DTMSuper GT

DTM Hockenheim II: Rast wins Race 1 after battle with Wittmann

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René Rast - DTM Series - 2019 Hockenheim II
Credit: DTM

René Rast secured the Teams’ Championship for Audi Sport Team Rosberg with his seventh win of the 2019 DTM Series season ahead of BMW Team RMG‘s Marco Wittmann.

Rast finished 1.6 seconds ahead of Wittmann, who briefly took the lead in the mid-part of the 38-lap race, to create an insurmountable advantage over Audi Team Abt Sportsline.

Mike Rockenfeller ensured a double podium for Audi in third place, reaping the benefits of a bizarre late pitstop for his marque stablemate Nico Müller.

Rast lead the majority of the race, that was disrupted by a Safety Car period for Philipp Eng‘s stricken BMW on lap 19, from his eighth pole position of the season to take his ’19 points total past 300 points.

Wittmann relinquished his second place at to Rockenfeller at Turn 2 in a frantic start, while Loïc Duval kept in close contact after getting the better of fourth-place man Timo Glock.

Rast soon started to extend away from Rockenfeller, opening up a 1.1s lead in the first seven laps, while the latter was kept very busy by the squabbling Wittmann, Glock and Duval.

Rockenfeller was powerless to contain Wittmann’s attack for second on lap 12 with a move at the left-hander of Turn 8, and came in for his mandatory pitstop three laps later.

BMW Team RMG was the first to blink out of the top two for pitstops three laps after taking second place, while Rast stopped on the following lap – moments before Eng’s stoppage prompted the Safety Car.

That looked to have played into the hands of Müller, who only fell to fifth place from the provisional lead of the race, as the top three returned to its natural order.

Wittmann initially came under severe pressure from Rockenfeller and Glock at the restart, but powered on to close up on Rast on lap 25.

A simple pass at the hairpin of Turn 6 looked to have freed the two-time champion to claim his first win since Race 1 at Brands Hatch, but his lead was short-lived.

Marco Wittmann & Timo Glock - DTM Series - 2019 Hockenheim II
Credit: BMW Motorsport

After supreme traction off the hairpin of Turn 6 the following lap, Rast pulled back past the BMW to squeeze through on the inside of Turn 7, holding his nerve into the intense braking zone of Turn 8 to maintain the position.

Having run out of DRS and Push-to-Pass usages, Wittmann could not sustain a challenge to Rast and had little to fear behind.

But the battle for third was decided in Rockenfeller’s favour by a baffling late pitstop from Müller on lap 34, with his Abt Sportsline team saying over the radio “you made a point with P3”.

Müller also received a drive-through for speeding in the pitlane, demoting him to seventeenth place.

Robin Frijns recovered from a relatively disappointing qualifying session with fourth place, over 17 seconds behind the leaders as the lead Audi Abt Sportsline driver.

Duval emerged as the winner of an intense late fight with Glock, who suffered a door malfunction in the early stages and was forced to replace it in an early stop.

Paul di Resta secured good points for R-Motorsport with seventh place from sixteenth on the grid, despite reporting that something felt “loose” on his Aston Martin.

Bruno Spengler and Joel Eriksson also claimed points with resilient drives to eight and tenth respectively from BMW Team RMG and Team RBM respectively.

The lead SUPER GT car was Jenson Button in the Team Kunimitsu Honda in a highly-commendable ninth place, having fallen down the order through a slow pitstop on lap 17.

Dani Juncadella and Eng retired from the race with mechanical issues, while Ferdinand Habsburg did not start the race in his Aston Martin due to an engine problem.

Tsugio Matsuda was left stranded on the grid at the formation lap with a broken driveshaft, but returned to the race in the NISMO-backed Nissan on lap 16.

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DTM, Formula 1 writer and deputy editor for The Checkered Flag. Autosport Academy member and freelance voice over artist.
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