Audi questions race-deciding Misano safety car
Audi has raised doubts over the decision to bring out the safety car for Joel Eriksson's stricken BMW during the DTM's Misano opener.
Eriksson suffered a loss of power early in the race and pulled off the track at the exit of Turn 7 and caused a three-lap safety car period.
BMW's Marco Wittmann - who had started 18th - had made his mandatory pitstop on the first lap and effectively gained around 50 seconds on his rivals due to Misano's lengthy pitlane and the fact that only a one-stop strategy was viable.
It meant erstwhile race leader Rene Rast ended up in a fruitless pursuit of Wittmann, coming up eight seconds short at the chequered flag.
The DTM's sporting regulations allow for slow zones, yellow flags and the safety car, with Audi motorsport boss Dieter Gass believing there were better options than the latter at Misano.
"It’s not so much a question of the rules - but the application of it [when there is an incident]," Gass said when asked by Motorsport.com for his view. "We have slow zones, we have local yellow flags, the safety car and plenty of possibilities.
"I think this situation was perfect to apply a slow zone. If you don’t apply it in situations like that, I wonder when we are going to use it again?
"The car [Eriksson's BMW] was in a very safe position, right next to the exit [at Turn 7].
"I didn’t understand it but obviously, it put the race result upside down and it’s the fourth time in five races we’ve had a safety car and, for me, that’s simply too much."
Audi driver Loic Duval, who was on course for second but was, like Rast, shuffled behind Wittmann, called for common sense in the application of the safety car.
When asked by Motorsport.com to explain his viewpoint, Duval said: "I think the [IndyCar-style] restart we have in the DTM is really cool for the viewers, it’s a great show.
"But when you look at the first few weekends, we have always had safety cars with a big impact."
"That’s why for me, when you look at the overall picture, it makes sense for the show to have safety cars.
"But you need to look at when and how you put out safety cars, the sensibility is more like where the car was today and where it was parked."
DTM boss Gerhard Berger told Motorsport.com that he had "nothing against the safety car" and stressed the importance of safety during car recovery.
"A safety issue is always a safety issue and you must do something," Berger said. "For me, I hate the way Formula 1 is doing this with the virtual safety and all this s**t. I hate it.
"I like if it’s a safety car, then it’s a restart. That also helps the show, sometimes. Sometimes it’s not so good for somebody else."
Misano DTM: Wittmann takes last-to-first victory
Misano DTM: Rast on pole again, trouble for Dovizioso