Wittmann displays great fighting – Mortara sets the fastest lap times
On the fifth race meeting of the season, at Spielberg, Austria, Audi drivers Edoardo Mortara and Mattias Ekström raced in a class of their own. Mortara won the Saturday race and the Swede the Sunday round. While the Italian proved to be the yardstick on the first two days, in brilliant sunshine, Ekström outpaced the rest of the field in the rain on Sunday. Performances that also were reflected by the weekend statistics. Nonetheless, the two Audi aces didn’t prevail in every area. In the first part of our selected Red Bull Ring postscripts, you will read – inter alia – about the great fighting spirit BMW’s reigning DTM Champion Marco Wittmann displayed in the cockpit of his BMW M4 DTM.
The fastest lap time of the weekend was set by Edoardo Mortara: The Italian dominated the first two days of the weekend. He was the quickest in the first practice session on Friday and proved to be just as invincible in the second practice session, the first qualifying session and the race on Saturday. Again and again, he and his Audi RS 5DTM set the fastest lap times. In the qualifying session he crossed the line in 1:24.714 minutes, thus setting the fastest lap of the weekend and his 1:24.793-minute lap in the second practice session was the second-fastest. Furthermore, he was the only driver who succeeded in breaking the 1:24.8-minute barrier. In the brilliant sunshine of the first two days of the weekend, the Audis truly proved to be the benchmark. In the second practice session, Jamie Green set the third-fastest lap time (1:24.859 minutes) and in the Saturday qualifying session the fourth-fastest (1:24.907). The third-ranked driver in this area was Pascal Wehrlein in his Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM. He set the fifth fastest time of the weekend (1:24,926 minutes) in the Saturday qualifying session and the six-fastest (1:24.944) in the second practice session.
The biggest numbers of positions at the Red Bull Ring were gained by Marco Wittmann and Lucas Auer: The reigning DTM champion virtually was tilting against windmills, in Austria. In both qualifying sessions, things didn’t run exactly smoothly, for Wittmann and his manufacturer, BMW. On Saturday, the BMW #1 started into the race from 12th grid position and on Sunday, Wittmann even had to settle for 21st position on the grid. But in the races, Wittmann gave his very best to secure better results. On Saturday, he gained three positions to finish ninth and score two championship points. On Sunday, he even gained 10 positions to take the chequered flag in 11th, thus nearly making it to the points once again. Altogether, Wittmann gained 13 positions in the Spielberg meeting. The same value was achieved by local hero Lucas Auer. On Saturday, the Austrian who started from the last position on the grid needed the early retirements of Martin Tomczyk (BMW), Robert Wickens (Mercedes-Benz) and Jamie Green (Audi) to gain three position but on Sunday, he passed 10 drivers to finish sixth, from his 16th grid position – the DTM rookie’s best result in the season to date. Third position in these statistics was secured by Nico Müller. The Audi driver gained a total of eight positions: two on Saturday, six on Sunday. His comeback in the Sunday race took the Swiss to fifth position – his best result in the season to date.
The biggest number of laps as race leader at Spielberg was completed by Mattias Ekström: In the second race, the Audi ace delivered in fantastic style, took the lead right at the start and never lost it until the race was over. Even after the pit stop, the Swede didn’t temporarily drop back. When he pitted for a fresh set of tyres on lap 19, his rivals already had executed their pit stops. And so, Ekström rejoined the race with a 7.6-second lead over his toughest rival, Gary Paffett in his Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM. At the end of the day, Ekström crossed the finish line after 34 laps and 147.08 kilometres respectively in the lead – the best value of the weekend. Consequently, the winner of the Saturday race, Edoardo Mortara, came second in this area. Despite his mulled start, the Italian held the race lead for 105.75 kilometres and 25 laps respectively, with his Audi RS 5 DTM. A value he owed to the unfortunate early retirement of fellow Audi driver Jamie Green who passed Mortara right at the start but was forced into early retirement by gearbox problems with just one lap contested. Nonetheless, the Briton secured third position in these statistics, with this lap, as the three Audi drivers were the only race leaders of the DTM weekend at the Red Bull Ring.