This year the DTM title fight has taken on a whole new complexion. With 2018 champions Mercedes and Gary Paffett switching to Formula E (via HWA) and Merc's other contender Paul di Resta moving to the new R-Motorsport Aston Martin project, '19 was always going to be wide open.
But last year's fight was not exclusively between the Mercedes duo. To suggest that would ignore Rene Rast's mind-blowing run during which he turned the weaker Audi RS5 package into an out-and-out threat to the leading title contenders, winning six successive races to take the championship fight down to the final race and heap the pressure on Paffett.
Putting aside the fact the DTM then switched to Class One regulations once Mercedes exited (which means drivers have to contend with 100bhp more on the 2018-spec Hankook rubber, creating inherent understeer and putting a premium on tyre management), few would have bet against Rast picking up where he left off at the beginning of this campaign.