After all of the pre-season talk of new rules and driver changes, the new season of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters kicked off last weekend in Hockenheim, we take a look back at some of the talking points from the weekend.
Three Manufacturers on both podiums
After the Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM dominated FP1, FP2 and Qualifying 1, it seemed to many that it would be a three pointed washout in the bid for the podium, as it turned out, although Lucas Auer took victory in Race 1, the BMW M4 DTM of Timo Glock and Audi RS5 DTM of Mike Rockenfeller pushed hard to lock out the podium, making it one of each manufacturer.
Glock was fastest in both FP3 and Qualifying 2 but could only manage eighth place (we’ll get to that in a minute), leading to another mixed podium, headed by Audi’s Jamie Green, Mercedes’ Gary Paffett and BMW’s Marco Wittmann.
While the championship shows that Mercedes had the advantage (Mercedes-Benz 92 Points, Audi 79 Points and BMW 43 Points) in Hockenheim, it looks like it is going to be an unpredictable season with mixed results for all manufacturers.
New safety car start
For 2017 DTM have introduced a new restart proceedure following a safety car period, the ‘Indianapolis start’ sees the competitors line up 2-by-2 behind the safety car and as the lights go green they are free to race. While they practiced this once on Friday the first time it was used was the second race, Timo Glock had been leading the race at this point but completely misjudged the restart falling back down the order as they crossed the start/finish line. Jamie Green was judged to have jumped the restart and was given a 5 second stop/go penalty, despite this he would still go on to take the race victory.
It could take some time for competitors to get used to this new proceedure, but as showed in the first real use of it, races can be won or lost on a restart, drivers will surely be paying more attention next time out!
More pit stop practice needed!
Whether it was first race nerves or something in the air, the first race of the season brought out a number of pit stop mistakes, including a long stop by race leader Lucas Auer after the stop/go lollypop failed to lift up. There was also few other mistakes that can be seen in the video below…
Championship contenders emerge
Lucas Auer came out of the opening weekend with the most points as he took the race win, pole position and a fourth place finish to take 40 points and a 14 point lead over Audi’s Jamie Green and Mercedes’ Gary Paffett who are both tied on 26 points, despite Green finishin the first race out of the points.
Timo Glock looked strong throughout the weekend and had an epic battle with Paffett in the first race, and while he couldn’t convert it after the botched restart in race 2 he will surely be one of the leading drivers throughout the year.
DTM moves on to the Lausitzring in two weeks time, 2016 saw Audi dominate the opening race of the weekend with Miguel Molina before Mercedes spoilt the party in the second race as Lucas Auer took his first DTM victory.