The second race to take place at the Red Bull Ring for the DTM championship marked the halfway point for the season and finished in a cloud of controversy. After the action packed and sun filled race of Saturday, today’s race was delayed 12 minutes, with the possibility of it not starting at all after heavy rain.
The race did get going in the end with several laps behind the safety car as the 24-car field edged their way around the circuit. As the safety car pealed off, the race was inevitably chaotic. Spray meant visibility was very poor and with the race leaders edging away from the field, the squabbles came from the drivers in the middle of the pack. A few collisions and off track excursions led to a mixed up order. However, even the rain couldn’t help the struggling BMW cars that were simply off the pace.
Despite the bad conditions, the racing was very good with Gary Paffett chasing down leader Mattias Ekström as well as some inspired drives towards the end of the race from Pascal Werhlein, Christian Vietoris and Paul di Resta to name a few who were all recovering from several drives through the gravel.
There were two retirements; Dani Juncadella and Tom Blomqvist who was having a weekend to forget. However, Max Göetz, previously the only driver not to score, finished the race in eighth. On home soil, Lucas Auer brought his bright pink coloured Mercedes home in seventh. The main controversy of the race though came at turn three on the final lap involving the Mercedes cars of Pascal Wehrlein, Robert Wickens and Audi’s Timo Scheider.
All three drivers were fiercely battling for sixth position with the order Wickens, Scheider and Wehrlein heading into the first corner. However, Wehrlein dived down the inside of Scheider as they reached turn two. In doing so, it looked as if he had also made the jump on teammate Wickens. He had, with a bit of contact for good measure. Then, as they made their way down to turn three, Scheider, now at the back of the queue was given a radio message. This was translated to “Push him out”. As they all braked for the corner, Scheider ever so slightly nudged Wickens, who in turn was forced into Wehrlein. Both drivers taken completely by surprise ended up in the gravel with their races over as Scheider continued on. Team boss Ulrich Fritz when asked about the incident after the race said, “To push two cars out of the race on purpose, is definitely not fair”. A disqualification or penalty however seems imminent.
The other controversial news to come from the race was from Spaniard Juncadella. The former Force India F1 reserve driver was having a torrid race and ended up parking his car on the side of the road after a half spin. However, although not seen on the live feed, the Mercedes driver was investigated for misconduct towards the marshals retrieving his car with the outcome still unknown.
Nevertheless, this shouldn’t take away from an amazing race this afternoon, and indeed the brilliant racing from the DTM series this weekend. VIP guests in Austria included actor Michael Douglas who said he was excited to see his first DTM race.
Even with the controversy, the DTM has put on a fantastic display this weekend to quench the thirst of those F1 fans struggling in this summer break, however, racing like this, according to Fritz, is “not something we want to see in the DTM” and I’m sure the entire motoring world echoes these thoughts.
PROVISIONAL Race Results
- EKSTRÖM- Audi
- PAFFETT- Mercedes
- MORTARA- Audi
- ROCKENFELLER- Audi
- MUELER- Audi
- SCHEIDER- Audi
- AUER- Mercedes
- GÖETZ- Mercedes
- VIETORIS- Mercedes
- DI RESTA- Mercedes