2018 DTM Series: Hockenheim II – Talking Points

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Gary Paffett: 2018 DTM Series - Hockenheim II
Credit: DTM Media

The 2018 DTM Series has reached its close, following the finale at Hockenheim.

Round ten of the championship was met with great expectations with three drivers vying for the title.

Paul di Resta arrived leading the championship by four points over Gary Paffett with René Rast 26 points behind Paffett with 56 available.

All three of them have won the championship previously, with Rast the reigning champion having won the title in 2017 in a similar situation.

In the end it was Paffett that emerged as the champion once again.

Mercedes said goodbye to the DTM after 30 years in the championship to focus on other ventures.

Big News for 2019

Before the weekend had really gotten underway, there was major news announced regarding the 2019 season.

Firstly, that Aston Martin will be joining the championship potentially as early as next year.

Aston Martin, will embark on a joint venture with R-Motorsport and HWA to bring a Vantage based race car onto the grid.

No other team has claimed more victories, podiums or poles in the DTM than HWA therefore meaning they are perfect to take responsibility of the project.

This was followed on Friday morning by the announcement of the 2019 calendar.

As usual the season will start and finish at Hockenheim, with the season opener taking place 3-5 May and will come to a close on 4-6 October.

TT Circuit of Assen and Zolder will be new additions to the calendar, although Zolder is considered the birthplace of the DTM.

Due to these additions, ZandvoortHungaroring and the Red Bull Ring have all been dropped.

Finally, WRT will be joining the series as an Audi customer team following the opening up of non-factory teams.

The team, are well known in the sports car world for racing their Audi R8 LMS since 2009 to multiple race wins and titles.

For 2019, they will join the DTM fielding a pair of Audi RS5 DTMs.

With drivers set to be announced, they do have experience with Robin FrijnsNico Müller and René Rast.

Paffett Crowned 2018 DTM Champion

Thirteen years. That is how long Paffett had to wait between his two DTM titles.

Having claimed his first title back in 2005, it was a long wait for the Briton to reclaim his crown.

Somewhat, ironically Mercedes and Paffett are now set to leave the championship with them both moving to Formula E.

Consistency was key for Paffett who claimed three victories in 2018, compared to Rast’s seven, plus seven further podium finishes and starting in the top three eleven times boosted the Briton’s chances.

A faltering di Resta, played into Paffett’s hands with second and third on the grid and fourth and third in the races handing him 32 points.

Even Rast claiming his fifth and sixth wins in a row was not enough to stop the Briton.

Six in a Row for René Rast

It was a difficult start to 2018 for the reigning champion Rast.

A horrific crash at the Lausitzring meant the Audi man was not able to participate in Sunday’s race.

Non-scoring finishes, and finishing in the tail end of the points that Rast’s hopes of retaining his crown looked slim.

However, this all change at Zandvoort with him returning to the top step of the podium in Race 2.

From there it was looking up for Rast, despite a retirement from Race 1 at Misano, as he found himself in record breaking form.

At the Nürburgring, Rast achieved a feat not yet achieved by anyone else in claiming maximum points for a weekend with two poles and two wins.

From there he did not look back, winning both races again at the Red Bull Ring.

This placed him 30 points adrift heading into the finale, with him knowing he needed to carry on winning.

And win he did. After an intense battle in Saturday’s race, Rast claimed the upper hand over Paffett to take win number five in a row.

On Sunday, Rast took advantage of a slow starting Marco Wittmann from pole to sail into the lead which he maintained for the rest of the race.

As a result, Rast missed out on the title by just four points.

Auf Wiedersehen Mercedes

After 30 years in the DTM, Mercedes has decided it is time to go.

In their last season, for now, the Stuttgart based brand claimed all three titles with fans confused as to why they would leave.

Rivals Audi and BMW made their thoughts clear with the former running with “See You” on their cars and on their hospitality – the ‘o’ replaced by the Mercedes star.

Similarly, BMW’s message was that they would wait for them to return.

Paffett and Pascal Wehrlein have already been confirmed to be joining Formula E.

Edoardo Mortara already races in FE for Venturi.

Di Resta has signed with United Autosports for the 2018/2019 Asian LMS.

This just leaves questions as to where Lucas Auer and Dani Juncadella will end up.

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