Mattias Ekström takes the DTM lead at Spielberg
Heavy rain on Sunday resulted in the second race of the DTM weekend taking off from behind the safety car. When the field went green after five laps, pole-sitter Mattias Ekström (Audi) immediately built up a comfortable margin to bring home an emphatic victory.
With this, the Swede now ranks first in the DTM drivers’ classification, although shortly before the flag he benefited from the retirement of the previously-leading Mercedes-Benz pilot Pascal Wehrlein, who was shunted from the circuit and has slipped down the overall rankings to now sit third.
After taking up the race from the third grid spot, his brand colleague Gary Paffett put in a spirited drive to finally cross the finish line in second. Edoardo Mortara, the winner of race one on Saturday, planted his Audi RS5 DTM on third place which advances him up the overall ranking to second place. With Mike Rockenfeller, Nico Müller and Timo Scheider, three more Audi pilots locked out positions four to six respectively. The best BMW driver was António Félix da Costa, who narrowly missed out on taking home points with eleventh.
The drivers also benefited from the convincing performance of the wet tire of premium manufacturer Hankook. “The grip was there immediately and the performance of the wet tire was good. The biggest problem for the drivers was poor visibility. Although water had accumulated on the track between Turn one and two and afterwards in other areas as well, aquaplaning was not at all an issue. Mattias and Gary once again underlined at the front of the field what our race tire is capable of under such conditions,” concluded Thomas Baltes, Hankook’s DTM race engineer.
Mattias Ekström (Audi): “The conditions were somewhat borderline. But we had the right air pressure and the Hankook race tire worked perfectly right to the end. So despite all the water lying on the track I had no problem whatsoever.”
Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz): “It was a tough day for us all and with this amount of water it was a particularly difficult job for the Hankook tires. It was only somewhat difficult at the beginning because we started behind the safety car and the temperature of the wet tires decreased and the pressure dropped slightly. But once the race was green-flagged, I could really push hard to the finish. They were very good today.”
Edoardo Mortara (Audi): “Under these conditions it proved difficult to find the right tire pressure. We experienced a little difficulty with this early on, but over the course of the race it improved. The Hankook race tire was perfect, providing plenty of grip to the flag and performing just as strongly as the slick on Saturday.”