Hockenheim DTM: Muller wins disrupted finale, SUPER GT cars at back

Nico Muller ended the DTM season with victory in torrential conditions at Hockenheim after bizarre early scenes that included an Aston Martin catching fire and a SUPER GT car crashing

Hockenheim DTM: Muller wins disrupted finale, SUPER GT cars at back

Muller held onto his lead at the start and was given an immediate boost as a five-car battle for second place instantly erupted between the fast-starters of Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Wittmann, as well as Rene Rast, Jamie Green and Timo Glock.

But the duel came to an end almost instantly when the R-Motorsport Aston Martin of Daniel Juncadella pulled off the track and then caught alight. The safety team was called to put out the fire under red-flag conditions.

That came after Juncadella's team-mate Paul di Resta had already retired on the formation lap due to an engine problem during a weekend in which R-Motorsport has been blighted by reliability problems.

Just before the red flag, Nick Cassidy had a spin into the wall through the Turns 7-9 complex after lightly tagging the side of WRT Audi's Jonathan Aberdein.

Cassidy had previously crashed the TOM'S Lexus during Friday's practice, limiting his track time as the SUPER GT runners acclimatise to the DTM's format before their main joint event at Fuji next month.

Once the race resumed, Muller held onto his lead but came under fire from Rast - the victor of the earlier five-car battle - and the 2019 DTM champion took the lead from his former title rival after Muller initially defended resolutely at the hairpin.

Muller opted to make his mandatory pitstop on the sixth lap of 27 and Rast followed a lap later, with the Audi Rosberg driver enjoying a quicker pitstop.

Rast held the lead but lost it shortly after when he ran wide on the exit of the Turn 10 right-hander, allowing Muller past to cruise to victory.

Muller's status as winner took until the final lap to be confirmed as Audi's Jamie Green and BMW's Joel Eriksson ran until the penultimate lap before making their pitstops.

Rast would not finish second, however, as Rockenfeller had passed his Audi stablemate not long after Muller's eventual race-winning move.

BMW's Glock managed to hold off Green once the Audi driver returned to the track to take fourth, with Eriksson's identical strategy leaving him sixth.

Robin Frijns took his Abt Audi to seventh ahead of the highest-placed Aston Martin of Jake Dennis as Bruno Spengler and Loic Duval rounded out the top 10.

Wittmann had looked set to challenge for a podium finish but an unsafe release earned him a drivethrough penalty that meant he could only finish 12th.

His stablemate Philipp Eng and WRT Audi's Pietro Fittipaldi also earned drivethrough penalties, but their offences were failing to respect the three-minute rule under red flag conditions, which related to the tyres being fitted and the cars not being on their jacks three minutes before a race restart.

The 2009 Formula 1 world champion, Jenson Button, had warned on Saturday that wet conditions would not suit the SUPER GT cars.

His prediction proved accurate, as he finished a muted 16th place, but his Honda crew did significantly improve their pitstop after Saturday's delay.

The NISMO-run Nissan of Ronnie Quintarelli was 17th, having made a stop under the early safety car that meant he had to make his mandatory stop later in the race.

Race two result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Nico Muller Abt Audi 27 1h04m45.023s
2 Mike Rockenfeller Phoenix Audi 27 3.835s
3 Rene Rast Rosberg Audi 27 8.403s
4 Timo Glock RMR BMW 27 11.849s
5 Jamie Green Rosberg Audi 27 13.094s
6 Joel Eriksson RBM BMW 27 16.248s
7 Robin Frijns Abt Audi 27 22.172s
8 Jake Dennis R-Motorsport Aston Martin 27 36.954s
9 Bruno Spengler RMG BMW 27 51.319s
10 Loic Duval Phoenix Audi 27 55.877s
11 Ferdinand Habsburg R-Motorsport Aston Martin 27 58.838s
12 Marco Wittmann RMG BMW 27 59.767s
13 Sheldon van der Linde RBM BMW 27 1m00.417s
14 Philipp Eng RMR BMW 27 1m01.873s
15 Pietro Fittipaldi WRT Audi 27 1m30.051s
16 Jenson Button Team Kunimitsu Honda 27 1m55.243s
17 Ronnie Quintarelli Nismo Nissan 26 1 Lap
- Jonathan Aberdein WRT Audi 14 Retirement
- Paul Di Resta R-Motorsport Aston Martin 0 Not started
- Daniel Juncadella R-Motorsport Aston Martin 0 Retirement
- Nick Cassidy TOM'S Lexus 0 Retirement

Final drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Rene Rast 322
2 Nico Muller 250
3 Marco Wittmann 202
4 Mike Rockenfeller 182
5 Robin Frijns 157
6 Philipp Eng 144
7 Loic Duval 134
8 Jamie Green 115
9 Bruno Spengler 106
10 Jonathan Aberdein 67
11 Joel Eriksson 61
12 Timo Glock 58
13 Sheldon van der Linde 42
14 Daniel Juncadella 23
15 Pietro Fittipaldi 22
16 Paul Di Resta 21
17 Jake Dennis 17
18 Ferdinand Habsburg 3
19 Jenson Button 0
20 Andrea Dovizioso 0
21 Ryo Hirakawa 0
22 Ronnie Quintarelli 0

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Series DTM
Author Tom Errington
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