Start, Hungaroring, DTM, 2016

Disqualifications hit DTM title fight

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Two drivers were disqualified following last weekend’s DTM action but their teams are appealing the exclusions which could affect the championship outcome.

The Japanese Super Formula championship is also set for an exciting conclusion at Suzuka following last weekend’s round at Sugo, while another potential star of the future collected a championship at Spa-Francorchamps.

DTM

Round 8 (Races 15-16 of 18): Hungaroring

Start, Hungaroring, DTM, 2016
Race two got off to a dramatic start
Audis filled the top six places in race one at the Hungaroring as Edoardo Mortara won from pole position ahead of Jamie Green and Miguel Molina. Mattias Ekstrom and Martin Tomczyk spun off at turn two, Paul di Resta and Antonio Felix da Costa clashed on lap ten, but a static second half of the race allowed Audi to maximise their points haul. Wittmann was best of the rest in seventh, just ahead of Felix Rosenqvist who was the first Mercedes driver home in only his fifth DTM race.

Mortara took pole again for race two but wheelspin off the line saw him triggered a very hectic first few corners: Wittmann tried to get around the outside in turn one but Mortara blocked him off aggressively, causing the BMW driver to spin across his nose and collide with Green. Mattias Ekstrom avoided the melee to take the lead ahead of Adrien Tambay and Daniel Juncadella. A puncture dropped Mortara out of contention and Green returned to the pits to retire.

After the pit stops the top three after turn one helped their places until the end, meaning Ekstrom took victory with Tambay second. Juncadella and Wittmann were third and fourth on the road, but both were excluded with technical infringements after their skid blocks were too worn. Both BMW and Mercedes are appealing their disqualifications, the outcome of which could affect the championship. As it stands the Hockenheim finale will begin with Wittmann 14 points ahead of Mortara.

Super Formula

Round 6 (Race 7 of 9): Sugo

Yuhi Sekiguchi became the first driver to win two races this year and eked out a 4.5-point lead in the championship ahead of the double-header finale at Suzuka. The Toyota-powered racer dominated proceedings at Sugo, winning from pole position despite seeing the his sizeable lead eradicated by the Safety Car.

Kazuki Nakajima jumped from third to second at the start, but suffered a temporary gearbox problem which saw him drop to sixth. Andre Lotterer made an early pit stop along with Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Daisuke Nakajima, putting pressure on the late-stopping Sekiguchi, but on lap 19 de Oliveira spun at SP corner and became beached in the gravel, triggering the Safety Car.

By this point Sekiguchi was running away at the front, but the timing of the safety car meant he couldn’t pit before joining the train. Stoffel Vandoorne had pitted only two laps earlier, meaning his race was also compromised.

At the restart Sekiguchi continued his dominance, lapping a second quicker than everyone else, and his superiority was highlighted when he made a second pit stop on lap 55 and still emerged with a comfortable lead. Daisuke Nakajima’s early stop gave him second position, while Tomoki Nojiri took the final podium spot ahead of Nakajima, Lotterer and Vandoorne. Yuji Kunimoto lost the championship lead after finishing a poor weekend in 15th place.

World Touring Car Championship

Round 10 (Races 19-20 of 24): China

Jose Maria Lopez is assured of the 2016 World Touring Car Championship regardless of whether the next round in Thailand goes ahead: It is widely expected to be cancelled. Nonetheless he dominated the second race at the shortened Shanghai track, leading from lights to flag to win by 11 seconds over Muller. The Lada of Nicky Catsburg started from second, but a poor start saw him drop to 4th. The big mover in this race was Tiago Monteiro who recovered from 13th to 8th position, but despite this he lost ground to Muller in the championship fight. The final round*, which is also Citroen, Lopez and Muller’s last in the series, will take place in Qatar in two months.

Thed Bjork took a surprise first win for Volvo in the series in the weekend’s first race with a last lap pass on Norbert Michelisz. The eventual winner worked his way up from sixth position on the grid as Michelisz led from the start. John Filippi slipped backwards hacing started from pole, with Tom Chilton and Gabriele Tarquini taking up second and third. Bjork was up to fourth by the second lap and then set about Tarquini. Meanwhile, Filippi’s race ended on lap three when he was sandwiched between Lopez and Fredrik Ekblom. Hugo Valente then dived down the inside of all three, and the domino effect gave Filippi broken suspension.

The subsequent two laps behind the Safety Car closed the field up and on lap nine Chilton and Tarquini collided, forcing them both out of the race and promoting Bjork to second ahead of Yvan Muller. Bjork reeled Michelisz in made his move with three laps to go. Michelisz rebuffed him strongly, earning a driving standards warning. But on the final tour Bjork made the move stick to take victory by three-tenths of a second, despite receiving a post-race reprimand for his own forcefulness.

NASCAR

Race 28 of 36: New Hampshire

Kevin Harvick took victory at the last gasp after a very late caution, and with it took first place into the Round of 12 playoff stage of the Chase for the Cup. Martin Truex Jnr and Carl Edwards were the early leaders, but in a race with six cautions and 15 lead changes, Harvick took the lead with five laps to go. With only one race to go in this first round Chris Buescher, Tony Stewart and Austin Dillon are currently in the elimination spots.

Guest series: Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup

Races 12 and 13 of 15: Spa-Francorchamps

Lando Norris clinched the Eurocup title with two races remaining despite having a rare win-less weekend at Spa-Francorchamps. The 16-year-old took a third and a second place to wrap up the title. It’s his second crown of the year, having already won the Formula Toyota New Zealand series, and he’s leading the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Championship as well.

Guest series: Renault Sport Trophy

Races 13, 14 and 15 of 18: Spa-Francorchamps

Robert Kubica finished fourth in his only solo race during the Renault Sport Trophy weekend at Spa-Francorchamps. Pieter Schothorst, Steijn, Schothorst and Kevin Korjus filled the podium places in the Sprint Professional race.

Also last weekend

Marc Marquez ended the run of eight different consecutive winners with his first home victory in two years at Aragon. He led home Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi to extend his championship lead over the latter to 52 points with just 100 available.

Over to you

What racing did you watch this weekend and what did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below.

Next weekend Formula One heads to Malaysia where it will be joined by GP2 and GP3, but that’s not the only open wheel racing taking place with European F3 and Formula V8 3.5 also in action.

If you’re looking for tin-top action the WRC is back after a prolonged break with action from France, while World Rallycross visits Latvia and NASCAR continues. There are also two season finales as IMSA comes to an end for 2016 while eight BTCC drivers are in contention for that title at the Brands Hatch finale.

Thanks to Robert Mathershaw (@Mathers) for contributing to this article.

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  • 15 comments on “Disqualifications hit DTM title fight”

    1. I really hope that Lando Norris continues his rise through the formulas as well as he’s started. His year has been amazing. He’s almost assured a 3rd championship this year baring a disaster as he’s 38 points clear in the NEC with only one round to go.
      The lad arguably could have had 4 championships this year if it was possible to be in two places at once! He finished 8th in BRDC British F3, despite only competing in 4 out of 8 meetings (due to Eurocup / NEC clashes), with the same number of race wins as the champion.

      Also can’t wait for the BTCC finale next weekend. Its mathematically 8 drivers in the hunt, but realistically I think onl;y the top 5.
      Mat Jackson in 5th is 21 points behind Sam Tordoff, but probably won’t get any favours from teammate Andrew Jordan (31 points behind) until the maths completely rule him out.
      Rob Collard in 4th is 18 points behind Tordoff, but its gonna be hard for him to overhaul his teammate and he’ll probably be expected to support Tordoff against the Hondas.
      Matt Neal in 3rd is 13 points behind Tordoff, but…
      Gordon Shedden is 11 points behind Tordoff. How the Hondas go about this will be interesting. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket, but it could be a bit Alonso / Hamilton in 2008 if they take points off each other. I imagine, qualifying plus race 1 will determine who they throw their weight behind.
      As for Tordoff, its pretty much his to lose. It would be great to see another new champion on the grid.

      Basically I can’t wait; and the missus knows that i’ll not be leaving the telly all Sunday!

      1. @eurobrun I wish I could share your enthusiasm about the BTCC. It’s always been a championship I’ve enjoyed but I’ve pretty much stopped watching it over the past few years.

        The amount of performance-adjusting and ballasting makes it impossible to follow who’s actually competitive. And then there’s the mandatory soft tyre stuff too which just bores me. The racing’s good, but it just feels completely false, like it’s been engineered to create these multi-driver championship showdowns.

        I feel the same way about the DTM, though without the same kind of affection, because I watched loads of BTCC when I was growing up in the Super Touring era.

        1. Keith wasn’t Super Touring the RS500 era…?

          1. You might wanna watch this one – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hamaRwRuhyM

            Superprix Birmingham 1989 BTCC

            1. I watched it at the time! (I was pretty young then, though…)

          2. The RS500 was in Group A, the regulations before Super Touring (1991-2000).
            The 2-litre Super Touring formula was a masterstroke, and the BTCC organisers have been trying to repeat that success ever since. But BTC Touring was an unmitigated disaster, and while NGTC is doing well at home, the concept isn’t exporting. There was talk of the Scandinavian championship using NGTCs instead of their local Solution-F silhouettes, but they’re moving to the TCR platform for 2017.

        2. “The amount of performance-adjusting and ballasting makes it impossible to follow who’s actually competitive. And then there’s the mandatory soft tyre stuff too which just bores me. The racing’s good, but it just feels completely false, like it’s been engineered to create these multi-driver championship showdowns”

          Perfect description of how I feel about the DTM. What makes it even more frustrating is that the cars are actually cool as hell, yet the racing is so artificial sometimes. WEC is getting ruined too, especially in LMP1 and GTE. At least F1 seems to be going in the right direction for next year!

      2. I also really hope he does well and makes it into F1, but mostly so I can make jokes about his sidekick Lobot, tibanna gas mining, and how he would be winning races if not for losing the Millennium Falcon to Han Solo over a hand of sabacc.

    2. MotoGp again delivering, man I love the Rossi/Marquez/Lorenzo trio, and it’s only going to get better with Vinales at Yamaha, and Lorenzo at Ducati next year.

      As for the DTM; It has been one of the most boring seasons I’ve watched. I really think they are going to far away from its roots. I would really love the DTM to go back to smaller cars (M2, RS3 and CLA AMG), loose half the aero on those cars and visit proper tracks, not half the GP track of the Nurburgring,… Only then it might attract other brands to come back too…

      1. Well, we can complain about the DTM and BTCC, neither are as bad as the WTCC,…

        1. Race 1 of last weekend’s WTCC action was breathtaking stuff, ballast or not. Possibly best race I’ve seen all year. @xtwl

    3. I’ll say this, Sekiguchi’s drive at Sugo was truly reminiscent of what Michael Schumacher could do in his prime. (Ironically, MSC’s only race in what is now Super Formula was 25 years ago, and it was also at Sugo.)

      After the race, team principal Kazuyoshi Hoshino not only said he should be in F1, but if he had the choice, he’d send him to McLaren Honda over Stoffel Vandoorne.

      And he’s not entirely wrong. If Sekiguchi wins the championship, he’ll become only the second rookie champion in series’ history (the other was Ralf Schumacher), going back to its inception in the 1970s. That is a remarkable accomplishment, given that he’s racing against the likes of Lotterer, Kobayashi, Kaz Nakajima, Vandoorne and many other true pros.

      That Sekiguchi will never even so much as get a look from F1 teams due to his age, his lack of F1 connections, and the general apathy towards Super Formula unless a bred-for-F1 star like Vandoorne is even taking part is really a shame.

      1. Sekiguchi’s performance at SUGO was outstanding. He dominated the field like he was driving a superior car. Truly amazing.

        Japanese medias and fans were cheering for him to be in F1 last Sunday, as @rjoconnell said.

        Even though he didn’t win the Indy 500 either, I reckon Super Formula has no international support although there are the faster single-seater car outside F1.

        Twenty years ago, Sekiguchi might have had a seat in F1 with that kind of performance.

      2. That might have something to do with the fact that Sekiguchi can do it once but men like Vandoorne can do it in whatever series they enter.

    4. Keith, since you have brought up the MotoGP series, there was a rather disturbing news article on Autosport recently about that race in Aragon. It mentions that Danilo Petrucci was allowed, and even encouraged, to race despite the fact that he was obviously concussed – he later admitted that he was suffering from severe short term memory loss, having no memory of competing in qualifying or even of his original accident, yet was allowed to compete despite being quite obviously unfit to race.

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