Wickens on Nurburgring podium twice
NURBURG – Guelph’s Robert Wickens vaulted himself into ninth place in the DTM German touring car series standings with a pair of top-three finishes at Nurburgring on the weekend.
The 28-year-old who grew up in Guelph wrapped up the seventh stop on the tour with a win in the second race of the weekend, Sunday’s 40-lap event on the 3.629-kilometre track. He drove his Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM to a victory of just over a third of a second over runner-up and fellow Mercedes driver Paul Di Resta of Scotland. Di Resta was 0.362 seconds behind.
“That was a crazy race,” he said on the Mercedes website. “The start was tough and the decisive move came with the pit stop. Unfortunately, Luggi (fellow Mercedes driver Lucas Auer of Austria) spun in front of me. That was lucky for me and unlucky for him. From there on, we had a good strategy and were able to undercut a bunch of people. But I had to work really hard for it and I had to get past a lot of people after the stop. Heads up to the guys – the car was fantastic.”
Wickens completed the race in 56 minutes, 49.795 seconds. German driver Marco Wittmann was third in his BMW M4 DTM, 7.589 seconds behind Wickens who had qualified third for the race behind Wittmann and Di Resta.
“Marco and I had a fun little battle there at the end,” Wickens said. “We had a few minor contacts, but all in all it was a really good fight. I was really lucky that the race wasn’t one lap longer because Paul was pushing like crazy. When Marco and I were battling it out, it seems we both took a lot of damage. After we made contact in Turn 1, my steering wasn’t straight anymore and some flicks were missing. It was a tough fight at the end and I’m really happy that the race ended when it did.”
The win was the sixth for Wickens in six years in the series. His best overall finish in the standings was fourth last year with 124 points.
Wickens finished Saturday’s wet 33-lap race in third, 1.568 seconds behind the winner Auer as Mercedes swept the top four positions. Auer won in 54:12.443, Di Resta was second, 0.794 seconds behind, Wickens was third and Germany’s Maro Engel was fourth, 3.776 seconds behind Wickens.
Wickens scored 42 points on the weekend to move up three spots in the standings as he raised his total to 100 for the season. Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom leads with 136 while Auer is second at 127 and Audi’s Rene Rast third at 124.
The series has four races left to go this season with races Sept. 23 and 24 at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, and races Oct. 14 and 15 at Germany’s Hockenheim. However, those tracks have not been kind to Wickens in his DTM career. His best finish is 11th in seven races at Spielberg and he did record a second at Hockenheim in the season finale last year, his only podium finish in 16 races there.
- Guelph Sports Journal