Nürburgring/Germany, 8th September 2018 – DTM race number 111 on Hankook tyres got underway in glorious sunshine and with a track temperature of over 30 degrees at the Nürburgring on Saturday. Pole-sitter René Rast defended his lead at the start, before controlling the race on the 3.629-kilometre strip of asphalt in the Eifel region of Germany. The Audi driver came in for a fresh set of Hankook tyres on lap 16 and found himself back at the front of the field after the round of pit stops. The reigning champion produced a flawless performance to take the fifth victory of his DTM career with a lead of 0.862 seconds.
Rast was followed over the line in second place by Bruno Spengler (BMW), who claimed his first podium of the season. Third place for Gary Paffett was enough to see the Mercedes-Benz driver regain the lead in the Drivers’ Championship. Fellow Mercedes-Benz man, and leader coming into the Nürburgring weekend, Paul Di Resta was forced off the track following a collision on lap twelve and thus came home 18th. Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) produced an impressive display in his 150th DTM race, fighting back to finish sixth from eleventh on the grid.
Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director Europe: “The 111th DTM race on Hankook tyres was once again exciting right down to the finish. Winner René Rast crossed the finish line a little over eight tenths of a second ahead of runner-up Bruno Spengler, while Gary Paffett came home third, just four tenths of a second in front of fourth-placed Timo Glock. The lead in the Drivers’ Championship has changed hands again. The title race in the DTM remains wide open right down to the finish, thanks in part to the Hankook race tyre.”
Since the seventh round of this season’s DTM in Misano, the teams have had to comply with a minimum cold air pressure, which was set at 1.3 bar for the iconic circuit in the Eifel Mountains. This was controlled by the DMSB. The aim, as discussed with the manufacturers, is to ensure that the Hankook race tyre has a controlled drop-off effect after about 100 kilometres, thus making it necessary to take the mandatory pit stop around the middle of the race. A number of teams had ignored the safety recommendations of premium tyre maker Hankook this season, and had used very low cold air pressures, which allowed them to complete virtually a complete DTM race on one set of Hankook race tyres.
René Rast (Audi): “I am mega happy with this win. The new minimum cold air pressure of 1.3 bar made it trickier than in previous races, which we started with far lower tyre pressures. The car floats a little more, but the Hankook race tyre held up well. We must work on ensuring that our race pace is a little better.”
Bruno Spengler (BMW): “I am very happy with my first podium of the season. The Hankook race tyre worked very well, both in the cool qualifying conditions this morning and in the hotter temperatures during the race. It was still very consistent, even with the new air pressures, and I was able to set quick lap times right through to the finish.”
Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz): “It was cold in qualifying and very difficult to get the tyres up to the right temperature. In the race, it was important to manage the tyres, so as to keep wear to a minimum. That was more difficult for us with the new air pressures than for our rivals, although the Hankook race tyre was very consistent. We must find a set-up, with which the tyre works even better for Saturday.”