DTM 2017: Nurburgring Preview

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Championship leader Mattias Ekström. Credit: DTM Media.

The final third of the 2017 DTM Series gets underway this weekend at the Nurburgring with eight drivers still mathematically in with a chance to claim the title.

Audi‘s Mattias Ekström currently leads the standings ahead of team-mates Rene Rast and Mike Rockenfeller.

The Swedish driver has a 14 point advantage in the championship despite having not yet claimed a victory this season, highlighting his incredible run of consistency.

Audi are not particularly confident heading into the weekend due to the performance weights rule meaning they will have 25 kilograms more weight than BMW on their car – with calculations estimating it could cost them nearly half a second in qualification trim.

“We’re going to have an extremely difficult time especially in qualifying. But those who know me know that I always fight and never give up. I’m traveling to the Nürburgring with a 14-point advantage and would like to defend my lead of the standings there as well,” said Ekström.

Audi Sport Team Phoenix and their driver Rockenfeller should have a lot of support as the track is 3km from the team’s base and is their driver’s home race.

As well as heading the drivers’ championship with Ekström, Audi head the manufacturers’ championship and the teams’ with Team Rosberg.

Timo Glock takes the honour of being “best of the rest” in fourth of the championship after taking victory last time out at Zandvoort. The former Formula One driver has 104 points, placing him 24 points behind Ekström.

“I am excited about the race at the Nürburgring. It is the home circuit for our team. I hope that we have another good weekend there and can score some points, just like we did in the last races,” said Glock. “I would be delighted if we were successful there – primarily for the team, of course. The weather at the Nürburgring is always good for a few surprises, so I am excited to see what awaits us.”

Glock’s Team RMG team-mate Marco Wittmann crossed the line to claim the second victory at Zandvoort, however was disqualified following the race handing the victory to Rockenfeller. Had Wittmann kept the points from Zandvoort he would have been Ekström’s closest rival.

Wittmann claimed one of the victories in the Eifel mountains last year, with Mercedes’ Edoardo Mortara winning on the Sunday.

“I can’t wait for the next three race weekends at the Nürburgring, Spielberg and Hockenheim. These should normally be good weekends for me. I’ve won at least once at each of these three circuits. I’ve always been competitive at the Nürburgring. The weather conditions are almost always mixed, which makes it all the more interesting. Hopefully, we’ll have another great weekend this year,” said Mortara.

Bragging rights for lead Mercedes in the championship belongs to Lucas Auer. Having lead the series early on the Austrian has suffered a number of non score races which has seen him slip to sixth in the standings.

Auer started Sunday’s race last year from pole position but was unable to convert it into victory.

“I’m really looking forward to the Nürburgring where I’ve already enjoyed success in the past. I’ll try to build on that next weekend, but the most important thing is to secure points and attack again in the final sprint to the end of the season,” said Auer.

The iconic Nurburgring, a circuit much loved by the drivers is also celebrating its 90th anniversary this year and has feature on the calendar for every DTM season.

Saturday’s race gets underway at 14.45 local time with Sunday’s at 15.18.

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