Wickens wins from Vietoris – first podium 2015 for BMW
Mercedes-Benz has also maintained its dominance at the Norisring in the race on Sunday. From the halfway point in the race, Robert Wickens and Christian Vietoris pulled clear from their opponents and secured the 1-2 for the manufacturer from Stuttgart. Wickens had a near-perfect weekend in Nuremberg. After his second place on Saturday, the Canadian repeated his success from the race in the year before. “This is just fantastic,” an overjoyed Wickens delighted after spraying the champagne during the prize-giving ceremony. Behind him, Vietoris drove an undisputed second place home: “For me, the race was relatively quiet. After the pit stops, it was more like cruising. I couldn’t get to the front any more and I had no danger coming up from behind.” Behind the duo of Mercedes drivers, BMW driver Bruno Spengler and Audi’s Mattias Ekström staged a thrilling battle for the third and final slot on the podium. A duel that Spengler managed to decide in his favour in the penultimate lap to secure the first podium finish of the 2015 season for the BMW brand.
The first third of the race provided the fans along the street circuit with first-class motorsport action including hard, but fair duels. From the start, pole-sitter Bruno Spengler in his BMW was exposed to heavy attacks by the Mercedes-Benz drivers. After a good start, the Canadian came out of the first corner as the leader in the race. Behind him, his compatriot Wickens was already biding his chance after an equally good start in which he overtook Vietoris to move up from third on the grid to second place in the race. Next up was Lucas Auer, who had passed Mattias Ekström after the start. In this order, the front runners drove around the track 13 times. Spengler drove in a charging way and defended his position with everything he had. Then, however, his rivals came to the fore. Wickens was the first to overtake the leader in the Grundig hairpin. Spengler’s counter-attack was unsuccessful and the others saw their chances. On the same lap, Vietoris, Auer and Ekström also overtook the Canadian. As the leading group headed onto the main straight, Spengler only found himself in fifth place and was exposed to the attacks by sixth-placed Pascal Wehrlein with the Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM, but he managed to stay ahead of the German. “The two Mercedes were simply too fast, there was no way for me to stay ahead of them,” Spengler explained.
For the best-placed Audi driver in the field, Mattias Ekström, the time of the hard battles now had started in earnest. The Swede put DTM rookie Auer under massive pressure and overtook the Austrian on lap 18. However, Auer made things anything but easy for Ekström. At that time, Auer already knew that he wouldn’t be in contention for a podium finish. Because his car hadn’t been lined up correctly on the starting grid, he incurred a five seconds’ penalty that he had to fulfil during his pit stop. However, the nephew of ex-Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger continued his brave battle and eventually scored the first points of his DTM career by finishing ninth. Auer: “I am really happy with my first points. Now, I have arrived in the DTM. The duels were great fun. Too bad that I got a penalty, otherwise I could have been even further up.”
While Wickens and Vietoris were completing their laps in an untroubled manner, the duel that made its mark on the final stages took place behind them: Bruno Spengler got closer and closer to Ekström in the battle for third place. Time and again, the Canadian attempted to overtake the Swede. “But he simply didn’t make any mistakes,” Spengler commented his attempts that initially were in vain. On the penultimate lap, he started his final and decisive attack in the Grundig hairpin: with some risk and slight contact, Spengler worked his way past Ekström and secured third place.
For Jamie Green, who dropped out of the top ten after losing out in duels against Maxime Martin and Auer, there were no points this time. Nevertheless, the Audi driver remains in the lead of the drivers’ standings with 81 points after six races. Ekström reduced the gap and now has 70 points as Green’s main rival. Pascal Wehrlein moved up to third place. After his win on Saturday and fifth place on Sunday, he now has 67 points. After the almost frightening dominance for Audi and Jamie Green in the first four races, the battle for the title now is fully open again after the race weekend at Norisring that attracted 123,000 spectators. Motorsport fans can look forward to the fourth race weekend at Zandvoort (Netherlands), July 10-12 with great anticipation.