Preview: 2018 DTM Series – Hungaroring

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Credit: DTM Media

The DTM Series returns to action this weekend for the third round of the championship at the Hungaroring.

It is the first of five races to not take place inside Germany.

BMW’s Timo Glock sits on top of the championship standings by one point over Mercedes’ Gary Paffett.

Pascal Wehrlein is third in the standings, 32 points off of Paffett in second.

Audi will be wanting to get their campaign underway after difficult weekends in Hockenheim and at the Lausitzring.

Reigning champion René Rast will be back on the grid after his serious accident at the Lausitzring two weeks ago.

Audi Sport Team Rosberg last Wednesday was able to start reassembling the Audi RS 5 DTM based on the previous monocoque and prepare it for the races at the Hungaroring. Following a subsequent brief functional check at Audi in Neuburg, the car will be transported to Hungary.

This is the second time this year the DTM has been to Budapest, after it featured in the GREAT RUN at the start of the month.

What Happened Last Time at Lausitzring?

Last time out at the Lausitzring saw one of the most chaotic races in the DTM.

On Saturday, four of the Audis were wiped out of the race before the action had gotten going.

Jamie Green and Nico Müller were eliminated after they crashed on the starting grid. Müller had not been able to pull away from the grid, Green behind had nowhere to go and ran straight into the rear of his team-mate – bringing their races to an end before it had started.

This prompted a safety car period to allow for the track to be cleared of debris and the damaged Audis.

After fifteen minutes, action resumed but not for long.

Barely half a lap later Rast suffered a massive crash after contact with Loïc Duval which saw the former flip over a number of times and his car ripped apart.

Due to the level of damage sustained, a red flag period was necessitated with racing getting back underway with just under twenty minutes remaining on the clock.

This meant it was a sprint to the finish with the field so close together with so little time left in the race and all drivers needing to take their mandatory pitstops.

Edoardo Mortara made the decision to try and leave his stop as late as possible, this worked for the Italian who put in a stunning set of laps to get himself up to second place before using DRS to pass Philipp Eng for first.

This was Mortara’s first win since the 2016 season finale at Hockenheim when he was still an Audi driver.

Mortara was joined on the podium by Glock and Eng.

Sunday’s race ended with Paffett taking his second victory of the year in a far tamer race.

Rast was not deemed fit to race by doctors following his heavy shunt on Saturday meaning Audi were down to five competitors making their already difficult start to the season that bit more harder.

Eng started on pole position for the first time in his DTM career, with Wehrlein starting in second place.

Paffett starting from third, took advantage of Wehrlein being ran wide by Eng as he attempted an overtake on the Austrian.

Just a few laps later, Paffett had gotten the move done on Eng and was escaping out front.

Eng soon found himself being displaced by Wehrlein and Marco Wittmann.

As the pitstops played out, and largely thanks to Mercedes producing pitstops lower than par, Wittmann found himself ahead of Wehrlein and set about hunting down Paffett ahead.

It was to no avail and Paffett sealed his second victory of the season to restore the gap to Glock in the championship to just one point.

The race ended in disappointment for Eng who could only manage seventh from pole.

A clear indication of what one achieves in the opening race cannot be guaranteed in the second Saturday race winner Mortara ended eleventh after a series of penalties.

What Happened at the Hungaroring in 2017?

Paul di Resta won the opening race at the Hungaroring last year, who had started from thirteenth place on the grid.

“It’s great that another weekend is coming up very fast. It was a relatively successful weekend for myself at Lausitzring and certainly good for the team,” said di Resta. “The championship is really coming alive now. Last year, I had a great weekend in Budapest where I won a race. I’m hoping for good things, so let’s see how the weekend turns out.” 

The Briton was accompanied on the podium by BMW’s Glock and Bruno Spengler; the trio having all carried out a risky strategy by pitting very early in the race.

Sunday belonged to eventual series champion Rast, who having claimed pole on the Saturday put in a repeat performance on the Sunday.

Making a strong start from pole position Rast built a lead out front before taking his mandatory pitstop on lap 11. Re-emerging on track behind team-mate Mattias Ekström, fresh rubber helped the German to get ahead and go on to take his maiden victory.

The results from the weekend put Rast on top of the championship standings.

You can read the full race reports of what happened last year here: Race 1 | Race 2

What is the Schedule?

Friday 1 June

Free Practice 1 – 16.05 CEST

Saturday 2 June

Free Practice 2 – 08.35

Qualifying 1 – 11.20

Race 1 – 13.30

Sunday 3 June

Free Practice 3 – 8.30

Qualifying 2 – 11.20

Race 2 – 13.30

Where Can I Watch the DTM Action at the Hungaroring?

Fans in the UK are able to watch all sessions live on the DTM Youtube page – remember to select the English streams. It is also streamed live on FaceBook but is with German commentary only.

It is also aired on the FreeSports, but contains adverts.

How Can I Keep Up with the Action?

The action from every session as well as any breaking news will be shared here on TCF!

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About author
An NCTJ accredited Journalism Graduate covering DTM and the FIA Formula 3 Championship.
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