60 minutes plus one lap, one mandatory tyre change, high degradation and a sinuous and bumpy track allowed for a tense Race 2 of the 2016 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters series at Zandvoort.
Poleman Jamie Green made a good getaway, keeping Gary Paffett at bay, while fifth-placed Robert Wickens overtook Edoardo Mortara and Christian Vietoris, to end the first lap in third position. On lap 2, Paffett let Wickens overtake him as he saw the Canadian was faster than him and with a better chance to fight with the leading Audi.
On lap 5, Wickens tried an attack on Green, shaving almost three tenths in one lap, but the later didn’t let the Mercedes man get too close to him. The top 4 were separated by just 1.8 seconds on lap 10. The main reason for this was a technical problem that didn’t allow the use of the DRS up to that point.
At the start of lap 11, Wickens made his first attempt at overtaking Green but the English driver defended himself very cleanly.
It wasn’t long before both Green and Wickens changed tyres at the beginning of the mandatory 20-minute period, and Green managed to put Maxime Martin between himself and the Canadian.
Green’s advantage over Wickens got to 1.1 seconds, and once they caught Mercedes’ Dani Juncadella – who at the time was fighting for position with Adrien Tambay’s substitute, René Rast, the Spaniard let the Canadian by easily so he could keep fighting for victory.
In turn, once Green got closer to the lead again, he was helped by Mike Rockenfeller, Miguel Molina and Mattias Ekström (third, second and first, respectively). This trio changed rubber way later and thus were also losing around a second and a half a lap to the leaders. And it worked indeed, as Wickens lost three seconds since the tyre change.
From that moment on, the race was pretty much decided in Green’s favour, but right behind Wickens, Paffett, Vietoris and Mortara were neck and neck for the last ten minutes, until the first of this group was off in the back of the track, after reporting a flat on his tyres. The Canadian rejoined but was forced to changes tyres again, falling to the 19th place. Just seconds later, there was another problem for the Stuttgart make, as Vietoris had a puncture at the beginning of lap 36, that forced him to retire.
At the chequered flag, Green became the ninth winner in ten DTM 2016 races, followed by Paffett and Mortara. The top 5 was completed by the best BMW, Marco Wittmann’s, and Audi’s Nico Müller.
The series goes on a break until mid-August, when the action will make a comeback in Moscow, Wittmann leads the way in the drivers’ standings with 105 points, followed by Green with 98, Mortara with 88, Wickens with 83 and Paul Di Resta with 74.