Wittmann Wins Penalty-Stricken Race As Wickens Excluded


The sixth race of the 2014 Championship began under the beautiful Styrian sunshine, but after several race-related penalties were dished out by the stewards, BMW Motorsport‘s Marco Wittmann took his third win of the year and extended his points lead over Audi’s Mattias Ekström to 39 points.

The 23-year-old Team RMG driver led home another historic finish for BMW, with Augusto Farfus, Timo Glock and Martin Tomczyk rounding out a historic top four.  Timo Scheider fought hard during his opening stint to end up the best-placed driver for Ingolstadt, as the two-time champion finished a very creditable fifth.

Pole sitter Robert Wickens was heading for a potential victory or top-three finish, but was excluded due to not serving a drive-through penalty for being released into the path of Glock after making his mandatory pitstop. The Canadian continued in the lead, having fought his way past Farfus just after 32 laps, but was furious on what had happened, having been given the instruction to pit. But before that, he was battling hard to keep Farfus at bay with a great duel that ended with a wheel-to-wheel encounter run the early stages.

Pascal Wehrlein was another Mercedes driver that should have actually been penalized for an unsafe release, as the youngster hit the side of race winner Martin’s car at the very same Wickens was released from his pit box. However, the 20-year-old would end up parking his C-Class AMG in the garage on lap 26, after further damage sustained after contact with sixth place finisher Adrien Tambay.

Ekström was able to charge forward in his customary style, finishing seventh ahead of Jamie Green, who was given a drive-through penalty for going over 50 percent of the race distance on the option tyres. Christian Vietoris was the sole Mercedes-Benz driver to make it into the top ten, finishing ahead of last year’s winner at the Red Bull Ring, Bruno Spengler.  

BMW’s Antonio Felix da Costa ended up retiring on lap 11, as the Portuguese driver’s M4 DTM slowed to a grinding halt and brought out the only yellow flag of the race. Several drivers including Joey Hand and Daniel Juncadella were penalized for not slowing during the yellow flag zone, and were hit with drive-throughs as a result.

Hand would finish behind Miguel Molina in twelfth, with defending champion Mike Rockenfeller ending up in thirteenth. Maxime Martin and Juncadella took 14th and 15th respectively, as Edoardo Mortara, Gary Paffett, Paul Di Resta, Nico Müller and Vitaly Petrov rounded out the final drivers classified during the race.

With just two weeks until the DTM heads to the Nürburgring, it looks as if we could potentially see a new champion crowned at the end of the year, as Rocky’s grasp on the title that he won last year is slipping even more right now….