After the Nürburgring round, the 2016 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters is at a crucial point. Of the four contenders prior to the Eiffel races, only two seem to have clear chances of becoming the new champion.
BMW’s Marco Wittmann is the current leader with 170 points, 33 more than Audi’s Edo Mortara, the only driver who can still fight face to face with the 2014 champion. Mercedes’ Robert Wickens (120 points) and Audi’s Jamie Green (119) still have real chances to be crowned as champs but for that they’d need these last four races to be a real catastrophe for Wittmann and Mortara, something pretty unlikely.
Wittmann says: “I think it is great to return to Budapest after a year away. I’ve fond memories of the circuit. I was very successful there in 2014, when I won. A similar result would be nice this year. However, a lot has changed out on the track since the last time we raced there. For example, there is a new surface. That will be a challenge for all.”
Mortara is optimistic he will be able to get closer to the leader. After all, there are still 100 points available: “Two years ago, I was a struggling a little with the car,” Mortara recalls. “But since then, my confidence in the car has grown a lot and things are going really well at the moment. We need another good weekend to reduce the gap. My title chances are intact and we’re going to battle up until the very end.” The Audis will be the lightest cars at 1,110 kilos.
At opposite end of the scale, Mercedes comes to Hungary as the heaviest team by far, with cars weighing 1,135 kilos. At the Nürburgring, only Austrian Lucas Auer seemed to not care about it as he took pole twice and was in contention for the win on Sunday. It is believed the Stuttgart manufacturer will loose some kilos during the Hungarian trip.
Wickens still has a shot at the title and believes all is not lost. Yet: “Budapest is an all-or-nothing weekend for us. I’m 50 adrift but am feeling upbeat,” claims the Canadian. “The Hungaroring has been resurfaced this season, so that’s going to be a new challenge for everyone. So far, we’ve been highly competitive on tracks with a smooth surface, like in Moscow. So it seems we can achieve something good in Budapest. I’m all fired up for the weekend, and I’ll be giving it everything to score as many points as possible.”
It’s been confirmed that recent debutant, Felix Rosenqvist, will end the season for the 3-pointed star make. Apart from achieving his first point in Moscow, the Swede was able to qualify in seventh for Race 1 at the Nürburgring.
Race 1 will start at 13.58, UK time, on Saturday 24 September; and Sunday’s Race 2 at 14.13.