.264s 13. Miguel Molina Abt Audi +59.161s 14. Paul di Resta HWA Mercedes +1m00.858s 15. Christian Vietoris HWA Mercedes +1m02.062s 16. Nico Muller Rosberg Audi +1m02.479s 17. Vitaly Petrov Mucke Mercedes +1m06.591s 18. Robert Wickens HWA Mercedes +1m11.152s 19. Daniel Juncadella Mucke Mercedes +1 lap 20. Maxime Martin RMG BMW +1 lap Retirements: Antonio Felix da Costa MTEK BMW 38 laps Edoardo Mortara Abt Audi 31 laps Jamie Green Rosberg Audi 2 laps