DTM is facing a heart-stopping finale on Sunday: with his victory in the Saturday race, Austrian Lucas Auer has reduced the gap to championship leader Sheldon van der Linde to only two points. With the WINWARD Mercedes-AMG, Auer claimed pole position and went on to score his second race win of the season. South African Sheldon van der Linde saw his chances in danger of being reduced after he was dropped from sixth to 16th place in qualifying following a rule infringement by his team Schubert Motorsport. However, in an action-packed race, the 23-year-old BMW works driver charged all the way up to second place. Third place on the podium in DTM Hockenheimring powered by AUDI went to two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann (GER) with the Walkenhorst BMW.
“It was a tough race and I am glad that nobody got seriously injured in the accidents,” Lucas Auer said. “The battles with Marco Wittmann and at the end also with Dev Gore were really close. Anyway, I am very happy.”
The 15th and penultimate race of the season, also the 100th DTM race at Hockenheimring, wasn’t just about the battle for the title, but also about accidents that resulted into two safety car interventions and an interruption of the race. On the opening lap, Arjun Maini spun off the track with the HRT Mercedes-AMG and ended up rearwards in the barrier. Thus, the Indian caused the first safety car intervention. After the restart, the next accident happened in the first corner already, involving Rolf Ineichen (SUI, GRT Lamborghini), his teammate Clemens Schmid (AUT) and Marius Zug (GER, Attempto Audi). On the same lap, Thomas Preining (AUT, Team Bernhard Porsche) and David Schumacher (GER, WINWARD Mercedes-AMG) collided as well, as did, a few metres further down, Ricardo Feller (SUI, ABT Audi) and Dennis Olsen (NOR), from whose SSR Porsche even the engine was torn out under fire. Following a check of the affected drivers in the medical centre, Schumacher, Olsen and Ineichen were taken to nearby hospitals for further examination but were soon released. At least Schumacher will not be racing on Sunday as his Mercedes-AMG can’t be repaired at the race track.
Next to Sheldon van der Linde, now at 149 points, and Lucas Auer at 147 points, three-time DTM champion René Rast (GER, ABT Audi, 128) and Mirko Bortolotti (ITA, GRT Lamborghini, 121) also still have mathematical chances of winning the title on Sunday (race start at 1.30pm CEST, live on ProSieben from 1pm). Rast finished fifth behind American Dev Gore, who had led the race until just before the end following a very early pit stop with the Rosberg Audi while Bortolotti finished seventh behind Austrian Philipp Eng (Schubert BMW).