Hockenheim DTM: Rast beats Wittmann to win, Button ninth

Two-time DTM champion Rene Rast defeated his 2019 title rival Marco Wittmann to win the Hockenheim opener, as Jenson Button rallied from a slow pitstop to earn a top 10 finish.

Hockenheim DTM: Rast beats Wittmann to win, Button ninth

Polesitter Rast had held his advantage comfortably through the opening phase of the race as Mike Rockenfeller stormed past front-row starter Wittmann at the beginning to run second, and act as a buffer for the leading Audi.

That meant Rast could build a lead of 2.6 seconds over Wittmann early on, but the BMW driver almost took the lead following the mandatory pitstops.

Wittmann had pitted at the end of lap 17 of 38, attempting an undercut on Rast, and the Audi driver responded by pitting on the following lap.

A marginally slower stop for Rast meant he came out of the pits with a narrow advantage over Wittmann and looked set to be passed due to running on cold tyres, but a safety car spared the Audi driver after BMW's Philipp Eng lost power on the run to the hairpin and pulled off track.

At the restart, Rast powered clear of Wittmann only for the BMW driver to progressively reel his rival in, finally making a move for the lead by diving down the inside at the hairpin.

Rast hit back at the same corner on the following lap, running alongside Wittmann on the exit as they headed for the high-speed Turn 7 right-hander, moving back ahead of the BMW before turning in.

Wittmann had significantly less DRS and push-to-pass compared to Rast and was unable to challenge the 2019 champion again.

Rast's main title rival Nico Muller had looked set to complete the podium after benefitting from the timing of the safety car but fell to 16th after he was forced to serve a drivethrough penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

That had helped Button's top 10 charge after the 2018 SUPER GT champion was hurt by a pitstop that took 17.9s, having highlighted pitstop efficiency as a weakness for his Kunimitsu Honda squad on Friday.

Falling from the lower end of the top 10 to 16th, Button began to climb through the field progressively in the second half of the race.

He was boosted by Pietro Fittipaldi pitching his WRT Audi teammate Jonathan Aberdein into a spin, with the former earning a drive through penalty.

But Button also cleared Audi's Jamie Green late on to go 12th and battled strongly in a pack of cars against BMW's Sheldon van der Linde, coming out on top despite his rival being warned for forcing Button off the track.

Having moved to 11th, he then cleared R-Motorsport Aston Martin driver Jake Dennis ahead and moved to ninth once Muller served his penalty.

Muller's demotion promoted Rockenfeller back to the podium places ahead of Robin Frijns and Loic Duval.

Timo Glock was sixth after his race was compromised by his left-hand door coming loose, requiring Glock to drive one-handed at stages before coming into the pits early to make his stop and sort the problem.

Paul di Resta was an impressive seventh and the leading Aston Martin despite complaining of a steering problem mid-race.

Bruno Spengler was eighth for BMW ahead of Button and Joel Eriksson.

Button's fellow SUPER GT runners had difficult races.

Tsugio Matsuda failed to start the race when his NISMO-entered Nissan failed to start the formation lap but came out on track 17 laps down to take the flag.

Ryo Hirakawa took his TOM'S Lexus to 13th after benefitting from incidents for rivals after his squad opted for a first lap pitstop that meant it had to take a second stop later on in the race.

R-Motorsport's reliability problems returned with Daniel Juncadella missing out on a potential top 10 finish when he retired with a suspension problem, while Ferdinand Habsburg was unable to start the race due to an engine problem.

Results:

Cla Driver Car Time Gap
1 Germany René Rast
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 1:01'00.948
2 Germany Marco Wittmann
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 1:01'02.641 1.693
3 Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 1:01'11.645 10.697
4 Netherlands Robin Frijns
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 1:01'18.743 17.795
5 France Loic Duval
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 1:01'25.172 24.224
6 Germany Timo Glock
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 1:01'26.708 25.760
7 United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Aston Martin Vantage DTM 1:01'27.387 26.439
8 Canada Bruno Spengler
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 1:01'28.218 27.270
9 United Kingdom Jenson Button
Honda NSX-GT 1:01'32.440 31.492
10 Sweden Joel Eriksson
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 1:01'32.816 31.868
11 United Kingdom Jake Dennis
Aston Martin Vantage DTM 1:01'38.945 37.997
12 United Kingdom Jamie Green
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 1:01'39.390 38.442
13 Japan Ryo Hirakawa
Lexus LC500 1:01'41.906 40.958
14 South Africa Jonathan Aberdein
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 1:01'47.879 46.931
15 Brazil Pietro Fittipaldi
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 1:02'00.144 59.196
16 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 1:02'00.550 59.602
17 Switzerland Nico Müller
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 1:02'02.544 1'01.596
Japan Tsugio Matsuda
Nissan/ R35 1:01'07.832 17 Laps
Spain Daniel Juncadella
Aston Martin Vantage DTM 33'26.299 18 Laps
Austria Philipp Eng
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 26'58.716 21 Laps
shares
comments
Hockenheim DTM: Rast on pole, Button sixth quickest

Previous article

Hockenheim DTM: Rast on pole, Button sixth quickest

Next article

Button explains race against "very different" DTM cars

Button explains race against "very different" DTM cars
Load comments

About this article

Series DTM
Event Hockenheim II
Drivers René Rast
Author Tom Errington
The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king Prime

The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king

It's taken him a while to emerge as a consistent title challenger, but in the final year of DTM's Class One ruleset, Nico Muller has smoothed the rough edges and has double champion stablemate Rene Rast working harder than ever to keep up in the title race.

DTM
Oct 14, 2020
Does 2000 hold the answers to the DTM's current crisis? Prime

Does 2000 hold the answers to the DTM's current crisis?

It's 20 years since the DTM roared back into life at a packed Hockenheim with a back-to-basics approach as the antidote to its high-tech past. Now it's on its knees again, so is it time to recall the lessons learned in 2000?

DTM
May 28, 2020
Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers Prime

Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers

Audi last week announced it would be exiting the DTM at the end of 2020, bringing the curtain down on 20 years of continuous participation since the series' reboot in 2000.

DTM
May 5, 2020
Why the DTM must reinvent itself after Audi exit Prime

Why the DTM must reinvent itself after Audi exit

Audi's announcement that it will withdraw from the DTM at the end of 2020 was the latest blow for a series that has lost three manufacturers in as many years. Some major soul-searching will now be required to assess how it can survive.

DTM
Apr 28, 2020
Why cynic Berger changed his mind over green tech in racing Prime

Why cynic Berger changed his mind over green tech in racing

DTM boss Gerhard Berger was a detractor of Formula E and held a reluctance for his series to embrace greener engine technologies. However, this cynic's tune has had to change to ensure DTM's existence as the motorsport world moves forward

DTM
Dec 13, 2019
What the fallout from Aston's engine split means for 2020 Prime

What the fallout from Aston's engine split means for 2020

Aston Martin's DTM arrival, via the R-Motorsport outfit, was heralded as a salvation of sorts for the series. After plenty of bumps in the road in 2019, the team finds itself in a similar position to the one it was in 12 months ago. Can it get its act together?

DTM
Dec 6, 2019
How the DTM and Super GT can build on their experiment Prime

How the DTM and Super GT can build on their experiment

The Class One 'Dream Race' staged by the DTM and SUPER GT proved a hit - from a competitive and collaborative standpoint. The next step will be for both parties to ensure a successful trial ends up being more than just that.

Super GT
Nov 29, 2019
Robot pitcrews and hydrogen – is DTM's concept plausible? Prime

Robot pitcrews and hydrogen – is DTM's concept plausible?

DTM organiser ITR has mooted a radical plan for a "truly new and inspiring" future motorsport series. How realistic are its suggestions of automated pitstops and 1000bhp hydrogen-fuelled touring cars?

DTM
Nov 11, 2019