The BMW M3 ended its career in the DTM with a sensational first-time win for ex-F1 pilot Timo Glock. Remember him, that bloke in the Toyota, right corner/wrong gear who helped Lewis Hamilton win his world Championship in 2008?
Lewis himself turned up at the weekend in rainy Hockenheim for the last event in this year’s ten race series to cheer on the Mercedes teams, and having the champ around was certainly a boost: HWA Team driver Roberto Mehri came from the back of the grid to lead a heft chunk of the wet and dry race. With the recent form of the AMG C Coupe, that came as something of a surprise.
Mike Rockenfeller and the Audi RS5 had already wrapped up the 2013 DTM driver’s title two weeks ago. Yesterday, on the same day Audi secured the World Endurance Championship in a bizarre ‘race’ in torrential rain in Japan, Rocky’s Phoenix operation added the 2013 DTM Team prize. But Audi’s spoils and Mercedes’ apparent return to form (it’s won just two races this year) didn’t stop the final round of this years’ DTM being all about BMW and the M3 DTM, which will of course be replaced by the M4 in 2014.
M3s took the first four places on the grid after the shoot out on Saturday, last year’s champ Bruno Spengler on pole with rookie teammate Dirk Werner (the man to beat in practice) alongside in the other Schnitzer M3.
Brit Andy Priaulx (the former triple World Touring Car Champ, and fresh from last weekend’s Bathurst 1000) had his best qualifying run yet in the RMG Team M3 in fourth, ahead of Glock’s MTEK car. Best placed Audi was fifth, in the hands of Miguel Molina, Rockenfeller’s Phoenix teammate.
A poor start saw Glock drop back and tangle with another BMW, championship runner-up Augusto Farfus, who came off worse this time. After that the F1 star showed his class in the tricky conditions, made up the places and picked off all but Spengler who’d gotten away cleanly and quickly from pole. Glock and Mehri clearly best got their heads around the conditions and, once Daniel Juncadella’s Merc’ had tipped Mattias Ekstrom in to spin, the battle was pretty much between them and them alone. But Glock had in it the bag, passed Mehri with six laps left and was comfortably ahead after Mehri made a late final pit stop. Spengler was third, Priaulx a solid-looking sixth.
So that’s it for the DTM for this year. In 2014 the series returns complete with a new schedule that will take it to China for the first time (sadly for UK fans, it seems at the expense of the Brands Hatch round) and the BMW M4. Among the pilots we do hope to see Herr Glock back. He’s found out this year, like many an ex-F1 driver, that a DTM car is no pussycat. But despite the DTM being something of a preferred retirement plan for F1 drivers, Glock is part of a minority that have actually won a race. As the only ex-driver in this year’s field, he’ll be very pleased he has.
WATCH THE WHOLE RACE HERE