Mattias Ekström flies to victory in the dunes
Zandvoort – Swede Mattias Ekström was victorious in the ninth season round of the DTM at Zandvoort in The Netherlands and thus secured the first victory for Audi this season. In a thrilling closing stage of the race, the 36-year-old worked his way up through the field in an impressive way and claimed the lead. The two times’ champion finished ahead of the newly-crowned champion Marco Wittmann and Martin Tomczyk (both BMW), who were second and third respectively. “In the DTM, racing is always extremely hard and today was no exception. After all the bad luck of the past months, now, things were running perfectly for us at last. I enjoyed every lap of this race,” said a delighted Ekström after scoring his fourth DTM career win at Zandvoort.
Marco Wittmann, who claimed the championship title in the Lausitzring round, was in contention for victory for a long time. Having started from second place, the German already took the lead in the first corner. Eventually, however, he didn’t have a chance against Ekström, who got maximum benefit from his soft option tyres in the closing stages of the race. “This wasn’t an easy race for us as there were plenty of incidents. Initially, I had a perfect start, but our option tyres degraded more quickly than we had expected. In spite of the chaos on the track, my team always made the right decisions and called me into the pits at the right time,” Wittmann said after the race. Martin Tomczyk was also delighted after his first podium finish since August, 2012.
Mercedes-Benz driver Christian Vietoris was involved in a battle for fourth with Edoardo Mortara until the end of the race, but didn’t find a way past the Audi driver. The 25-year-old was the only driver in the field to race the updated version of the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. “Fifth place is a very good result. At the end, I even had the chance to challenge for a podium finish. Many thanks to my team for preparing my new car in the past week,” the German commented.
With his BMW M4 DTM, Maxime Martin finished sixth and thus contributed to the early title win for the BMW Team RMG in the teams’ standings. After winning the drivers’ title with Marco Wittmann, this is already the second title for Stefan Reinhold’s team. The battle for runner-up spot in the drivers’ standings remains thrilling. Thanks to his first win of the season, Mattias Ekström has moved up to second place in the points’ standings. Prior to the final round, the Swede has 81 points. Christian Vietoris and Edoardo Mortara (Audi RS 5 DTM) are only a few points behind. In the battle for the manufacturers’ title, everything is also still open between BMW and Audi.
Several accidents and crashes made their mark on the ninth season round of the DTM at Circuit Park Zandvoort. Augusto Farfus had a big moment after a collision with Daniel Juncadella on lap 19 and landed in the gravel trap. “That was a big crash, but I am fine,” the BMW driver from Brazil said. In total, the safety car was deployed four times during the race.
Traditionally, the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg will be the venue for the season finale, October 19.
Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “Of course, we are happy that we have finally scored our first victory of the season. This year, we had the possibility so often, but we always had something getting in the way. Today, we had to fear for a long time as well. But Mattias (Ekström) had the right strategy for this crazy race and eventually was extremely strong with the option tyres. Edo Mortara’s progress from last on the grid to finish fourth was also fantastic.”
Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director: “We can be very happy with second and third place. Congratulations to Stefan Reinhold and the entire BMW Team RMG crew for winning the teams’ title – they really have deserved this success. Now, the manufacturers’ title is still at stake. At Hockenheim, we will be doing our utmost once again to win this one as well. Today, we have done everything right in the decisive stages of the race. I am also very happy with Martin Tomczyk’s third place.”
Wolfgang Schattling, head of DTM Management, Mercedes-Benz: “We knew from the very beginning that this weekend wouldn’t be an easy one for us. In the race, Christian Vietoris has shown a great performance and finished a strong fifth. Having four cars in the top ten is good, but doesn’t satisfy us.”