Preview: 2018 DTM Series – Hockenheim II


Gary Paffett, Paul di Resta and Rene Rast: 2018 DTM Series
Credit: DTM Media

After nine rounds, eighteen races, the finale of the 2018 DTM Series is upon us.

Taking place as tradition at Hockenheim, three drivers are still within the chance of taking home the title.

All three have been champions in the past Gary Paffett in 2005, Paul di Resta in 2010 and René Rast is the reigning champion.

But only one of them will become a two-time DTM champion at the end of this weekend.

Di Resta leads the way on 229 points, with Paffett just four points behind him.

It will be a far greater challenge for Rast, who is 30 points behind di Resta but with 56 points available anything can and will happen.

This weekend will also be Mercedes‘ final in the series as they focus their attentions elsewhere.

What Happened Last Time Out at the Red Bull Ring?

Last time out at the Red Bull Ring, it was once again Rast the man to beat.

Coming off the back of a perfect weekend at the Nürburgring the Audi-man flung himself back into title contention.

With a late safety car handing race leader Dani Juncadella it meant Mike Rockenfeller had been on course to claim the victory but, Audi ordered both Nico Müller and Rockenfeller to let Rast through on the final lap so the German would take the victory.

Similarly in Sunday’s race, it was Müller leading this time when he received the order to move over for Rast.

The Swiss-man posed no challenge and once again let him through.

Many fans and former drivers took to social media following the races to bemoan the team orders but the drivers knew it was necessary to do so.

With four wins in a row, Rast was able to turn his season around and maintain hope of keeping his crown, he did arrive at the finale last season second in the standings with a 21 point deficit.

It will not be an easy feat for the German to repeat that this year.

What Happened at the DTM Finale in 2017?

Last year, fans were treated to a demo run by the DTM and Super GT cars as a preview for what is to come when the Class One regulations come into force.

This allowed Gerhard Berger and Masaaki Bandoh to discuss how it would be possible for the two series to compete against one another.

DTM will adapt the regulations in 2019, with Super GT following suit in 2020.

After the action on Saturday, Mattias Ekström and Jamie Green found themselves the best placed to fight for the championship.

Green took the victory, his most recent in the series, with Ekström eleventh and Rast sixth to reignite the title fight.

However, reprimands for the pair meant they had to serve grid penalties for Sunday’s race and subsequently gave Rast an easier task of making up lost ground.

Championship Standings: 2018 DTM Series
The championship standings, and the journey to get there going into the finale (Credit:DTM Media)

With the two men ahead of him in the championship starting fourteenth and fifteenth as a result of penalties, and starting second on the grid Rast had a clear opportunity of claiming the title.

Everything was going the German’s way as if even if he and Ekström had finished level on points he still would have ended as champion due to having more race victories.

The race was actually won by out-going champion Marco Wittmann, who had it not been for a disqualification at Zandvoort would have been fighting for the tile too but was fifth in the standings just 19 points adrift Rast.

It was the last weekend in the championship for: Robert WickensMaro EngelMattias Ekström (officially, although he had a farewell race at the Hockenheim opener this year), Tom Blomqvist (who started from pole position for the finale race) and Maxime Martin who all have moved on from the series.

What is the Schedule?

Friday 12 October

Free Practice 1: 15.45 CEST

Saturday 13 October

Free Practice 2: 9.00

Qualifying 1: 10.55

Race 1: 13.30

Sunday 14 October

Free Practice 3: 9.00

Qualifying 2: 11.10

Race 2: 13.30

WHERE CAN I WATCH THE DTM ACTION AT HOCKENHEIM?

Coverage of the DTM Series is available through FreeSports, with the series no longer offering their YouTube streams to UK viewers.

On Saturday, the geoblock has removed meaning UK viewers will be able to watch via the YouTube stream.

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!