Marco Wittmann says he fully expected a close fight with Audi Sport‘s René Rast towards the end of the first race of the Brands Hatch DTM Series weekend.
Wittmann converted his fourth pole of the 2019 season into a fourth win, but faced losing out to championship leader Rast as he struggled with his tyres.
Rast closed a comfortable looking five-second gap with four laps remaining to just 1.4s heading into the final lap of the 42-lap race, finishing 0.374s behind Wittmann at the flag.
The BMW Motorsport driver said that the Audi’s progress was not unexpected and that the situation was manageable.
“Well, it was not a surprise,” Wittmann told The Checkered Flag.
“I saw him in the mirror the whole time, even with the five second gap, so it wasn’t a surprise. It was actually just managing the gap, to be honest.
“Five minutes before the end it was clear that he was going to close because he was able to use DRS and push-to-pass, and I couldn’t as the leader.
“At the end I struggled a bit more than René with the tyres, but it was clear to me that the race and the laps would tick down – so it was pretty safe.”
Wittmann now trails Rast by 32 points in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of tomorrow’s final race of the Brands meeting, and is aiming to take the first clean sweep of wins over a weekend in his seven-year DTM career.
A strong weekend at Assen last time out helped salvage his previously fading championship challenge, winning a wet Race 1 and recovering from a disastrous qualifying to take second in Race 2 – scoring the most points out of any driver over the weekend.
When asked about his chances of repeating his Saturday performance, Wittmann said: “That would be the ideal scenario.
“In the DTM it’s always difficult to repeat it, but that will be the aim.
“I think we have good pace and we’ve done a good job since Assen in scoring points, and today was a perfect day with full points – the aim is to continue like that.”