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DTM drivers request repeater lights for “fair” starts

Leading DTM drivers have called on the series to incorporate repeater lights to make race starts “fair” and reduce instances of aggressive driving seen at the Norisring.

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DTM rules require drivers to line up for race starts and restarts in two-by-two formation, with start lights governing when racing can commence.

This has led to drivers trying to anticipate starts by moving out of line or holding back, resulting in bunching that many attributed to chaotic scenes in Saturday’s first race which only 11 cars finished amid multiple accidents after restarts.

Porsche factory driver Laurens Vanthoor told Motorsport.com that “70% of the field can’t see the lights” at race restarts, “so that’s why we normally always divide”.

Sunday’s race start, which followed an additional briefing in which drivers were warned about their conduct, was much cleaner with Sheldon van der Linde saying the series was clear in its expectations moving forward.

But many still believe that more can be done going forwards, with teams and drivers having requested to the DTM that it positions more lights on the pitwall to improve their visibility.

Autosport understands that the DTM is not planning to introduce repeater lights at this stage, with series organiser ITR convinced that the start of race two demonstrates it is possible to have clean starts without them.

But championship leader Mirko Bortolotti, who qualified and finished second on Sunday, told Motorsport.com's German-language sister title Motorsport-Total: "The most important thing is that everyone sees the lights.

“You have to find a solution that everyone in the field has a fair chance to know when it's green.

“That the close formation is better is no question, but we definitely need to see the lights.

“If you are on the front row of the grid, it doesn't matter. If you're at the back, it's really a big problem.”

The chaotic start to Race 1 at the Norisring

The chaotic start to Race 1 at the Norisring

Photo by: DTM

The DTM has a summer break before its next round at the Nurburgring on 27-28 August, and Grasser Lamborghini driver Bortolotti said it was vital that a solution was found before then.

“What the solution is, I'm happy to leave to the people in charge, but we have to find one," he added.

Vanthoor said that without repeater lights, race starts would continue to be a “lottery”.

“If they want us to behave professional, they should act professional and come up with a solution so every driver can see the lights and it’s not a lottery, which isn’t fair,” the Belgian said.

“It’s I think a healthy mix between what DTM wants and what they also give us and what we do in return. It’s not rocket science.

“It costs money, but you buy 20 lights and you put them on the side of the wall until the start-finish and the problem is solved.

“Small problems like this they need to address.”

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Edition

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