Monday, September 15, 2014

2014 DTM : Wehrlein wins – Wittmann is champion

2014 DTM - Lausitzring winner : #25 Pascal Wehrlein 
(D, gooix Mercedes AMG, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé)

KLETTWITZ : September 14, 2014 – The ‘young guns’ are firmly in control of the DTM: while 19-year-old Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes-Benz) celebrated his maiden race win at the Lausitzring, BMW driver Marco Wittmann crowned himself with an early title win in the most popular international touring car series. “This is sensational, simply unbelievable. It was a difficult race, I had to keep myself out of all the battles. In the end, that was the key to winning the title. I first have to deal with all the emotions,” a visibly moved Wittmann commented. For the 24-year-old, sixth place in the race with his BMW M4 DTM was enough for an early decision in the battle for the title after eight of ten season rounds. In total, 58,000 fans attended the race weekend in the Lausitz region.

At the start of the race, Wehrlein converted his first-ever DTM pole position into the race lead. The 19-year-old German went on to continuously extend his lead. The youngster had a heart-stopping moment on lap 16 when he slid off the track while in the lead. However, Wehrlein remained unfazed and drove victory home. “A great success for me and for the team. Today, our strategy was exactly spot-on. Thanks to the entire team that enabled me to score this win,” the Mercedes-Benz driver enthused.

Timo Scheider had a big relief. The Audi driver had a long drought and scored his first DTM podium result after almost one year at the Lausitzring. “This makes me feel incredibly well. Throughout the season, we have been working very hard, but unfortunately, we didn’t get the success. Scoring this podium finish at Lausitz is beautiful. You can really feel how the fans enjoy motorsport here,” the stalwart said, relieved. On the final lap, the 2008 and 2009 champion almost had claimed second position from Christian Vietoris.

Mattias Ekström, who could have prevented Wittmann from his early title win, had a race to forget. After a poor start, the Swede slid into the gravel trap on lap three and dropped back well down the order. On lap 27, the two times’ champion had to park his Audi RS 5 DTM altogether after a wheel had come off the car. “One shouldn’t blame my crew. Normally, they are doing a perfect job,” the 36-year-old said.

The battle for runner-up position in the most popular international touring car series remains exciting. Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) has good chances. After his second place at Lausitz, the German moves up from sixth to second in the drivers’ standings. After eight of ten rounds, the Mercedes-Benz driver has 59 points to his tally. Audi drivers Mattias Ekström (56), Edoardo Mortara (56) and Mike Rockenfeller (54) are following closely.

The next DTM race weekend will take place at Circuit Park Zandvoort on the Dutch North Sea coast from September 27 till 28. In the past years, the dune circuit north of Amsterdam was often good for entertaining motorsport.

Wolfgang Schattling, head of DTM management, Mercedes-Benz: “First of all, I have to extend my congratulations to BMW and Marco Wittmann. But we are on cloud number nine, too. We never expected to score a 1-2 here at the Lausitzring. I also have to praise Pascal Wehrlein. Thanks to his success today, he is now the youngest race winner in DTM history.”

Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “Today, we didn’t get the maximum result out of our good starting grid positions. Especially as far as the manufacturers’ championship is concerned, we didn’t achieve enough. We will have to analyse our performance in the rain, because we were lacking consistency in that stage of the race.”

Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director: “I am super happy. The fact that Marco already was so consistent and fast in his second year is a great success. One shouldn’t forget that we have a new car this year. Everybody together has done a tremendous job. But there are still two titles at stake, so we will continue to push.”

2014 DTM Champion - #23 Marco Wittmann (D, BMW Team RMG, BMW M4 DTM)

Marco Wittmann: DTM champion at record speed

He is 24 years young, but is hardened like an old hand: Marco Wittmann is the 2014 DTM champion. In the eighth season round at the Lausitzring, the BMW driver crossed the finish line in sixth place and is thus beyond reach for his rivals in the battle for the title. “This is sensational, simply unbelievable. It was a difficult race, I had to stay out of all the battles. I still have to deal with all these emotions,” the delighted German said after the biggest success of his career in motorsport to date.

An ambitious and competitive person, a sporting high-flyer or the down-to-earth boy next door: characterising the newly-crowned DTM champion is by no means easy. Anyone who knows Marco Wittmann also knows that the racing driver from Fürth does everything what it takes to be successful at the race track, but is keeping his feet firmly on the ground. The 24-year-old is taking his power from his family, the quiet retreat from his hectic life as a DTM star.

The way to the title

In the 2014 season, Wittmann drove from one success to another and continuously extended his lead in the drivers’ standings. When people asked him about the possible title win, his answer always was: “It is still too early to talk about this. I am working from one race to another.” This approach turned out to be the right one and also underlined the upcoming DTM star’s strong nerves. Jens Marquardt is one of Marco Wittmann’s biggest fans. “Throughout the season, Marco has kept his calm and always gave 100 percent,” the BMW motorsport director said proudly.

Marco Wittmann laid the foundation for his title win during the Hockenheim season opener, where he scored his maiden DTM race win with an advantage of 13 seconds. At Budapest, Spielberg and at the Nürburgring, he also stood on the top step of the podium. Only seldom before, a young race driver dominated proceedings in the DTM in a way like Marco Wittmann did this year. The series’ stalwarts also hailed him for his brilliant performance throughout the 2014 season. “Marco perhaps may be a little bit shy, but he knows very well when to push which pedal on his BMW,” the 2013 DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller commented. Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett added: “He really is a good sport. His performance throughout the season has been impressive.”

The champion’s early days

Everybody starts at a low level, and that can particularly be said about Marco Wittmann. In his first years racing go-karts, the young talent usually was the smallest driver in the field. His father Herbert has fond memories of the early days. “Our Marco was so small that he wasn’t even able to reach the pedals with his feet. To make sure that he could still drive, we put wooden blocks under his feet”, he recalls. “Initially, people laughed about him, but soon enough, he regularly gave the older and above all taller opponents a hard time.” Through the ranks of Formula BMW and the Formula 3 Euro Series, Wittmann finally made it into the DTM in 2012, albeit only as BMW’s official test driver initially. In 2013, Wittmann had his debut season racing for the brand from Munich in the most popular international touring car series.

Marco Wittmann, the family man

Father Herbert Wittmann, mother Angelika and brother Nico are present at every DTM round. The parents of the new DTM champion spend the nights in their camper in the paddock and thus are always in the immediate proximity of their son. “For me, a race weekend always involves plenty of stress,” Marco Wittmann explains. “Therefore, I don’t have a lot of time left for my family. Nevertheless, knowing that they are there is a very nice feeling.” When his tight schedule allows, the trained bodywork mechanic helps out in his parents’ workshop. Repairing bodywork damage, working with cars or taking care of the organisation in the family business are the contrast to the motorsport world, in which the BMW driver is taking centre stage.

2014 DTM - Lausitzring - Race result

2014 DTM - Drivers' championship standing

2014 DTM - Teams' championship standing

2014 DTM - Constructures' championship standing

Images : 2014 DTM - Lausitzring

[Source : DTM - Official]


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