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Wittmann holds off Rast in tense DTM finish at Brands Hatch

Saturday, August 10 2019

BMW's Marco Wittmann held off a late charge from Audi's championship leader Rene Rast to claim victory in the Saturday DTM race at Brands Hatch this afternoon. The BMW just edged across the line ahead of his rival after a tense finish as the Audi hunted it down.

Pole sitter Wittmann was beaten off the line by the fast starting Paul di Resta who initially appeared to cannon into a fairytale start for the British Aston Martin marque in its first DTM race on home soil. Unfortunately for the Scottish former F1 ace, it quickly became apparent that he'd been a little too hasty off the line, and he duly recieved a five-second pit-stop penalty.

Nonetheless, Di Resta succesfully led the early stages of the race and put in a strong performance behind the wheel of his R-Motorsport prepared machine to control the pace with Wittmann, Rast, and the other Audis of Nico Muller and Mike Rockenfeller in hot pursuit.

It was a dramatic start all round for the Aston Martins, with Jake Dennis knocked out of the race early on following contact with the BMW of Timo Glock, whilst Daniel Juncadella was penalised for his role in that incident.

Wittmann pitted at the end of lap 14, and emerged back on track right in front of East Midlands racer Jamie Green in his Audi. Green made use of the DTM's lack of tyre warmers to pass Wittmann at Surtees and assume what was to be the virtual race lead, allowing for Di Resta's imminent penalty.

Before Green had a chance to assume the lead of the race, however, he ran wide at Paddock Hill bend as Rast and Rockenfeller reappeared from the pit lane, and Wittmann opportunistically dived between the Audis to place himself in the best position.

Di Resta's pit stop and penalty followed the next time around, and the race entered its next phase with Robin Frijns and Philipp Eng running out front whilst Wittmann led the pack of earlier stoppers behind. 

Frijns and Eng finally pitted in the second half of the race, allowing Wittmann to assume the lead of the race, a position from which he was able to control proceedings with a gap of around five seconds. 

Rast made good use of his marginally younger tyres in the latter stages of the race, having pitted a few laps after Wittmann. The result was that a five second gap was reduced to just over a second as the race entered its 42nd and final lap. Despite producing better traction out of the corners, the Audi fell just short of the BMW by the chequered flag. 

Nico Muller completed the podium in a second Audi, ahead of Frijns who managed to pick his way up from seventh after returning to the track following his late pit stop. Frijns completed a pair of stunning moves on the high-speed run into Hawthorn to pass first Rockenfeller, and then Loic Duval, who ultimately finsihed fifth. 

Eng was another mover in the race's latter stages, securing sixth place following a pair of tremendous manoeuvres. The first saw him fly around the outside of Di Resta at Paddock Hill Bend, before he outbraked Rockenfeller to move up the inside at the same corner.

Rockenfeller wound up seventh, just ahead of the South African pairing of Sheldon Van der Linde and Jonathan Aberdein, whilst Daniel Juncadella completed the top-10 in the sole remaining Aston Martin.

After his flying start, Di Resta dropped to the lower part of the top-10 before returning to the pits and retiring the car just a couple of laps before the end of the race. 

After running wide and costing himself a potential shot at the podium, Green made a second pit stop for fresh rubber and recovered to 11th ahead of Bruno Spengler and Timo Glock, the final two finishing drivers.

1, M Wittmann, Team BMW RMG, Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM, 42 laps
2, R Rast, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi RS5 DTM, +0.374s
3, N Muller, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Castrol EDGE Audi RS5 DTM, +8.566s
4, R Frijns, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Aral Ultimate Audi RS5 DTM, +15.646s
5, L Duval Audi Sport Team Phoenix, MASCOT WORKWEAR Audi RS5 DTM, +18.236s
6, P Eng, BMW Team RMR, ZF BMW M4 DTM, +18.813s
7, M Rockenfeller, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Akrapovic Audi RS5 DTM, +20.056s
8, S V der Linde, BMW Team RBM, Shell BMW M4 DTM, +29.909s
9, J Aberdein, WRT Team Audi Sport, WRT Audi RS5 DTM, +37.087s
10, D Juncadella, R-Motorsport 2, Aston Martin Vantage DTM, +37.385s
11, J Green, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Hoffmann Group Audi RS5 DTM, +48.996s
12, B Spengler, BMW Team RMG, BMW Bank M4 DTM, +52.465s
13, T Glock, BMW Team RMR, JiVS BMW M4 DTM, +1m05.237s
14, P Di Resta R-Motorsport 1, Aston Martin Vantage DTM, +3 laps
15, F von Habsburg, R-Motorsport 2, Aston Martin Vantage DTM, +4 laps
DNF, J Dennis, R-Motorsport 1, Aston Martin Vantage DTM