2018 DTM Series: Red Bull Ring – Talking Points

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Paul di Resta and Gary Paffett: 2018 DTM Series - Red Bull Ring
Credit: DTM Media

Round nine of the 2018 DTM Series took place at the Red Bull Ring at the weekend.

The penultimate round of the championship threw up a mixture of conditions, with the entirety of Saturday taking place in wet conditions.

René Rast continued the fine form he had shown at the Nürburgring to win both races and throw himself back into title contention.

Heading to the finale in HockenheimPaul di Resta sits on top of the championship standings with Gary Paffett four points behind.

Juncadella Penalty

At the end of Saturday’s race Dani Juncadella was handed a drive through penalty for an infringement of the second safety car restart.

The penalty caused controversy, with the Spaniard leading the race at the time.

Even more so, confusion as to why the penalty had been handed out in the first place with fans, former drivers watching and Juncadella’s rivals voicing their concerns.

Clarification came from the series on Sunday morning saying that the Mercedes driver had accelerated too early.

Audi Tactics

With Juncadella receiving a penalty, it looked like the Audi of Mike Rockenfeller behind was set to win the race.

However, having started the final lap in fourth it was Rast who took the victory.

With the German the only driver from the team with the mathematical chance of taking the title, Audi told Nico Müller and Rockenfeller to let the reigning champion through.

It was not easy for Rockenfeller who had just one corner to allow his countryman through into second, which became first with Juncadella’s penalty.

On Sunday, it was Müller who was leading the race when Rast caught up to him and posed no challenge when the latter attacked.

Fans, and former drivers, of the spot took to social media to voice their disappointment at the team orders – especially after Saturday’s race.

However, the drivers saw no issue with it and knew that making way for Rast was necessary in keeping the title fight alive.

Advantage di Resta

Arriving in Austria, Paffett held a two point advantage over di Resta in the championship.

Having scored just one point on Saturday to di Resta’s twelve, the championship swung ten points in the favour of the Scot.

Pole position and a third place on Sunday meant Paffett clawed back six points to reduce the gap to four points.

Furthermore, arriving in Austria eight drivers still had a chance to fight for the title but that has now been reduced to just three.

With the Mercedes drivers split by four points and Rast 30 points behind di Resta – with 56 to play for – it is likely to come down between the Mercedes pair with a slim outside chance for the Audi-man.

The DTM Series returns to action 12-14 October at Hockenheim for the 2018 finale.


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