Wittmann Wins on Track but Exclusion Hands Rockenfeller Zandvoort Victory


Credit: BMW Press Group

It had looked as though Marco Wittmann had put himself back on track to defend his DTM Series title after victory at Zandvoort until he was excluded after insufficient fuel was found in his BMW machine.

As a result Mike Rockenfeller was declared the race winner.

Loic Duval claimed his first points finish of the year with third on track, becoming second following Wittmann’s exclusion.

Mattias Ekström who was fourth on the road has gained another podium to his name despite a difficult race for the Swede.

Wittmann had made a strong getaway from second on the grid to pass polesitter Augusto Farfus going into Turn 1 to escape into the lead.

Maxime Martin had started behind his team-mates but bogged down badly at the start.

Whilst trying to pass Farfus, Jamie Green ran off track handing third place to Rockenfeller.

Rockenfeller was quickly promoted to second when the Brazilian took to the pitlane.

As most of the field changed on to fresh rubber, Wittmann was content to run at his place out front – stopping on lap 12 with Rockenfeller coming in one lap later.

Leaving the pits Rockenfeller was three seconds adrift of Wittmann but was handed a life support when team-mate Loic Duval was last man to pit and held up the charging Wittmann allowing Rockenfeller to catch the Bavarian.

Despite this help from his team-mate Rockenfeller was unable to pass the Bavarian on the road.

When he finally pitted Duval rejoined in third place, he benefitted from Ekström having issues and a train of cars developed behind the Swedish driver.

Nico Muller played rear gunner for his team-mate holding by Gary Paffett, Martin, yesterday’s race winner Timo Glock, Farfus, Green, and Bruno Spengler.

In the closing laps, Paffett tried to get a move done but Muller blocked the Briton’s attack, with the Mercedes driver claiming to have been brake tested by the Audi duo.

The positions remained as this as the drivers crossed the line.

Maro EngelEdoardo Mortara and Tom Blomqvist completed the finishers.

Coming into race 12 Rene Rast had been the championship leader but failed to finish after suffering contact with Engel.

Paul di Resta had suffered engine issues in the morning practice so it was not much of a surprise to see the Briton park up.

Robert Wickens also parked up his Mercedes, with Lucas Auer‘s championship chances being handed another blow with another non-score.

With victory Wittmann had promoted himself into second of the championship and the chances of defending his title were looking far more optimistic.

However, in parc ferme an adequate sample of fuel was unable to be taken from Wittmann’s car and as a result was disqualified from the race and means he sits in eighth of the championship.

Rockenfeller’s inherited victory means he is now third in the championship, 18 points behind Ekström who is still yet to win in 2017 with Rast sandwiched between the pair.

DTM action resumes on the 8-10 September at the Eifel Mountains to take on the iconic Nurburgring.