The second round of the DTM season saw chaos and drama, which ended in a surprising victory for Mercedes-Benz after a race that was showered with rain and safety car periods. Christian Vietoris scored his maiden victory just 0.6 seconds ahead of new points leader Mike Rockenfeller. Edoardo Mortara scored his first set of points for 2014 by capturing last step of the podium.
Paul di Resta, who finished fourth in his second race back in the series, made a similar call like Vietoris, where they both pitted after the formation lap on to wet tyres due to the rain getting heavier during the formation lap. Augusto Farfus was handed a five-second penalty for a dangerous manoeuvre, but later finished as the top BMW Motorsport driver, rounding out the top five.
Audi Sport’s Jamie Green showed great strategy, leading by over 11.5 seconds from Adrien Tambay before the Safety Car neutralised his lead. He decided to switch to option tyres just a few laps before the end of the shortened race, with the pit lane asking for the call for his final stop, leading to the Brit finishing in 18th and ending up in the gravel.
Robert Wickens was one of the first casualties of the afternoon, as the Canadian driver went off track into the gravel during Lap 9 after contact with Miguel Molina, which brought out the Safety Car for the first of three times during the afternoon’s proceedings. Timo Glock had an altercation with Rockenfeller and was the second driver to bring the Safety Car into play, retiring on Lap 13 in the gravel.
Several drivers were trying some brave moves into the chicane at Turn 1, as António Félix da Costa was trying to get past Timo Scheider in the early goings. The young Portuquese driver and the two-time champion went off track, dropping several places in the process.
Daniel Juncadella ended up retiring on lap 21, as his Mercedes C-Class AMG was parked in the garage after contact with teammate Vitaly Petrov having spun the previous lap. Hockenheim race winner Marco Wittmann suffered gearbox troubles in the latter stages, as his M4 DTM was stuck in first gear. The young German took the lead from the early goings, but it was not to be his day in the spotlight as he went off track shortly after rejoining.
Pascal Wehrlein‘s race also came to an abrupt end on Lap 27, shortly after the battle between da Costa and Scheider, as the 20-year-old ended up beaching his car into the gravel, bringing out the Safety Car for the third and final time. The second half of the top ten was completed by Molina, Scheider, Gary Paffett, Martin Tomczyk and Tambay.
Da Costa was just a mere fraction of a second outside the top ten, with Bruno Spengler and Mattias Ekström not far behind. Maxime Martin finished in P14, ahead of Joey Hand, Nico Müller and Petrov.
Rockenfeller now leads from Vietoris and Wittmann in the title race by just five points for the young pair, with Audi Sport 29 points ahead of BMW in the Manufacturer’s standings and Team Phoenix now leads the team standing ahead of Original-Teile Mercedes AMG by a mere point.
The famed Hungaroring will see the DTM venture there, with the drivers having had their first taste of the track situated not far from Budapest during pre-season testing. The series will see more drama and action as it continues its journey to finding out who will be the champion this season…