The DTM heads back to its spiritual home of Germany this weekend for the first time since June 28th after the series’ tour of Central Europe concluded at Moscow Raceway two weeks ago. After visits to the Netherlands, Austria and Russia the DTM’s return to Oschersleben for rounds 13 and 14 of the 2015 DTM championship promise to be just as intriguing as the 12 races before.
Such has been the ultra competitive nature of the DTM this year that predicting winners at Oschersleben could be somewhat of an impossible task however the jury is out as to whether BMW can return to the top step of the podium for the first time since their Zandvoort clean sweep. Pole for Wittmann here last year was about as good as it got for BMW with only two other cars from the marque finishing inside the top ten. So who can we expect to rise to the top over the 2.2 miles of asphalt on Saturday and Sunday?
The recent good form of Audi, and in particular Abt Sportsline could make Ekstrom and Mortara safe bets for solid points scoring finishes this weekend. Leading the championship by 6 points from Wehrlein and 16 from his teammate, Ekstrom will be hoping for more solid results this weekend to extend his championship lead. Buoyed by his victory in race two at Moscow, Mike Rockenfeller could wrestle his way into podium contention as he looks to improve on last years second place finish.
Reigning champ Wittmann is bullish about his prospects coming into the final third of the DTM after his second place finish in Moscow saying “I always enjoy returning to the circuit. Last year’s DTM weekend here started really well for me. I secured pole position and was enjoying a good race. However, I then made a slight mistake and was then stopped by a mechanical problem. I hope we can complete the races this time and, if possible, get on that top step of the podium.”
The return of Timo Scheider to the Audi camp after his suspension at Moscow will no doubt be a welcome boost to the Ingolstadt manufacturer who return to Germany leading the manufacturers standings by 28 points from Mercedes with Dieter Gass looking for the team to increase that lead this weekend. With pre-season testing having taken place at Oschersleben Gass said “That’s why we’ve already gathered a lot of information about the set-up of the cars. We know that due to its kerbs the track will be extremely hard and overtaking difficult despite the DRS. That’s why the two qualifying sessions will be even more important. In the race, turn one will be a key section, which is why most of the spectators are sitting there.”
With Friday practice just two days away, here are two questions we would like to see answers for this weekend.
Can Jamie Green return to winning ways?
With his scintillating start to the season with three wins from four races, you could have quite easily been forgiven for thinking this seasons title was going to won at a canter. It is testament to Green’s early season form that he still finds himself in 4th place and just 23 points off the Championship lead. After torrid races at the Norisring, Zandvoort and Spielberg, Green showed improved form last time out at Moscow with a 4th and 5th place finish to keep his faltering title hopes alive. Victories and podiums this weekend could see his title charge get right back on track.
Will there be any more fallout for Audi and Timo Scheider
Truth be told, if Ullrich did indeed tell Scheider to maliciously “take him out” over the team radio in Austria then in our opinion they should both be excluded and barred from the championship for the rest of the season. There’s no place for such un-sportsman like behaviour in any Motorsport series and the DTM, one of the world’s premier touring car championships is no exception. Scheider wasn’t enjoying a great season before Austria, and his exclusion from Moscow won’t have done his hopes for a better final third a great deal of good.
thehairpincorner prediction: Solid results for all the championship’s top three and maybe wins for Rockenfeller and Wittmann.
We’ll be back with an update after FP1 on Friday.