Pascal Wehrlein takes DTM win at the Lausitzring

Track action (photo by DTM)The ‘young guns’ are firmly in control of the DTM: while 19-year-old Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes-Benz) celebrated his maiden race win at the Lausitzring, BMW driver Marco Wittmann crowned himself with an early title win in the most popular international touring car series.

“This is sensational, simply unbelievable. It was a difficult race, I had to keep myself out of all the battles. In the end, that was the key to winning the title. I first have to deal with all the emotions,” a visibly moved Wittmann commented. For the 24-year-old, sixth place in the race with his BMW M4 DTM was enough for an early decision in the battle for the title after eight of ten season rounds. In total, 58,000 fans attended the race weekend in the Lausitz region.

At the start of the race, Wehrlein converted his first-ever DTM pole position into the race lead. The 19-year-old German went on to continuously extend his lead. The youngster had a heart-stopping moment on lap 16 when he slid off the track while in the lead. However, Wehrlein remained unfazed and drove victory home. “A great success for me and for the team. Today, our strategy was exactly spot-on. Thanks to the entire team that enabled me to score this win,” the Mercedes-Benz driver enthused.

Timo Scheider had a big relief. The Audi driver had a long drought and scored his first DTM podium result after almost one year at the Lausitzring. “This makes me feel incredibly well. Throughout the season, we have been working very hard, but unfortunately, we didn’t get the success. Scoring this podium finish at Lausitz is beautiful. You can really feel how the fans enjoy motorsport here,” the stalwart said, relieved. On the final lap, the 2008 and 2009 champion almost had claimed second position from Christian Vietoris.

Mattias Ekström, who could have prevented Wittmann from his early title win, had a race to forget. After a poor start, the Swede slid into the gravel trap on lap three and dropped back well down the order. On lap 27, the two times’ champion had to park his Audi RS 5 DTM altogether after a wheel had come off the car. “One shouldn’t blame my crew. Normally, they are doing a perfect job,” the 36-year-old said.

The battle for runner-up position in the most popular international touring car series remains exciting. Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) has good chances. After his second place at Lausitz, the German moves up from sixth to second in the drivers’ standings. After eight of ten rounds, the Mercedes-Benz driver has 59 points to his tally. Audi drivers Mattias Ekström (56), Edoardo Mortara (56) and Mike Rockenfeller (54) are following closely.

The next DTM race weekend will take place at Circuit Park Zandvoort on the Dutch North Sea coast from September 27 till 28. In the past years, the dune circuit north of Amsterdam was often good for entertaining motorsport.

Wolfgang Schattling, head of DTM management, Mercedes-Benz: “First of all, I have to extend my congratulations to BMW and Marco Wittmann. But we are on cloud number nine, too. We never expected to score a 1-2 here at the Lausitzring. I also have to praise Pascal Wehrlein. Thanks to his success today, he is now the youngest race winner in DTM history.”

Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “Today, we didn’t get the maximum result out of our good starting grid positions. Especially as far as the manufacturers’ championship is concerned, we didn’t achieve enough. We will have to analyse our performance in the rain, because we were lacking consistency in that stage of the race.”

Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director: “I am super happy. The fact that Marco already was so consistent and fast in his second year is a great success. One shouldn’t forget that we have a new car this year. Everybody together has done a tremendous job. But there are still two titles at stake, so we will continue to push.”

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