After having witnessed a wake up call of the Mercedes-AMG squad in the previous double, as the Norisring rounds gave the impression that the Suttgart brand came back to its senses after a cold show, the raid in Zandvoort, Netherlands, did not certify it. There was a celebration only in the BMW team, while there was a deep long sigh in the Mercedes-AMG and Audi ones.
Zandvoort este a long awaited round by all drivers, for its technical and fast route. On the other hand, it is not exactly the best recipe for the finacial success of the organizer of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM), therefore, future plans for descending upon Dutch ground are made half-heartedly. According to the principle that states that seeing is believing, for the spectators as well as for the main stars of the 2015 DTM season, the races in Zandvoort must be lived to the max.
If you rang up a storm-beaten gambler before the double round in Netherlands, I believe the worst piece of advice would have been gambling all of your money on BMW. If Audi had already shown that they were in control in 2015, and those in Mercedes-AMG had woken up form the lassitude in Norisring, a round before, the Bavarians in BMW seemed a bit topsy-turvey… Not even him, Marco Wittmann, the ruling champion of the DTM series, had not seemed to honor the racing number on his car…
But money go out for wool and come home with a… Dutch shorn and BMW started the weekend with a tour de force. Great ranking on the grid and a first race, the short one, run on Saturday (40 minutes and an extra lap), turning out close to perfection. As the Zandvoort racetrack would not allow spectacular overtakings, but only extreme manoeuvres sometimes get a chance for a run, the race start is fundamental. Seven out of eight BMW drivers were in command in the top 10, with Gary Paffet (Mercedes-AMG) best ranked ˝intruder˝.
And Gary would have washed the Mercedes skirts a little bit, even though on his next to last lap, when he was fighting for the fourth spot with Augusto Farfus, would not have committed an error that got him temporarily off the racetrack and out of the scoring area, throwing him back in the 11th position, where he eventually finished on Saturday. Once they got rid of Paffet, the BMW drivers ticked a perfect 7 out of 7! For the very first time in the DTM history, a constructor would monopolize the first seven positions, starting with Marco Wittmann (on his first triumph in 2015 and the 5th in his career), Antonio Felix da Costa, Maxime Martin, Augusto Farfus, Bruno Spengler, Timo Glock and Tom Blomqwist. And maybe if Martin Tomczyk did not ditched the race, the result would have seemed even more dramatical for both Mercedes-AMG and Audi.
The 8th and the 9th spots were covered by Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) and Nico Muller (Audi), while the best ranked Mercedes-AMG car model, the only one that actually scored points, was the one driven by the hopeful Pascal Wehrlein – tenth spot.
The Bavarians’ Sunday
Saturday was a revelation, but Sunday brought probated it, at least this is how we could translate the events happened on the circuit during the long race made up by 60 minutes and an extra, run on the final weekend day of the DTM round. Antonio Felix da Costa was stating on Saturday, after having got the second position, that he was hoping in a result which would be just as good, on Sunday. But the day started the best way possible, with a pole position for the Portuguese.
And his race start was excellent, giving him the chance to lead the peleton. As he had already proven that he could be quite quick on the racetrack located on the coast of the North Sea, his first DTM win was just an hour away. The BMW march went on in the second race, causing deep stupefaction in the Mercedes-AMG and Audi teams.
Not even the pits for the tyre switch did not ruin the BMW party and, after an amazing race, the finish line was crossed – in the sound of the trompets – by the team of five, with Antonio Felix da Costa as a winner and Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler rounding up a podium that interweaves the momentum of youth with the slyness of those who know a move or two. Timo Glock came in fourth and in the fifth sport there came the winner of the previous day, Marco Wittmann.
The fastest Mercedes-AMG driver was Pascal Wehrlein, just as the day before, and Audi hardly finished in the 7th position, by the forever young Mattias Ekstrom. Mercedes-AMG brought two more drivers scoring, in the 8th and the 10th position – Christian Vietoris and Gary Paffett, while the 9th spot came to a driver that had had a bad season that far, the French Adrien Tambay.
There is no doubt that the weekend in Zandvoort was meant to be forgotten as soon as possible in the Mercedes-AMG squads pits, as well as in those of Audi. There was a big party in BMW for a good reason, with the first seven cars on Saturday and „only” the first five in the long race on Sunday. The Spielberg round is coming next, where the papers are showing the BMW as favorites, in a kind of a home race for them. Just that in the madness of the 2015 season, no blueprint stands, which eventually bring charm into this thrilling championship.
Overall ranking 2015 DTM
1. Jamie Green (Audi RS5 DTM) – Audi Sport Team Rosberg: 81 points
2. Mattias Ekstrom (Audi RS5 DTM) – Audi Sport Team Abt Sportline: 76 points
3. Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) – gooix/Original-Teile Mercedes-AMG: 76 points
4. Edoardo Mortara (Audi RS5 DTM) – Audi Sport Team Abt Sportline: 58 points
5. Robert Wickens (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) – SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG: 57 points
6. Bruno Spengler (BMW M4 DTM) – BMW Team MTEK: 52 points
7. Marco Wittmann (BMW M4 DTM) – BMW Team RMG: 49 points
8. Antonia Felix da Costa (BMW M4 DTM) – BMW Team Schnitzer: 43 points
9. Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-AMG C 63 AMG) – gooix/Original-Teile Mercedes-AMG: 40 points
10. Gary Paffett (Mercedes-AMG C 63 AMG) – EURONICS/BWT Mercedes-AMG: 37 points