Pascal Wehrlein: Rising star among the stars

DTM Lausitzring
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Pascal Wehrlein was the man of the weekend for Mercedes-Benz in DTM, at the Lausitzring round. The 19 year-old German has managed to become the youngest ever poleman in the history of the DTM. Marco Wittmann (BMW), another young championship leader, managed to take home the 2014 title in DTM.

The session on the Lausitzring circuit, the eight one out of ten scheduled for the 2014 DTM season started under damp conditions. The dense fog messed up the Saturday schedule. Due to the rain, fans of the Lausitz region couldn’t enjoy the racing weekend properly. The organizers estimated that about 58.000 people watched the whole race from the stands. Even so, those who managed to confront mother nature had nothing to regret. The race (the whole weekend, in fact) was a statement from the young wolves in the DTM.

Saturday practice sessions were cancelled. So that the qualification session can take place and to accommodate with the track. Due to the tight schedule and low visibility, the main qualification session underwent modifications. Only two instead of three phases took place. It was all about talent and the ability to reinvent the driving style. That was since no one had enough time to learn about the little secrets of the circuit. BMW disappointed with a rather weak presence in Q1. Meanwhile Mercedes and Audi took seven out of the eight vacancies from the Q2 that turned instantly in Q3.

The only BMW exception was Marco Wittmann, the current leader in the overall ranking. He needed ranking in points and outcomes from the Swedish Mattias Ekstrom (Audi), in order for Wittman to be the 2014 champion.

With a clear path and without any mistakes, young Pascal Wehrlein managed, at only 19, to get the first pole of his career. Thus, besides his personal performance, the German became the youngest driver in history to get a first ranking place at the race start.

It was clearly a weekend for the young and restless. And this was obvious from Saturday, a championship that, in the past, was the “elephants’ graveyard”. By no means it was an opportunity for young talents.

The Sunday race had no precedent. At least not from the point of view of the pilot who drove the #25 automobile. After a perfect DTM start, the AMG C-coupe of Werhlain set the tempo right from the first lap. He succeeded in overtaking immediately all his followers. Wehlain managed a very smart race, sometimes slightly risky. But his youth enthusiasm would pay off after 52 laps after the start. Excepting a moment, that took place in lap 16, when he went straight in the infield for a very small amount of time, Werhlain managed to overcome the pressure. He eventually did a wonderful job.

In the back, the hostilities were agitated. Famous drivers like Mattias Ekstrom (Audi) Bruno Spengler (BMW), Martin Tomczyk (BMW) or Edoardo Mortara (Audi ) failed in key moments. However, Ekstrom retires after losing a wheel that was poorly-fixed at the pit-stop. This was the defining moment from the 2014 season.

After he overtook his main rival for the title, Marco Wittman, who was ultra-cautious and very tactical. His goal was to get to the finish line. He unleashed himself and began increasing the speed. Although he passed undisturbed by the chess flag on a sixth place, math was on his side and the 24 year old pilot has marked another historic moment for BMW, even though this was his second season behind the steering wheel of a DTM automobile.

If Wehrlein victory was undisputed, Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz) and Timo Scheider (Audi) competed for the second place. Timo Scheider, a champion of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, was faster in the final laps, but Vietoris defense worked perfectly, virtually enclosing every course for the Audi pilot. Even so, it was truly a relief for Scheider, a well-deserved podium, after a not-so-good-to-remember type of season, since he stayed out of the first places in the ranking, until Lausitzring. The eight round of the season was flawlessly for Mercedes-Benz, with the first two positions in the overall ranking and with a strong dose of morality for the last two races of the year. DTM fans will meet their favorite pilots in Holland on Circuit Park Zadvoort, on 27th and 28th September.