Robert Wickens returned to the top of the DTM Series championship standings after a dominant display at a wet Moscow Raceway on Saturday.
After a tricky qualifying session on wet tarmac, where Mercedes’ Englishman Gary Paffett got pole position, followed by team-mates Wickens, Paul di Resta and Maximilian Götz, Race 1 at the Moscow Raceway started behind the Safety Car due to the conditions. This way, drivers could identify wet patches and puddles around the track, as this was the first time the touring car series raced in wet conditions in Russia.
At the start, on lap four when the safety car finally left the circuit, Paffett let Wickens through, being the best-placed Mercedes driver in the standings. From then on, the Canadian was simply flawless in his driving. In just five laps, he was a whole ten seconds ahead of the rest of the field, and he never looked back, achieving his second victory of the season. Wickens was followed by Di Resta, Paffet and Götz, completing a very important top four for the three-pointed star make.
It seemed that being the heaviest cars on track, on 1,132.5 kilos, worked in favour of the Stuttgart manufacturer, as only in the latter part of the race, fourth-placed Götz was slightly under threat by the first non-Mercedes car, Mattias Ekström’s Audi, who ended up fifth. The Ingolstadt-based make also played the team strategy card in favour of Jamie Green (seventh) and Edo Mortara (eighth), helped in this occasion by German Timo Scheider, who finished ninth.
It was a race to forget for BMW, as only Maxime Martin was able to score points for the Munich manufacturer, in sixth position. The series leader up to this point, Marco Wittmann, arrived at the chequered flag in a dismal 19th place. Timo Glock was also in the points in the first laps of the race, but he was quickly overtaken by the aforementioned Green and Mortara, and even by newcomer Felix Rosenqvist, who already grabbed his first point of the year for Mercedes, by finishing tenth, after replacing Esteban Ocon.
Wickens is the new series leader, with 108 points. Wittmann is second with 105, and Green in third place with 104. The top 5 is completed by Mortara and Di Resta, both with 92 points.