Spielberg 2014: BMW dominates – and the competitors goofed it
For Marco Wittmann, it was an important step on his way to securing the 2014 DTM title. In the sixth race of last year’s season, the German secured his third win of the year, at Austria’s Red Bull Ring, thus extending his championship lead. When the race was over, the BMW camp was absolutely delighted as Augusto Farfus, Timo Glock and Martin Tomczyk also secured second to fourth positions for the Bavarian brand. But it has to be admitted that BMW benefited from major mistakes of their competitors.
Mercedes-Benz in particular encountered a truly disastrous day – although their start into the race meeting in Austria had been truly great, with Robert Wickens securing pole in the qualifying on Saturday and Pascal Wehrlein securing the promising fifth position on the grid. And while Wickens succeeded in defending his lead, after the start, Wehrlein even worked his way up to fourth as Wittmann made a poor start, from his third position on the grid, and dropped back to fifth. Meanwhile, Farfus and Wickens entertained the crowds during the first half of the race with a fierce battle for the lead. Following numerous successful attacks, the Brazilian finally passed the Canadian. With hindsight, Farfus could have spared himself this stressful fight: during the pit-stop of the Canadian, his HWA pit crew made for an unsafe release and Wickens received a drive-thru penalty. Even more annoying for Wickens: his team didn’t inform him on his penalty but appealed against the penalty, instead. Wickens raced on and after the three-lap deadline he was black-flagged – disqualification. For Mercedes-Benz representative Wolfgang Schattling, the decision was a major nuisance: “This definitely wasn’t an unsafe release. From our point of view, this was one of the most blatant wrong decisions in the history of DTM.”
As Wehrlein damaged his car in a collision with Wittmann that massively that he had to retire a short time later, the four BMWs at the front end of the field now could race on without a threat. Consequently, BMW could decide who should win the race. It will come as no surprise that they opted for championship leader Wittmann – who therefore could pass Glock and Farfus without resistance of them. While a mistake of Jamie Green prevented the Briton from becoming a factor in the battle for the podium positions. Green completed 23 laps on the soft tyres, thus exceeding the allowed maximum – and received a drive-thru penalty that cost him dearly. At the end of the day, Timo Scheider in fifth position was the best Audi driver and Christian Vietoris the best Mercedes-Benz driver by finishing ninth.