It might have been Marco Wittmann who claimed DTM Series race victory at the Hockenheimring but all eyes were on the man in second place, Rene Rast, who had just become this year’s champion.
Rast crossed the line three seconds behind the outgoing champion to claim the title by just three points from Mattias Ekström, with Jamie Green six adrift and Mike Rockenfeller 12 behind.
After qualifying, Rast looked like the favourite after putting his Audi RS5 on the front row while Ekström and Green were hindered by grid penalties.
At the start Tom Blomqvist got a lighting getaway to quickly open up a gap to the pack behind headed by Wittmann. It was not an as good of a start for Rast behind who had wheelspin out of his grid slot and was pushed out by Lucas Auer at Turn 1 and lost another position to Robert Wickens.
It was also a difficult start for Green who found himself running in last position at the end of the first lap after contact with Ekström.
Once he had gotten his pace under control, Rast passed Wickens for fourth on lap five before getting by Auer four laps later.
Out front, Blomqvist’s advantage over Wittmann had been eradicated with Rast quickly closing the pair down. Instead of fighting his fellow German, Wittmann dove into the pits to serve his mandatory pitstop with Blomqvist left to hold position to Rast.
Rast was promoted to the lead just three laps later when it was Blomqvist’s turn to take on fresh rubber. Any hopes of changing the misfortune he has suffered all season were dampened with a slow pitstop which cost him track position.
Audi, opted to keep its title protagonists out on the track until well into the latter stages of the race.
With his fresher rubber and net first place, Wittmann was able to take several tenths a lap out of Rast. When the Audi-man eventually came into the pits he was a distant net second.
Rast, on colder rubber, came under threat from Blomqvist behind but the Briton had Wickens sitting on his rear.
Things quickly went from bad to worse for Blomqvist. Defending a move by Wickens into the Spitzkehre hairpin, the Canadian changed line too late and ripped off a chunk the rear bodywork of the BMW.
Wickens was handed a drive through penalty for his actions, as he came in to serve it Blomqvist came into the pits to retire his car.
Having stopped much later Rast was on a charge to catch Wittmann but caught Bruno Spengler who was still to stop. The Canadian defended strongly, with the pair making contact at Turn 2, but was defenceless to Rast’s move down the back straight.
Now ahead, Rast was seven seconds behind Wittmann with just five minutes left with no chance of catching the BMW.
However, the title was still not guaranteed to be in the hands of Rast. Green and Ekström were making a charge through the pack of early stoppers as they set about recovering from their lowly grid positions.
After falling behind the Swede after their contact at the start, Green managed to get ahead of Ekström before the stops and remained ahead after them.
Green produced a valiant drive to fight his way through to fifth place, behind Rockenfeller and Gary Paffett.
Maxime Martin lost out on fifth to Green, finishing ahead of Augusto Farfus, Ekström, Edoardo Mortara and Auer.
Nico Muller, Timo Glock, Maro Engel, Spengler, Loic Duval, Paul di Resta and Wickens finished the classified drivers.
With the result Rast is the first rookie to become DTM champion since Nicola Larini in 1993 with Alfa Romeo.