The DTM Series opener at Hockenheim was not the strongest for reigning champions Audi but Mike Rockenfeller found himself playing a featuring role in Sunday’s race.
Having started from ninth on the grid, Rockenfeller stormed through to second place after catching the thrilling Timo Glock and Gary Paffett battle out front to take second from the Briton.
“That was an awesome race today [Sunday],” said Rockenfeller. “My car was much better than yesterday [Saturday]. Qualifying wasn’t perfect, but the race was top. I was able to attack on both sets of tires. Because Timo (Glock) and Gary (Paffett) at the front kept overtaking each other Joel (Eriksson) and I came closer and closer. In the end, we had a four-way battle up until the last turn. It was mega fun and no doubt worth watching. I’m going to watch it myself again tonight. It’s been one of the coolest races I’ve ever driven.”
Dieter Gass, the Head of Audi Motorsport agreed with what Rockenfeller had to say: “Those were incredibly thrilling battles from the beginning to the end. Simply fascinating! You could tell how the people in the grandstands enjoyed this. For us, it was also great to finish in second place today with Mike (Rockenfeller) after yesterday’s difficult opener. We didn’t expect this, so it’s even sweeter. I’d like to thank Mattias Ekström for all he did for Audi in 17 DTM years. I’m happy that we still have him as a driver in [FIA World] Rallycross.”
The Swede enjoyed an emotional farewell from his DTM fans as he is to depart from the series in favour of the WRX with his EKS RX team.
Heading to the second round of the DTM at the Lausitzring, Rockenfeller sits third in the championship with 18 points – 26 behind championship leader Glock.
However, with 17 points separating Rockenfeller and Augusto Farfus in fourteenth the field is just as competitive as ever.