Rockenfeller takes DTM race win at Zandvoort

Track action (photo by DTM)

Track action (photo by DTM)Mike Rockenfeller is the winner of the race at Zandvoort in The Netherlands on Sunday.

The Audi driver, who took the chequered flag in second place after 37 laps, was retroactively declared as the winner. He was promoted to first place as Marco Wittmann was disqualified after the race. The BMW works driver had finished first in the twelfth race of the DTM season, but in post-race scrutineering of his car, the required minimum amount of fuel was no longer in the tank. As Rockenfeller’s fellow Audi drivers Loïc Duval and Mattias Ekström were promoted as well after the disqualification, the brand from Ingolstadt secured a clean sweep of the podium. For Duval, this is the first podium finish in his twelfth DTM race. Ekström claims back the lead in the DTM drivers’ standings.

Previously, everything looked set for a successful day for Wittmann: from second place on the grid, the German had taken the lead at the start and successfully defended his position against a strong Rockenfeller in the closing stages. His first win of the season would also have propelled him to second place in the drivers’ standings. For Wittmann, who was presented with the trophy by Formula 1 star Max Verstappen, his joy didn’t last long: as it proved to be impossible to take the amount of 1000 g as required in the regulations for the fuel probe, he was disqualified.

In the drivers’ standings, Ekström, who still has to score his first win of the season, is 14 points clear of fellow Audi driver René Rast. The latter remained without any points after a retirement on Sunday. For the Swede, the race was anything but a walk in the park. In the closing stages, Ekström complained about decreasing tyre pressure in the left front wheel and lost a lot of time.

Because Nico Müller covered his fellow Audi driver in front of him in an apt, but fair way, Gary Paffett, the best-placed Mercedes-AMG driver, couldn’t find a way past the Audi duo. “On the final lap, I almost drove on the rim,” Ekström smiled at the finish.

Next to Marco Wittmann, the big loser of the Zandvoort weekend was Mercedes-AMG driver Lucas Auer. The Austrian had started the race as the third-placed in the drivers’ standings from eleventh on the grid. Just before the end, he turned into the pits for an unscheduled stop due to a puncture and lost a lot of time. At the finish, he was only classified 15th. In the race on Saturday, Auer hadn’t scored any points either and he dropped back four places in the drivers’ standings as a result.

The outcome of the race again considerably mixed up the situation in the drivers’ standings: behind Ekström (128 points) and Rast (114 points), Rockenfeller (110 points) is rounding out the trio of Audi drivers up front. With six races remaining prior to the finale at Hockenheim, BMW drivers Timo Glock (104 points) and Maxime Martin (102 points) are also within striking distance, just like Lucas Auer and Jamie Green (both 99 points).

The battle for the 2017 DTM title continues at the Nürburgring in three weeks’ time. From 8 till 10 September, the DTM has its next event in the Eifel.

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