BMW tops DTM Hockenheim II Friday practice

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Marco Wittmann - DTM Series - 2019 Hockenheim II
Credit: DTM

BMW Motorsport ended both Free Practice sessions fastest on Friday at the 2019 DTM Series finale at Hockenheim in mixed conditions through Timo Glock and Marco Wittmann.

Rain and a very wet track surface disrupted the 45-minute early afternoon session, and caused problems for a number of drivers in the stadium section, while the 30-minute session later on the day remained dry.

Team RMG‘s Wittmann had to settle for second in first practice, 0.169 seconds adrift of Team RMR driver Glock’s time of a 1:47.841 at the conclusion of the session, but returned to the top of a Friday classification for the first time since Misano with a lap of 1:29.881 in the second stage.

Glock fell to third place from his initial table-topping spot behind ’19 champion René Rast for Audi Team Rosberg, who couldn’t quite manage to get within six-tenths of Wittmann’s benchmark.

Rast’s Team Rosberg team-mate Jamie Green led a trio of Audi cars in fourth, fifth and sixth places but was the final man to stay less a second away from the ultimate pace.

Newly re-signed Nico Müller and Mike Rockenfeller claimed places at the base of the top six, ahead of Philipp Eng in the third-fastest BMW.

Audi Team WRT‘s Pietro Fittipaldi did not take part in Free Practice 1 but secured eighth place on his return to action in second practice, 1.2s shy of Wittmann.

Bruno Spengler and Loïc Duval footed the top 10 for BMW Team RMG and Audi Team Phoenix respectively.

2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button was the fastest of the three SUPER GT imports in both sessions, finishing as high as fifteenth place in second practice.

Jenson Button & Tsugio Matsuda - DTM Series - 2019 Hockenheim II
Credit: DTM

The Brit is the sole driver in the Team Kunimitsu Honda NSX-GT, while the TOM’s Lexus and NISMO Nissan squads are rotating two drivers through the weekend.

Ryo Hirakawa gathered good data for Lexus in Practice 2 with a full-carbon bonnet, after Nick Cassidy‘s touch with the wall in the rain at Sachskurve initiated some last-ditch repairs. Hirakawa was among the DTM cars in the standings, finishing 2.4s off the lead pace in seventeenth.

Tsugio Matsuda also went off in his Nissan at the Sachskurve, but kept it out of the wall, before ending Practice 1 nineteenth.

His team-mate Ronnie Quintarelli briefly ran inside the top five in the early stages of second practice, but ended up at the bottom of the field come the session’s end.

Paul di Resta suffered a worrying crash for R-Motorsport in the later session at the final corner, with onboard footage showing his steering wheel suddenly coming loose and spearing him into the wall.

The Scot emerged from the wreck unharmed, but there was notable damage to the front left corner of his Aston Martin.

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