The skies in Hungary may have been overcast, but the third round of the 2014 DTM season saw BMW Motorsport’s Marco Wittmann take his second win of the season after 41 laps of the 4.381km Hungaroring circuit. He finished 6.615 seconds ahead of Audi Sport’s Miguel Molina and further extended his lead in the fight for the title. 2012 Champion Bruno Spengler made an impressive fight back in the second half of the race to complete the podium at the famed Eastern European track.
It all came to strategy and the best use of the Hankook tyres and the limited use of DRS down the main straight to the first corner, due to the tight and technical nature of the circuit, which saw Wittmann just literally run away untroubled. Rain was forecasted for the latter stages of the race, but the dark clouds did not open as had been expected.
The run down to turn one saw the likes of António Félix da Costa, Spengler and Paul di Resta make up several places at the start with some going three wide into the first corner. 2005 champion Gary Paffett was forced to retire after coming into contact in Turn 3 with Team RBM’s Joey Hand, with the rear end of his Mercedes-Benz AMG C-Coupe heavily damaged.
However, it was also three wide into Turn 3, with Oschersleben race winner Christian Vietoris on the inside of both Hand and Paffett. The slightest touch from the Mercedes driver appeared to be the cause of the Briton’s retirement. Team Phoenix’s Timo Scheider ended up parking his Audi Sport RS5 DTM just after the chicane, after a left rear suspension failure put the two-time champion out of the race, with Augusto Farfus parking his M4 DTM in the garage after 32 laps with a technical problem of his own. Vietoris himself would also retire from last place having been lapped on Lap 37.
Whilst Wittmann and Molina were making sure that their races were mistake-free and untroubled, there was a massive scrap for the points positions, with Spengler opting to use the hard tyres in the first half of the race. The Franco-Canadian was over 2 seconds faster and passed other cars hand over fist, as the cars in front were swapping aero parts and paint in certain instances.
Timo Glock was in the wars, having been in a heated battle with Edorado Mortara for the latter pat of the race, especially with contact being a major talking point. When Mortara was ordered to slow by two seconds, it was over the last sector, which seemed to impede Glock, and brought da Costa, Mike Rockenfeller, Adrien Tambay and Nico Müller into play.
Glock’s race ended up out of the points, after contact between himself and Müller into Turn 1 gave the German BMW driver a left rear puncture and the Swiss driver bodywork damage, which put both out of a points finish. Tambay also barged his way past the Team MTEK driver shortly before, which showed that with gaps not really begin there, drivers were pushing beyond the limits of acceptability when it came to racing.
Mortara ended up fourth, but words were exchanged between the Team Abt driver and Glock about their clashes during the race, which the latter was not happy with, as the incidents pretty much cost him his first potential podium finish of the season, with the race seeing him enter the pit lane in 19th place as the chequered flag fell.
Tambay finished fifth after a fight back, ahead of rookie Maxime martin, whose race almost came to a standstill on the formation lap, as the Belgian driver got off to a slow start away from his grid slot. Jamie Green finished in eighth ahead of da Costa, Mattias Ekström and Rockenfeller, who rounded out the top ten.
Mercedes-Benz’s top finisher was Robert Wickens, with the Canadian driver finishing 11th after a great start in the first part of the race, finishing ahead of Müller and Martin Tomczyk. The rest of the Stuttgart drivers apart from Vietoris completed the race, but found themselves at the back end of the table, with Pascal Wehrlein 14th and Daniel Juncadella 16th behind BMW’s Hand. Vitaly Petrov and di Resta finished 17th and 18th respectively, in what was another bad race for Mercedes, with Paffett’s retirement at the beginning of the race not helping much.
Wittmann now leads the race for the driver’s tittle, as he is ahead of defending champion Rockenfeller by 19 points, with Mortara now making it two Audi Sport drivers in the hunt for the top honour come the end of the season. Germany’s “Monaco,” the Norisring, will be the location for the next round of the championship during the last weekend of June, where Jamie Green could factor in as a firm favourite around a track he has been very successful at in years past.