Marco Wittmann in the #11 M4 DTM finished second in the Saturday DTM race at Hockenheim. He was headed for a podium in the final race of the season on Sunday, but a penalty for an unsafe release took him out of the points. Wittmann’s performance left him third in DTM drivers’ points for the season. BMW finished second to Audi in the manufacturers’ championship.
Audi’s René Rast, who had clinched the drivers’ title three weeks earlier at the Nürburgring, won race one, with Wittmann challenging him at times and ultimately finishing less than two seconds back. Timo Glock in sixth, Bruno Spengler in eighth, and Joel Eriksson in tenth also scored points for BMW on Saturday.
Wittmann was a contender in Sunday’s wet race, interrupted by a red flag when the R-Motorsport Aston Martin driven by Daniel Juncadella caught fire on lap one. When the race resumed, Wittmann remained a contender for a podium position until he was penalized for an unsafe release on his pit stop. He finished twelfth. Audi swept the podium on Sunday, with Nico Müller first, Mike Rockenfeller second, and Rast third. Glock was the best BMW finisher, coming across the line fourth. Eriksson was sixth and Spengler was ninth.
The Hockenheim event was the first in which the Japanese Super GT cars ran along with the DTM cars. Jenson Button, the 2009 Formula One world champion who is now driving in Super GT, where he is the defending champion, scored points in his Honda NSX-GT on Saturday (in the U.S., the car would be called an Acura). Button did not fare as well on Sunday, when he finished sixteenth. The other two Super GT cars on hand, entered by Nissan and Lexus, had a rough weekend. The Lexus finished thirteenth on Saturday and did not finish on Sunday, and the Nissan retired on Saturday and finished seventeenth on Sunday. While DTM and Super GT cars share technical regulations, there are significant differences between the cars. Button explains the differences and the Super GT cars’ disadvantage in a DTM race here. The DTM and Super GT cars will run together again in the “dream race” at the Fuji circuit in Japan in November; BMW will run three cars in the event. Alessandro Zanardi, Kamui Kobayashi, and a third driver to be named later will race for BMW at Fuji.
After Sunday’s race BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt said, “That was another extremely eventful race to round off the season here at Hockenheim. The weather played a dominant role and there were a few incidents where we didn’t really make life any easier for ourselves. That all meant that fourth place for Timo Glock was the best we could hope for. However, we were aiming for much better results this race Sunday. And that is true of the 2019 season as a whole. Congratulations to Marco Wittmann on third place in the overall standings. He celebrated four wins for us and we also enjoyed success with Philipp Eng and Bruno Spengler. Despite some trying circumstances, neither our drivers nor anyone else from our team ever stopped battling. I am very grateful for that. Now we are totally focused on working towards 2020, so that we can do better. Congratulations to Audi on winning the title—and congratulations are also in order to Aston Martin after a promising debut season. Just like with the appearance of the Japanese manufacturers at Hockenheim, the numerous innovations were a breath of fresh air for the DTM 2019. The series is definitely moving in the right direction. Now we are looking forward to a highlight to round off the DTM year at Fuji at the end of November.”—Brian Morgan
[Photo courtesy BMW Motorsport.]