Nico Müller Wins in a Rain Soaked DTM Finale at Hockenheim

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Credit: Audi Media Centre

Nico Müller took victory in the final DTM Series race of 2019 at a rain soaked Hockenheim.

Joining the Swiss driver on the podium was Mike Rockenfeller and René Rast.

A disappointing weekend for Paul di Resta became even worse as he ground to a halt on the second of the two formation laps and was out of the race before it had even started.

Timo Glock bogged down at the start as Marco Wittmann and Rockenfeller made strong getaways and the trio ran side-by-side into the first turn.

Rast got a run on the pack and fought through to second, going wheel to wheel with Glock, Wittmann and Rockenfeller as he moved up six places in two corners.

Meanwhile, Nico Müller held onto to the lead as everyone battled behind him.

The safety car was deployed after Nick Cassidy‘s SuperGT was hit by the Audi of Jonathan Aberdein bringing an end to the New Zealander’s race.

However the race was red flagged after the R-Motorsport Aston Martin of Dani Juncadella was in flames at the side of the track.

During the red flag period the stewards used the time to hand Jamie Green a penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, ordering him to switch positions with Joel Eriksson when the race was back underway.

However the Briton soon retook the position from the Swedish driver.

When the racing resumed, Rast reacted well to Müller getting the action back underway and was straight on the attack.

Philipp Eng and Pietro Fittipaldi were handed drive through penalties for breaking the three minute rule – where there cannot be any members of their team on the grid when the three minute warning is sounded .

On lap five, a whole host of drivers jumped into the pits for their mandatory stops with; Rockenfeller, Wittmann, Glock, Robin Frijns, Jake Dennis, Aberdein, Ferdinand Habsburg, Sheldon van der Linde and Eng all diving into the pits.

Wittmann was then handed a drive through penalty for an unsafe release, after making contact with Aberdein as he left his pit box.

Race leader Müller pitted the lap after, but it was a slow stop which allowed Rast to undercut Müller when he pitted a lap after him.

On cold tyres, Rast had to defend from his team-mate but got out of shape which allowed the Swiss driver to sail past.

Rockenfeller took advantage of the struggling Rast to pass him for second of those who had pitted.

The Champion seemed to be struggling after his mandatory stop, with Glock next to put the Audi-man under pressure but Rast held on.

As the clock ticked down, the positions stabilised with little action happening as the race headed into its final twenty minutes.

Having managed to compose himself after struggling for a few laps after his pit stop Rast was putting in the fastest laps as he settled back in.

The Champion was pumping in the laps as he pushed to catch up to Rockenfeller, with Müller way off in the distance.

Out front Green and Eriksson were going as long as possible until they served their mandatory pitstop.

Green and Eriksson both pitted at the end of the penultimate lap, meaning a tough defence on the final lap on cold tyres.

The Briton came out ahead of Glock but the German easily passed the Audi driver coming out of the hairpin – Eriksson just behind the pair.

In the lead, Müller claimed the victory and second in the championship.

Rockenfeller was second with Rast in third.

Glock held onto fourth after passing Green.

Eriksson was sixth ahead of Frijns as Dennis, Bruno Spengler and Loïc Duval completed the top ten.

Habsburg was eleventh as Wittmann finished in twelfth after having to serve his penalty.

Behind was BMW duo van der Linde and Eng.

Fittipaldi, Jenson Button and Ronnie Quintarelli completed the finishers.

Aberdein, Juncadella, Cassidy and di Resta made up the non-finishers.

It is not all over for the DTM however, as at the end of November they will be making a trip to Japan to compete in a ‘Dream Race’ against the SuperGT field at the Fuji Speedway.

2019 DTM Series: Hockenheim II – Race Two

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