Surprisingly dominant – Blomqvist takes first DTM race win
Young DTM drivers made their mark on the DTM race at Oschersleben on Sunday, first and foremost BMW driver Tom Blomqvist. The 21-year-old Brit pulled clear from his opponents and scored his maiden DTM victory in his first season in the series. The manner in which he drove victory home was more than impressive. On nearly every lap, Blomqvist was faster than the opposition and went on to cross the finish line with a margin of almost eight seconds from team-mate Augusto Farfus. “That was the longest race of my life. I was out there leading the race for such a long time, I was really yearning for the finish,” the DTM rookie said after his first great success. “Simply unbelievable that I was able to win here.” All in all, the second race in the Magdeburger Börde had some similarities with the race on Saturday.
For instance, on Sunday, the BMW Team RBM copied the performance from their colleagues at MTEK the day before: with Blomqvist and Farfus, the team’s two drivers finished in the first two positions, which MTEK had achieved with Timo Glock and Bruno Spenger on Saturday. Farfus: “I tried everything, but Tom simply was a little bit faster every time. He has absolutely deserved this win. It was a great weekend for me, for my team and for my manufacturer.” Like on Saturday, four BMWs locked out the first four positions: last year’s champion Marco Wittmann ended up third, António Félix da Costa finished in fourth place. Once again, seven of the eight BMW drivers managed to score points. Another similarity: Pascal Wehrlein again was the only one who was able to keep up with the drivers of the Munich-based brand. The Mercedes-Benz driver finished fifth, like on Saturday, while his fiercest rival in the battle for the title, Mattias Ekström, once again failed to score points.
On top of that, the opening stages of the race on Sunday had similarities with the one from the day before, although the main actors were different. For instance, Farfus started from pole position ahead of his team-mate, but lost his position straight away. Blomqvist had an excellent start and went past the Brazilian before the first corner. For Wehrlein, the situation was the opposite: he wasn’t able to hold on to his third grid position after a poor start. Félix da Costa and Marco Wittmann went past the German in the chicane to secure the four-way lead for BMW that was to remain unaffected until the end of the race. However, just like on Saturday, not every driver made it through the narrow S-corner just after the start-and-finish straight without damaghe. Christian Vietoris collided with Miguel Molina, Lucas Auer tangled with Nico Müller. The safety car was deployed and the race was over for both Audi drivers.
When racing resumed at the end of the third lap, Mattias Ekström already had made up plenty of positions. The Swede had moved up from 18th to 13th place and was already closely behind Jamie Green and Bruno Spengler, his two direct rivals in the battle for the title. Two laps later, Green started a spirited attack on Spengler in the chicane, went past the Canadian and claimed eleventh place. Green’s hard, but fair manoeuvre briefly forced Spengler into the gravel trap, a situation that Ekström used immediately to get past the BMW driver as well. Behind Maxime Martin in tenth place, the trio with good chances in the drivers’ standings started their hunt for Vietoris. The latter initially had to let Martin past and then saw his three rivals passing by like a steam-roller: Green, Ekström and Spengler dealt with the Mercedes-Benz driver in the chicane and demoted him from tenth to 13th place.
The final decision about the order in the four-way battle group came after the pit stops. Spengler was the first driver to come in for the mandatory tyre changes on lap eleven. His rivals followed one lap later. All drivers having rejoined the race, Green had overtaken Martin for eighth place thanks to his quick pit stop, but Spengler managed to get past Ekström into tenth place after the quick change by his team. All four drivers held on to their positions until the end of the race. While his rivals battled for the final points, championship leader Wehrlein drove an undisputed fifth place home. Wehrlein: “I had hoped for more, but today, I didn’t have the necessary speed and I got the maximum out of it. As far as the battle for the title is concerned, this race made me happy.” For Blomqvist, the race didn’t end with a proper crossing of the finish line. With one lap remaining, Lucas Auer crashed his Mercedes-Benz heavily into the tyre stacks. Auer remained unscathed, but the race was stopped with the red flag and not restarted.
In the battle for the 2015 DTM crown, Pascal Wehrlein has now scored 140 points. After his non-score at Oschersleben, Mattias Ekström remains at 126 points. Audi driver Edoardo Mortara (110 points), who didn’t score any points either, remains third. With the results in the Magdeburger Börde, where the seventh race weekend of the season attracted a total of 66,000 spectators, BMW has moved up from last to first in the manufacturers’ standings and, with 488 points, now has a clear lead from Audi (422 points) and Mercedes-Benz (417 points). Prior to the last four races of the season, the situation in all the classifications remains exciting. The thrilling battle for the DTM title continues in the Eifel. Between September 25 and 27, the Nürburgring is the venue for the 15th and 16th race of the season, before the grand finale at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg (October 16-18) will bring about the final decision concerning victory or defeat.