Thriller time at Hockenheim. In the DTM season finale, held from 13th to 15th October 2017 at the German GP circuit, thrilling action will be guaranteed. Six of the 18 drivers still may hope for securing the title in the popular touring-car series. A situation that hasn’t been witnessed in DTM prior to a season finale for many years. At the same time it has to be admitted that Audi are in the most promising positions in all the three rankings, prior to the final two races of the season. After all, the Ingolstadters hold the lead in the drivers’, team and manufacturers’ championships. In the battle for the drivers’ title four Audi drivers hold the top positions: Mattias Ekström (172 points), René Rast (151), Jamie Green (137) and Mike Rockenfeller (134). The best BMW driver, Marco Wittmann, also has got 134 points on his tally, with the best Mercedes-AMG driver, Lucas Auer (131) following three points behind.
Mattias Ekström has got the brightest chances of prevailing in the fight for the DTM trophy. He is the only driver who has got the chance as early as Saturday. Should he do so this would be fantastic timing as Ekström won his second – and last DTM title to date exactly 10 years ago, on 14th October, 2007. The Swede would prevail on Saturday should he be able to extend his lead over Rast from 21 to 28 points. The 39- year old would be the third driver to have secured more than two DTM titles, thus following in the footsteps of Bernd Schneider (five titles) and Klaus Ludwig (three). “21 points seem to be a comfortable lead but I know how fast such a lead can be lost, particularly in DTM,” said Ekström. “You have to encounter just one race where thing don’t run as you hoped they would and your apparently comfortable lead is history.”
30-year old René Rast could secure the title as rookie. The last driver to date to have realised this special feat was Nicola Larini, 24 years ago. “I will be a winner anyhow,” said Rast. “Who had expected prior to the season that I still would be a title contender, in the season finale? My chances still are alive and a perfect race weekend nearly would be enough to clinch the title.”
With a gap of 35 and 38 points respectively to Ekström and a maximum of 56 points to be scored, Audi’s Green and Rockenfeller also still may hope to, make it to the very top. They are aware that achieving this goal will be extremely difficult – and even more so if you take a look at the season stats so far: The biggest number of points secured on a race weekend this year was 42 – by Mercedes-AMG driver Robert Wickens at the Nürburgring while Lucas Auer Lucas Auer (Hockenheim) and René Rast (Moscow) both added 40 points to their tallies, on one weekend.
Reigning champion Marco Wittmann, the only championship contender without a race win under his belt, must hope for mistakes of his better-placed rivals. I want to have two good races at Hockenheim and continue the upward tendency I displayed in the past weeks. Everybody is able to calculate. It’s obvious that I need mistakes of my rivals if I want to secure the crown. Indeed, I would need a minor miracle to close the 38-point gap and make it,” admitted the BMW driver.
Following his disappointing performances in his home race meeting at Spielberg, Lucas Auer now wants to prove that he can do clearly better. Just as he did in the season kick-off at Hockenheim when he secured a pole, a race win and finished fourth in the other race. “In my situation I don’t need to look to the left or the right. I just have to squeeze the maximum out of my car and myself and opt for a risky way of racing,” the Mercedes-AMG driver explains. “The motto is: All in!”