Auer wins thrilling DTM season-opening race
The start od the 2017 DTM season at Hockenheim was fantastic! The Austrian Lucas Auer won in an exciting race what is the second triumph in his DTM career.
The rules and regulations changes made before the start of the season proved to be a good one. With a new mandatory pit-stop rule teams have a plenty of opportunities to plan their strategy. The cars are obviously faster, we saw many overtaking but also many mistakes from the mechanics of various teams during pit-stops.
Mercedes did an excellent job in qualifying. Lucas Auer won the pole position for the first race of the season and also won three points. He was followed Gary Paffett and Edoardo Mortara. Another Mercedes driver Paul Di Resta qualified 6th for the race, with two BMWs of Timo Glock and Maxime Martin separating the Stuttgarters. Nico Muller was the best-placed Audi driver in eighth while the reigning champion Marco Wittmann started from P11.
The only change after the start of the race was that Glock took the 3rd position from Mortara and soon Glock moved up to the 2nd. The woes for Audi continued after Muller dropped to the 10th place. Auer’s advantage increased from lap to lap and after 10 minutes he already was 7 seconds ahead of Glock and Paffett who soon made a mistake and allowed Mortara to move up to the 3rd position.
Mattias Ekstrom did a great job for Audi. Former champion started from P17 and after 20 minutes of racing, he was on P8 battling with Wittmann to go further up. While the most drivers went to mandatory pit-stop in the mid stage of the race, Ekstrom and rookie Loic Duval stayed on the track longer and nominally were on the positions 1 and 2. Mike Rockenfeller, another Audi driver, profited from the good strategy and moved to the 4th place with 20 minutes to go.
With 13 minutes to go, all drivers completed the pit stop and we could see Auer as the race leader, followed by Glock and Rockenfeller but the gaps were small. In the last five minutes, Glock was all over Auer but the Mercedes driver defended well and deserved victory. Timo must be happy with the 2nd place, just as Rockenfeller with the 3rd after resisting the late attack of Mortara, so we had all of three manufacturers on the podium.
The race 2 od the DTM season-opening weekend starts on Sunday 15:18 CET.