What a DTM opener at Hockenheim! In Sunday’s spectacular second race, Mike Rockenfeller stormed forward to second position after starting from ninth on the grid.
DTM Hockenheim, Race 1
DTM Hockenheim, Race 2
Podium for “Rocky”

Picture-perfect weather, a fantastic crowd and arguably the most gripping DTM race of all time: The fierce on-track battles made it difficult for most of the spectators that had traveled to Hockenheim on Sunday to stay in their seats during the 36 laps. The principal performer for Audi was Mike Rockenfeller in Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM. In the final stage, the German profited from tough duels at the front of the field and in a fierce fight still managed to bump Saturday’s winner Gary Paffett in a Mercedes-Benz from second position. Only winner Timo Glock in a BMW was out of “Rocky’s” reach.

 

“That was an awesome race today,” said Rockenfeller. “My car was much better than yesterday. Qualifying wasn’t perfect, but the race was top. I was able to attack on both sets of tyres. Because Timo (Glock) and Gary (Paffett) at the front kept overtaking each other Joel (Eriksson) and I came closer and closer. In the end, we had a four-way battle up until the last turn. It was mega fun and no doubt worth watching. I’m going to watch it myself again tonight. It’s been one of the coolest races I’ve ever driven.”

Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass was only able to agree: “That was a fantastic show today, a superb race for the DTM in general. Those were incredibly thrilling battles from the beginning to the end. Simply fascinating! You could tell how the people in the grandstands enjoyed this. For us, it was also great to finish in second place today with Mike (Rockenfeller) after yesterday’s difficult opener. We didn’t expect this, so it’s even sweeter.”

 

In the first race on Saturday, only René Rast (9th) and Loïc Duval (10th) had scored points for Audi. Both collected points also on Sunday, Duval in 5th place, Rast in 7th place and additionally for qualifying second.

Emotional farewell

Mattias Ekström enjoyed an emotional farewell from his DTM fans. After the checkered flag, it ended in donuts in front of the main grandstand and brought tears to the eyes of the two-time DTM Champion. Before the race started, his team had put on special jerseys in the Swedish national colors yellow and blue. Numerous fans and companions of the Swede, including Audi’s CEO Rupert Stadler, signed the hood of his Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM. On Sunday morning, Ekström gave away 1,219 caps of his partner Red Bull – the Audi driver had scored exactly the same number of points in his unique DTM career. Many DTM fans wore masks with the Swede’s face and in Turn 1 across from the Audi Race Lounge a huge banner saying #AdjöMattias was displayed.

Hockenheimring

The race in numbers

Look back:
DTM Hockenheimring