Wickens takes race 1 victory as Mercedes bounce back in Zandvoort

Robert Wickens - Credit: Jordi Villaescusa

Mercedes driver Robert Wickens won the Saturday race at the 2016 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season headed to Zandvoort, Netherlands.

At the start, poleman Wickens held his position, while at the back, a clash between Audi’s Adrien Tambay and Mercedes’ Max Götz, after the latter was touched by BMW’s Martin Tomczyk, resulted in both retiring before getting to the first corner, and with Tomczyk receiving a drive-through penalty for that. Since they stopped at the exit of the pit lane, the Safety Car went out at the beginning of lap 2 and left at the end of lap 4.

Behind Wickens, 2014 champion Marco Wittmann and Mercedes’ Christian Vietoris tried not to let the Canadian run away with the lead, with the BMW driver setting the fastest time at the end of lap 6, and Vietoris doing the same, one lap later.

Marco Wittmann - Credit: Jordi Villaescusa
Marco Wittmann – Credit: Jordi Villaescusa

Slow Zone 2 was activated after the off by BMW’s Augusto Farfus on lap 9, something Wickens used in his advantage to increase his difference to Wittmann by one whole second on lap 12, while Vietoris attacked the BMW for second place.

From that moment onwards, Wickens was all by himself, keeping an advantage that slowly increased until the end of the race. Vietoris lost third place to a patient Gary Paffett, with only two minutes to spare, after a mistake in the first section of the track, but regained it in the first corner of the last lap.

Further away, the main focus of the race was the fight for sixth place between BMW’s António Félix da Costa and Audi’s Mattias Ekström, who were joined in the last ten minutes by revived Spaniard Daniel Juncadella, whose Mercedes received a heavy set of set-up changes that saw the Barcelonian for the first time in the top 10, this season. Despite a couple of attempts by the Swedish ace to pass da Costa, the trio kept their positions at the end.

Finally, Wickens won by 7.2 seconds to Wittmann and 8.9 to Vietoris, with Paffett fourth and Jamie Green being the first Audi, in fifth.

As of now, Wittmann still leads the drivers’ standings with 93 points, while Wickens is now second with 83. Edoardo Mortara – 17th today, after a drive-through for not managing the slow zone – and Jamie Green are now tied in third place, with 73 points.