Spielberg/Austria, 22nd September 2018 – Spectators at the Red Bull Ring witnessed a spectacular race on Saturday, with two safety car phases and a last-minute winner in the form of René Rast (Audi). All the DTM drivers except Joel Eriksson (BMW) started on the Hankook slick on the alpine track, which was damp in places following earlier showers. For long periods, it looked as though Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-Benz), who came in for his mandatory pit stop and a fresh set of the Hankook race tyre on lap 19, was set to convert his pole position into a dominant victory.
The Spaniard held on to his lead after the second safety car phase on lap 35. Shortly after, however, he was handed a 30-second penalty for breaching the re-start regulations. This paved the way for Mike Rockenfeller and Nico Müller (both Audi), who allowed fellow Audi driver Rast to pass them on the 37th and final lap.
This team strategy presented the defending DTM champion with his third race win in a row. The 31-year-old remains third overall, but has closed the gap to Paul Di Resta. The Mercedes-Benz driver finished fourth to move ahead of fellow Mercedes-Benz man Gary Paffett at the top of the overall standings. Paffett had to settle for tenth place and just one championship point. The best-placed BMW driver was Marco Wittmann in seventh. He lies fourth in the standings with three races remaining.
Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director Europe: “That was an incredibly exciting race with a surprising winner. Daniel Juncadella had actually earned the win, but threw it away at the re-start shortly before the end of the race. It is understandable that Audi used team orders to help their best-placed driver in the championship, René Rast, to victory. After all, the title in one of the most prestigious racing series in the world is at stake here. The Hankook race tyre once again provided all the drivers with an impressive overall package offering plenty of grip and a high degree of consistency, even in these difficult conditions, with the asphalt very cold and damp in places.”
René Rast (Audi): “It was tricky to drive on the slicks in these mixed conditions. However, the Hankook race tyres worked perfectly and held up very well right through to the end of each stint. I was very happy with them.”
Mike Rockenfeller (Audi): “It took a while for us to get the cold slicks up to the ideal temperature on a track that was wet in places. After that, the pace on the Hankook race tyre was good. I am very happy.”
Nico Müller (Audi): “At first, we were a little jittery about how the slicks would react in the damp spots. However, the Hankook slick worked from A to Z, whether at the start of the race on the wet sections or at the end, when the wear was a little greater. Everything was impeccable.”
Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-Benz): “The Hankook tyres were very good. I was able to push really hard in my first stint and to regain the lead, which I lost briefly to Rocky. After the pit stop, the Hankook slick heated up perfectly and I was able to control the race. It is a shame to miss out on my second DTM win due to a penalty so close to the end of the race.”
Marco Wittmann (BMW): “It was a good race, right through to the finish. I was on course for a top-three finish for much of the race and could have ended up on the podium had it not been for the safety car and the re-start. Unfortunately, we were not able to look after the Hankook race tyre as well as the opposition. It is disappointing to drop back to seventh so shortly before the finish.”