Heavy rain and standing water would add that little extra spice to the action, as the tenth and final race of the 2013 DTM season ran its course before the long off-season break, as DTM Rookie Timo Glock won the race ahead from Mercedes’ Roberto Merhi and outgoing champion Bruno Spengler over the last 42 laps of the year, in what was an impressive and courageous display in appalling conditions, and helped give BMW Motorsport’s outgoing M3 DTM the send off it deserves after two years of faithful service.
The 22 cars would line up on the grid for the final time, as all lined up for a dramatic and action-packed filled race from the word go. Spengler got a great launch from Pole Position, as Andy Priaulx made his way up into second ahead of a very quick Miguel Molina and front row qualifier Dirk Werner.
Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk made lightening quick starts into the higher part of the top ten, before the Brazilian was accidentally spun out by Timo Glock at the very first corner, who was charging forward with clear intent to finish the season on a high, leading the race at one point. Several drivers including Robert Wickens, Mike Rockenfeller, Filipe Albuquerque and Pascal Wehrlein, went wide at turn 1 to avoid any carnage at the first couple of corners.
Merhi got a drive-through penalty for a jump-start, with Wickens getting a 5-second time penalty for an unsafe release by his team in the pits just into the path of Joey Hand. Wickens also had his fair share of contact in the first few laps, being nudged by Jamie Green and Farfus on occasion, as Albuquerque was the first retirement of the race, due to contact as Adrien Tambay was spun out at the very same corner. Marco Wittmann would later retire just 4 minutes from the end
Both Werner and Gary Paffett were given the black and white flag for contact with other vehicles, with Tomczyk having his fair share of tussles with Green, which saw him rescue one sideways moment, before rescuing it from the gravel at Sachs Kurve a couple of laps later, dropping the Bavarian down the order. The Brit found his drivers’ door swinging open whilst cornering, as a result of contact with different vehicles.
There was plenty of nudging amongst other cars as the race continued past the half way point, as Glock was being hunted down by Mattias Ekström, who was chomping away at the German’s lead, as both drivers were leaving it as late as possible to decide when to go onto new tyres, as the track had started drying out after the rain had stopped. Merhi and Daniel Juncadella were also setting fastest lap after fastest lap, putting themselves in contention, but the 2012 F3 Euroseries champion locked up the rear of his C-Class AMG into the hairpin, and spun the Swede around.
Glock was clearly trying to make the call as late as possible, as Merhi was up to second and still looking rather fast. Spengler was currently in P5, being the first car to have made its first stop. Some drivers including Joey Hand and Tomczyk made their second stops of the day, whilst Glock continued leading the race, going sideways into the final turn on Lap 28. Merhi kept up the pressure until Lap 30, when he pitted for the first time for a new set of wet tyres, as well as Juncadella and Ekström having done so a couple of laps before. Daniel would have to serve a drive-through penalty for his clash with Ekström on Lap 30.
Glock eventually pitted on Lap 31 onto wets as well, as Merhi passed him for the lead, as Spengler was closing fast. The ex-Marussia F1 driver would then end up suffering a sideways moment a couple of corners after leaving the pits. The timer was counting down, as the Swede, who always seems to be pushing as hard as always, passed Molina for P4. Glock was putting the pressure onto Merhi, closing the gap, reeling in the Spaniard every corner. But they still had to pit for the second and final time.
Glock used the sheer power of his Deutsche Post BMW M3 DTM to pull past Merhi around the parabolica on the outside, which was a fantastic move. Merhi, however, started to struggle on the final couple of corners on lap 35, as the C-Class Mercedes appeared to get a bit too tail-happy having run wide.
On lap 35, the final pitstops started to take place, as an influx of cars would surely change up the order, as the race entered the final phase. Glock’s lead to Merhi was further extended, as Merhi pitted for the final time on Lap 36 with Timo following suit a lap later for wet tyres.
As the clock ticked down it was Glock leading from Merhi, Spengler and Ekström, with Molina and Priaulx rounding out the top six. But the German driver was calm, cool and collected, as the father-of-one cruised to victory and finished his first season in the DTM in style with a well-deserved victory ahead of a great job by the Spaniard. Ernst Moser’s Team Phoenix secured the team title with Molina’s P5 finish, but with the performance from BMW’s drivers, it helped to secure them the manufacturer’s title, as the drivers celebrated the end of the year with a few celebratory donuts for some of the 122,000 fans that had attended throughout the weekend.
In both celebration and paying tribute to the late Sean Edwards, Glock knelt on the roof of his M3 DTM and pointed to the sky, dedicating the win to a respected and revered colleague in the racing world, who ran in the same colours, as well as former Marussia team colleague Maria de Villota.
So the racing ends and the celebrations can begin, as the DTM starts to gear up for the 2014 season, with the line-ups yet to be decided and the calendar to be officially finalized. TCF will keep you updated on the latest news and updates from the world of the DTM, as the winter break will give all a chance to have a welcome break with friends and family, before the hard work over the winter starts once again.