Photo: DTM Media

Marco Wittmann goes back-to-front for second victory of the season at Misano

BMW Motorsport Team RMG driver Marco Wittmann made the most of an aggressive strategy to take his second victory of the season at Misano after starting race one from the back of the grid, followed by Audi pair René Rast and Loïc Duval.

At the start Rast took first position, with Team WRT’s Jonathan Aberdein losing places in favour of Duval and BMW Team RMG’s Bruno Spengler, with the South African slipping to fourth place.

Wittmann, who started the race from the back of the grid due to engine problems that left him unable to take part in the qualifying session, pitted at the end of the first lap, with R-Motorsport’s Ferdinand Habsburg following suit.

BMW Team RBM’s Joel Eriksson was the first retirement of the race after his M4 DTM stopped on the track on lap three with an electrical issue, with the safety car coming into action for three laps. This intervention resulted in two further laps added to the race duration.

At the restart, Rast kept the lead ahead of Duval, but BMW Team RBM’s Sheldon van der Linde overtook Spengler at Turn 1, with the Canadian recovering the position two turns later.

The positions settled, with Aberdein, in fifth, coming under pressure from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline’s Robin Frijns. The Dutch driver overtook for fifth position on lap ten.

Wittmann was recovering positions, and was up to seventh place by lap 14 as the first among those to have stopped.

Race leader Rast came in for his obligatory pit stop at the end of lap 15, followed by Spengler and Frijns, who failed to restart his RS 5 DTM after the tyre change. Rast returned to the track 20 seconds behind Wittmann, with his race engineer saying over the radio they didn’t believe that the BMW driver could make it to the end of the race without stopping again.

After every car had completed a pit stop, Wittmann was in the lead, followed by Habsburg and Rast, 27 seconds behind but with the Audi driver faster than the BMW. Van der Linde was fourth but under attack from Duval, who overtook the South African on lap 22. Three laps later, van der Linde also lost fifth position to Spengler.

Habsburg was running in second place two seconds a lap slower than Rast, with the 2017 champion catching the young Austrian on lap 27 to take second place, still 23 seconds behind Wittmann. Habsburg also lost third position to Duval three laps later.

Paul di Resta retired to the pits with five minutes to go, just as the same time as Frijns was returned to the track to check the repairs in his car.

Wittmann nursed his tyres to reach the end of the race without completing a second stop, taking his second victory of the season, eight seconds ahead of Rast and with Duval completing the podium.

Spengler was fourth, followed by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportline’s Nico Müller and van der Linde. Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s Mike Rockenfeller was seventh, with BMW Team RBM’s Philipp Eng next.

Aberdein was ninth, with BMW Team RMG’s Timo Glock completing the top ten. Andrea Dovizioso completed his first DTM race in a respectable twelfth position.

After this race, Rast now leads the championship with 75 points, eight more than Wittmann and ten ahead of Eng.

Action resumes on Sunday morning at 10:45 CEST for the second qualifying session.