Champion vs Champion: René Rast triumphs over Marco Wittmann
Honda guest driver shines: Button ninth after thrilling duels
Rast win seals teams’ title for Audi Sport Team Rosberg
Saving the best for last: René Rast (GER, Audi) won a lights-to-flag thriller on Saturday as the DTM wrapped up its penultimate race of the 2019 season.
The newly crowned champion came out on top after a cat-and-mouse duel with Marco Wittmann (GER, BMW), who had rediscovered the early-season pace in his car that allowed him to take the fight to the front. Wittmann’s undercut pit-stop looked set to earn him the lead, but an ill-timed Safety Car neutered his advantage – meaning that he was forced to make a late-race pass for the lead. Rast countered, retook the place and was able to establish a small margin to the chequer.
Behind the leading pair, there were fierce battles up and down the top 10 as the Safety Car compressed the field, prompting many frantic moments as everyone scrabbled for grip and position. Paul Di Resta (GBR) drove a determined race to finish as the best-placed Aston Martin driver in seventh. And ex-Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button (GBR), driving in this race as one of three Japanese SUPER GT entrants, overcame a tardy 18-second pit-stop to battle back to an incredible ninth.
Victory for Rast, title for Rosberg – decision in the teams’ championship
The outcome of the duel between Rast and Wittmann also indirectly contributed to the early title win for Audi Sport Team Rosberg in the teams’ championship. Rast’s victory earned him 28 points for Rosberg, as opposed to the 12 points Robin Frijns (NED) pocketed for Audi Sport Abt Sportsline. With Jamie Green (GBR) and Nico Müller (SUI) failing to score, Rosberg’s margin increased to 48 points – the exact number of team points on offer tomorrow. However, Rosberg sealed the title by virtue of having scored eight wins this year compared to Abt Sportline’s two.
» Quotes – race 1, season finale Hockenheim
“Winning is always a special moment, and securing the teams’ title is the icing on the cake. I’m really happy for the whole team. Together, we’ve put so much effort into this project – endless hours and days. Claiming victory was not as easy as it might have looked from the outside: Marco really had a good first stint and applied a lot of pressure.”
René Rast, winner
“So far, the entire weekend has gone well. The Safety Car didn’t work in our favour after a good first stint. I overtook ‘Rocky’ and closed up to René; we tried the undercut by stopping earlier than René and it would have worked out – however, the Safety Car came out on track at completely the wrong time. After that, I only had one real chance to make a move, which I did – but it was more for the show! René countered with DRS. We started this season with a win; now we’ll try everything tomorrow to end it with a win, too.”
Marco Wittmann, 2nd place
“My start wasn’t great, but it was good. I was able to overtake Marco on the opening lap and close up to René. But today, René and Marco simply had a better pace than us. When Marco had overtaken me again, I had to let him go as my tyres were degrading. During my second stint, the Safety Car came out and I was pleased that we had made our pit-stop already. After that, I just brought the car home.”
Mike Rockenfeller, 3rd place
“I only lost one place at the start. However, without DRS, keeping up was difficult. Only once I’d found a rhythm was I able to counter. On the other hand, I should have been friendlier to the tyres. I was also rather too late with my stop. On top of that, our stop was rather long – the guys aren’t used to pit-stops like these, so we lost some time. After the restart, I worked my way up from 15th to ninth place and that was a lot of fun.”
Jenson Button, 9th place
» Results – race 1, season finale Hockenheim
01. René Rast (GER), Audi, 38 laps in 1h 01m 00.948s
02. Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, + 1.693s
03. Mike Rockenfeller (GER), Audi, + 10.697s
04. Robin Frijns (NED), Audi, + 17.795s
05. Loïc Duval (FRA), Audi, + 24.224s
06. Timo Glock (GER), BMW, + 25.760s
07. Paul Di Resta (GBR), Aston Martin, + 26.439s
08. Bruno Spengler (CAN), BMW, + 27.270s
09. Jenson Button (GBR), Honda, + 31.492s
10. Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, + 31.868s
Fastest lap: Nico Müller, Audi RS 5 DTM, 1m 30.927s
Pole position: René Rast (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, 1m 45.552s
Weather conditions: 13°C, cloudy
Circuit conditions: 16°C, dry surface