The North Sea coast saw Mike Rockenfeller secure the 2013 DTM Championship at Circuit Park Zandvoort in a very measured and controlled drive to his maiden title, as an incident between Dirk Werner and Jamie Green brought out the Safety Car with just 6 laps to go. Augusto Farfus won his third race of the season, ahead of the new champion, who takes the crown from Bruno Spengler, with Timo Scheider getting his first podium of the season. He is the second person to win the title with Phoenix Racing in exactly the same colours as Martin Tomczyk two years ago.
Rocky was investigated by the stewards for a potential jump-start but Marco Wittmann bogged down on the grid when the lights went out as Farfus shot out into the lead and extended an advantage of around 5 seconds within the first 10 laps.
Roberto Merhi was an early retirement on the very first lap on a very sunny day, that was filled with tension and atmosphere as the fans hoped to see a champion crowned.
The 2010 Le Mans winner, however, steadily lowered the gap between himself to less than half a second behind his title rival until the Brazilian pitted on Lap 13 and changed to the standard tyres.
Rockenfeller and Hand came in at the same time for their first pit stops a couple of laps later, as both Filipe Albuquerque and Miguel Molina tested the Hankook option tyres to around Lap 19 and 20 respectively, with Farfus and Rockenfeller deciding to do both pit stops early just after race distance.
The game of cat and mouse was in full effect, as race distance passed the halfway point, as Farfus got the lead once again, with both him and Rockenfeller having made both their stops. The Brazilian driver had been clearly on the pace, as he was 15 seconds ahead before the collision between the two occurred.
It was a mere formality for the new “DTM-Meister,’ as the Safety Car went in with just two laps to go, but Mattias Ekstrom on the option tyres got in quick with several passing manoeuvres to end up fourth ahead of Marco Wittmann.
Adrian Tambay secured his fourth points finish in a row, showing the progress he has made since last year in the series. Joey Hand placed seventh, ahead of Albuquerque, Gary Paffett and Molina.
Paffett was the top Brit this weekend, with Green still classified 13th and Andy Priaulx all the way down in 20th place. The drivers at Mercedes had a woeful time, with as no other drivers managed to get into the top ten, with Pascal Wehrlein 12th, Christian Vietoris 15th, and Daniel Juncadella 17th, who finished ahead of Timo Glock, who suffered contact with the Spaniard as they went side by side late in the race.
Molina, along with Green and Edoardo Mortara, were the only Audi drivers to be out of the points, with Mortara having an off-track excursion during the race.
So with Audi also having five drivers in the top ten, in comparison to BMW’s three, the manufacturers’ title is now up for grabs at the season finale at Hockenheim in three weeks’ time. That is still all to play for as a new driver is crowned champion in the sunshine in the Netherlands…