DTM: Wittmann leads the dominance of BMW at Zandvoort
BMW was completely dominant in the first DTM race at Zandvoort taking first seven places! Reigning champion Marco Wittmann won the very close race in front of Antonio Felix da Costa and Maxime Martin and finally brought some joy for the Bavarians after six disappointing races this season.
It looked like everything went smoothly after the start, even after Augusto Farfus immediately lost his pole position. Brazilian dropped to fourth leaving another three BMW’s to move up. Reigning champion Marco Wittmann was on top followed by Antonio Felix da Costa and Maxime Martin.
Just before the end of first lap, big commotion was seen in the middle of the grid and Paul Di Resta stormed into the barriers and his Mercedes was destroyed. Safety car was called and after four laps race was restarted. In a meantime, Martin Tomczyk in BMW and Edoardo Mortara in Audi also were forced to retire.
At half of the race quartet of BMW’s was on the top of the grid chased by Gary Paffett in Mercedes and championship leader Jamie Green in Audi. Another three BMW’s with Bruno Spengler, Tom Blomqvist and Timo Glock, occupied positions from seven to nine, while former champion Mike Rockenfeller completed top 10.
As the gaps were very tight, everything was opened. Battles for every position were quite aggressive, so few more retirements were seen. Miguel Molina ended the race in lap 13, while two laps later Robert Wickens also had to go into garage. Lap 18 was the last for Jamie Green as he slided out of track and remained stucked in gravel causing slowing the race in sector 2.
Da Costa pushed hard on Wittmann in the last few minutes of the race, but champion kept first place and made first victory in the season for BMW. It was BMW’s total domination at Zandvoort as their drivers won the positions from 2 to 7 with Da Costa and Martin on podium. They were followed by Farfus, Spengler, Glock and Blomqvist. Paffett had to retire after he made a mistake in the literally final seconds of the race, so Rockenfeller finished eighth. Nico Muller was ninth and Pascal Wehrlein tenth as best placed Mercedes driver.