A questionable penalty for the winner and some serious team orders tainted the end of what had been a very exciting race
There’s a lot to like about the DTM: the cars are fast, there are tons of talented drivers, and the racing is often excellent. However, sometimes it can score a bit of an own goal - and today appears to have been one of those days.
Things unravelled following a late safety car period to recover Timo Glock’s stricken BMW. Pole-sitter Dani Juncadella had led pretty much the whole race and retained the lead at the restart, only to be given a penalty for accelerating too soon.
With a time penalty incoming, that left Audi drivers Mike Rockenfeller, Nico Müller and René Rast poised to take a one-two-three. But with Rast being the only one of the three in with a shout of winning the championship, both Rockenfeller and Müller pulled aside in the final two corners, allowing Rast to win. It was a case of team orders to the extreme - why does it always happen at this circuit!?
It made something of a mockery of the rest of the race. With only three manufacturers, team orders are something you almost have to accept with the DTM. However the team orders, combined with Juncadella’s penalty, left something of a sour taste in many people’s mouths. Several drivers - both from the DTM and other series - took to Twitter to make their feelings known.
Unsurprisingly, fans weren’t especially happy with the way the race finished, either.
After the race a resigned Juncadella hit out at the series, saying:
“This is such a strong championship which is destroyed by such small things - it’s digging its own grave. To have such a great day spoiled by something like this is annoying, but I’m not going to let it get into my head.
“It’s nice to hear a lot of comments from other guys, other manufacturers, who don’t agree with the situation. I’m taking all the positive stuff - I’m not fighting for the championship so who cares about the points? I just missing going on the podium and spraying champagne on everybody around!”
Hey, at least he got some sort of trophy…