The 2015 DTM season kicked off at the customary Hockenheimring this weekend, the round marking a new race format that includes two races – a 40-minute race on Saturday with optional pitstop and a 60-minute race on Sunday with mandatory pitstop. Audi dominated both races with two different drivers, Mercedes-AMG was able to clinch podium wins on both days while BMW went home empty-handed.
Race 1 was won by British driver Jamie Green in an Audi RS5 after leading from start to finish. Green was one of the quickest drivers last year but a series of misfortunes maimed his ability to win. Second and third places went to Mercedes-AMG drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Paul Di Resta respectively. The two gave each other a hard time with Di Resta passing Wehrlein at one point, his brakes however degraded quickly towards the end, allowing the German to take the chequered flag in second.
Speaking about his victory, Green said: “I am not at all surprised that things were going so well today. My team is the same as last season. Back then, I was quick, too, but I had a lot of bad luck. Today that wasn’t the case. Everything is good. I love driving races. The new regulations are giving me the chance to do so.”
BMW had a dull day on Saturday with Maxime Martin crossing the finish line in seventh place followed by Timo Glock, Marco Wittmann and Augusto Farfus in that order to round off the top ten. Audi driver and Race 2 winner Mattias Ekström finished in 12th after spending a good time in the garage fixing his car after a collision with fellow Audi driver Adrien Tambay.
Ekstrom redeemed himself during Race 2 on Sunday claiming victory in a rain-hit race that called for his long-earned experience. Being the oldest driver in the field at 36 years, the Audi driver admitted to having fun from lights to flag. He only faced one mishap when he pitted a lap later after the rains had started, losing time as he had to drive through a slippery lap to the pit lane for the right tyres.
Ekstrom said: “I had fun from lights to flag. Driving in the rain is highly demanding. In conditions like these, experience certainly helps and after all, I am the oldest driver in the entire field. Stopping on lap 13 was too late. I had to complete a very slippery lap and I lost a lot of time in the process. Prior to my stop, I called the pits over the radio and I said that I wanted to come in no matter what. There was some discussion, but I was able to have my tyres changed on the 12th lap and I could benefit from this advantage.”
Fellow Audi driver Edoardo Mortara crossed the line in second to give Audi a double podium finish while Mercedes-AMG driver Gary Paffett finished third. BMW showed slight improvement over the first race, with Martin Tomczyk finishing in fourth to lead fellow BMW driver Marco Wittmann who was fifth. Mike Rockenfeller was sixth for Audi while Mercedes drivers Robert Wickens and Race 1 podium winner Wehrlein crossed the line in seventh and eighth respectively.
Audi driver Mortara heads the standings with 30 points after the first round, leading Jamie Green who has tied with Ekstrom at 25 points. Round 2 will head over to Lausitzring on May 29.