Audi‘s Edoardo Mortara took victory in the final race of the 2016 DTM Series, coming through from sixth on the grid to dominate the race after pole sitter Antonio Felix da Costa was forced into a spin by Gary Paffett resulting in a drive through penalty for the Brit.
Da Costa’s race went from bad to worse after a wheel fell off his car following his pitstop, the Portuguese driver was forced to retire – having started on pole position it was not the end to his DTM career that he had hoped for.
The Mercedes AMG pairing of Christian Vietoris and Paul di Resta completed the podium with the newly re-crowned champion Marco Wittmann just behind the pair.
With 17 points separating the two championship challengers there was still much to play for in the season finale. After a rather bad start Mortara saw himself have to battle his way through a field of BMW drivers before taking Wittmann on lap six to take the lead of the race.
At one stage it looked as though the tables had turned and the title was heading in the direction of Mortara as a result of Wittmann falling into traffic following his pitstop. The German needed to cross the line in at least fifth place, to take the title and after leaving the pits in seventh place with two cars ahead still to pit it soon swung back into the favour of Wittmann.
The Team RMG driver managed to do one better than required of him by coming home in fourth place after Tom Blomqvist dropped off of the pace and tumbled down the field, before bringing his Ice-Watch BMW M4 home in seventh place and in doing so became one of just two drivers – the other being Lucas Auer – to cross the finish line at every race this season.
Wittmann’s fourth place was never under threat as he had fellow BMW-men Timo Glock, Maxime Martin and Blomqvist playing rear gunner for him if the position was to be challenged. Jamie Green, who up until Saturday’s race had a shot at the title himself, and Robert Wickens completed the points scoring positions.
“What a feeling! Being crowned DTM Champion for the second time in four years is incredible.” commented Wittmann.
“It was a difficult season, but now the emotions are indescribable. We fought right down to the wire and had no idea that we would finish at the top before the season started. We’ve done it now. Crazy. Massive thanks go to my team, BMW Motorsport and everyone involved. And I have huge respect for Edoardo Mortara. He had a great season. In the end we did enough. Now it’s time to celebrate.”
Mortara’s Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline came out on top in the teams’ championship with 319 points over Team RMG who ended the season with 290 points. In the manufacturers’ standings Audi clinched the title with 700 points over BMW (647 points) and Mercedes-Benz trialed home in last with 471 points.