René Rast wins DTM title in his first season Collaboration with Japan for the future
Photo and report: Willem J. Staat
For the first ever the spectacular Japanese GT500 cars from the Japanese Super GT championship did demonstration runs with a view to the future. Former GP driver Heikki Kovalainen(Lexus) and Ronnie Quintarelli(Nissan) did two demonstration runs with the DTM cars during the weekend whilst they had more than 35 minutes on Friday. But to watch them for the first time it was a blast. Especially for Hockenheim Michelin as well as Bridgestone had developed a special compound which even is not available to the Japanese teams. On average they were 2 secs. quicker than the current generation of DTM cars. Perfect homework from Nissan and Lexus. In the future the DTM and SuperGT will run according to the same regulations, starting from 2019 onwards.
Audi went into the last race with the enormous luxury that four of their drivers could clinch the championship. Green, Rast, Rockenfeller and Ekström. The first race on Saturday was being taken by Jamie Green whilst BMW polesitter Timo Glock finished third and Mike Rockenfeller 2nd. Glock lost his 2nd place in the final lap to Rockenfeller. Jamie Green: “I enjoyed the battle with Glock. It was hard and fair. Rockenfeller took advantage from a strategic stop in the 23rd lap and came from 7th place quickly to the front.” BMW-driver Maxime Martin who’d started. from the front row finished 4th.
Outgoing champion Marco Wittmann took the last win of the season with RMG BMW M4 DTM. For Wittmann it meant his 9th DTM win. “It is always important to win the last race of the season” the German said. His successor René Rast had a miserable start, losing three places. His Audi mates Ekström and Green were moved back to the grid after Saturday’s race and were not a serious threat in the opening stages. In the race they came no further than 5th and 8th. When Rast overtook Robert Wickens in the third lap, the title came somewhat closer and Rockenfeller had to win. Otherwise he had no chance at all. When Rast crossed the line in 2nd position he took his championship at Hockenheim. Three years earlier he had already clinched the prestigious ADAC GT Masters title with C.Abt Prosperia Racing. The newly crownd champion: “I cannot believe this, this has to sink in and this is the best day of my life.”After the race Rast needed really some time to sink it in as no one from his team could find him…….
Lando Norris took his first F3 title by finishing second in the first race with his Carlin Motorsport Dallara. The race was being taken by Joel Eriksson from Sweden, Calumn Illott and Maxi Günther won the other race. Christian Engelhart won the first German Porsche Cup Race whilst Thomas Preining won the second one. The title went to Porsche Junior driver Dennis Olsen. The Audi TT Cup will not be continued and Briton Phillipp Ellis took the title their. The Audi Legends race was being taken by Frank Stippler. The last ever TT event in which all successfull Audi contracted drivers from the past had been selected.