The dream of clinching a home victory in the DTM race at the Norisring has not come true for Audi again this year. Still, 121,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) saw an impressive performance by the brand with the four rings that managed to clearly extend its advantage in the manufacturers’ classification.
Two Audi drivers on podium, three among the top four and six in the points: Audi scored the largest number of points at the Norising and with a score of 196 in the DTM manufacturers’ standings is clearly ahead of BMW (132) and Mercedes-Benz (76).
In the drivers’ classification, the Audi squad managed to reduce the gap to the leader of the standings, Marco Wittmann. Five Audi drivers – Edoardo Mortara, Mattias Ekström, Mike Rockenfeller, Adrien Tambay and Miguel Molina – are now in the top six spots of the standings.
Due to heavy rainfalls the race in Nuremberg was started behind the safety car. When the race was released after three laps there was an incident of contact between Jamie Green in the Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg, who had qualified in third place, and the second-placed Mercedes of Paul di Resta, who had left an unusually large gap between his car and the car in front. A five-second pit stop penalty was imposed on Green, which caused the Briton to lose touch with the subsequent winner Robert Wickens. Still, on finishing the race as the runner-up, the Briton managed to score his best result since switching to Audi.
“It was a funny race for me,” said Green. “Paul di Resta and I are good friends. That’s why the contact was a nightmare for me. I subsequently received a penalty for it, which cost me time. However, I think I couldn’t have beaten Robert Wickens today anyhow, so as far as that’s concerned I’m happy with second place. Many thanks from me to Audi and my team that did a superb job. The Norisring is a very special track. That we were so strong here is a good sign.”
A sensational race was driven by Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM) and Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM). After qualifying, the Swede had been relegated from seventh to twelfth place on the grid because, in the opinion of the stewards of the meeting, he had obstructed another driver. Despite the controversial penalty the Audi driver managed to recover from grid position twelve to third place and to drive the fastest race lap in the process as well.
Even more positions – an amazing 14 – were made up by Edoardo Mortara. The Italian advanced from position 20 on the grid to fourth place. With that, Mortara improved to second place in the drivers’ standings.
Adrien Tambay in the Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM was initially another driver of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline to make it into the top five. A 30-second time penalty following a collision with Pascal Wehrlein subsequently caused the Frenchman to drop to ninth place.
Driving as a tandem almost throughout the race were Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM) and Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM), who scored points in positions eight and ten. The team’s decision to the benefit of the reigning DTM Champion was made when he switched from rain tires to slicks ahead of his team-mate.
Nico Müller (Audi Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM) lost his good starting position when he was turned around by Joey Hand in the early stage of the race. A drive-through penalty he received for failing to observe blue flags cost additional time so that the young Swiss finished his first Norisring race in 18th place. Miguel Molina was classified in 22nd place although, shortly before the end of the race, he had to park his Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM in the pits early following contact with a wall.
“Two Audi drivers on podium, three in the top four and six in the points – with a result like this you can’t be unhappy in the DTM even though we again didn’t manage to score our home victory at the Norisring,” said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport, in summing up the race. “But I do think that we delivered a very good show to the many Audi fans in the grandstands. We extended the lead in the manufacturers’ classification and now have five of our drivers in the top six of the drivers’ standings. That’s a respectable achievement.”