2nd July 2017 - Maxime Martin is the man of the weekend at the Norisring. The Belgian already having scored a podium finish by coming third in the second race at the Hungaroring, the 31-year-old finished second in the race on Saturday.
One day later, the BMW driver won after a thrilling race from Mercedes-AMG’s Lucas Auer. Thus, Martin scored a total of 61 points from the last three races. For BMW, it was the 75th DTM race win and for Martin, it was his third victory in the DTM. In a heart-stopping finale, Auer’s team-mate Edoardo Mortara claimed third place. When crossing the finish line at the end of the race, he had a margin of two thousandths of a second over Audi driver Mattias Ekström.
“Today, I had a challenging time. My start wasn’t great. Unfortunately, I was slightly tapped by Marco Wittmann in the final corner and I dropped to fourth. It was a nice weekend with plenty of entertainment and many points. Too bad that I didn’t score a win, but at least I am in the lead of the drivers’ standings,” ‘Eki’ said, who is now leading the drivers’ standings with 89 points from Auer (87), Martin (78) and the two Audi drivers Jamie Green (75) and René Rast (72).
Seldom before in the history of the DTM had there been such a dramatic and thrilling finale to a race. The action only was interrupted by two collisions, one of which caused a longer interruption of the race. After 24 laps, the cars of René Rast and Robert Wickens (Mercedes-AMG) collided coming out of the first corner. Rast’s Audi got sideways, but Wickens pushed him forward for another few metres and the cars tangled. A safety car intervention with Indianapolis restart followed. On lap 30, the safety car returned to the pits, only for the next interruption to follow four laps later. Gary Paffett slightly tangled with Jamie Green’s Audi on the approach to turn one, but the Mercedes-AMG crashed heavily into the barriers, slid on and ran head-on into the driver’s side of Mike Rockenfeller’s Audi. Paffett walked away relatively unscathed, ‘Rocky’ limped out of his car. He incurred a minor fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his left foot.
The red flags waved and after repair of the damaged Armco barriers, action continued 25 minutes later. This time, there was a single-file restart. Right after that, Auer overtook Martin for the lead, but wasn’t able to hold onto his first place for long. “On the last 20 laps, I had an incredible cramp in my left foot, I even had to brake with my right foot,” Auer commented afterwards. “That was a complete disaster. Therefore, I am also very happy with second place. I have never had something like that before. I am not thinking about the championship, there are 56 points at stake every weekend.”
A nerve-wrecking final lap followed. Marco Wittmann, who had moved up from ninth to third after the safety car intervention, staged a hard battle with Ekström and Mortara that lasted until the final metres. Eventually, the BMW driver finished fifth in his home race, once again missing out on that coveted podium finish. The trio crossed the finish line door-to-door with a happy end for Mortara. “Surely, I will treasure fond memories of that last lap forever. I am very happy to be on the podium. In a normal race, you don’t get that far up from 16th place on the grid. That definitely is a boost for the rest of the season,” a delighted ‘Edo’ said after his first podium finish for Mercedes-AMG.