source: DTM, photos: DTM and Audi Sport
- Battle for the title a three-way fight between ex-champions Paul Di Resta and Gary Paffett as well as reigning champion René Rast
- Mick Schumacher trying to win the F3 European Championship crown
- Touring-Car Classics and GT4 Sprint Cup Europe to make the hearts of the motor-racing enthusiasts beat faster
In the season finale at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, the battle for the title will come to its end. Who will win the DTM driver’s championship? Who will have got nerves of steel, during the final spurt? Will championship leader Paul Di Resta, fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Gary Paffett or defending champion René Rast in his Audi clinch the title trophy? All these questions will be answered from 12th to 14th October, on the tenth race weekend of the 2018 DTM season. The omens for an outstanding motorsport festival are good as the battle for the title was taken down to the final race weekend not only in DTM. In the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, both Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ticktum still may hope for leaving Hockenheim as new European Champion.
“Our chances of winning the title look bright,” Di Resta says prior to the season finale. The 2010 DTM champion holds the lead with 229 points, just four points ahead of his team-mate Paffett (225). And in third position follows – 30 points behind the leader – René Rast. Meanwhile, Scotland’s Di Resta is the only of the three title contenders who can win the championship – with a dose of luck – early. Should he score 25 points more than Paffett in the Saturday round he will be the new champion. But achieving this goal will be anything but easy as he will have to win the race, with Paffett failing to score. “I will give my very best and am looking forward to a fair fight with my rivals,” Di Resta says confidently.
Gary Paffett also looks forward to the three-way battle for the title. After all, the 2005 DTM champion has fond memories of Hockenheim. The Briton won one of the races of the 2018 season opener that also was held at Hockenheim. “I massively look forward to Hockenheim although it’s a trip with mixed feelings,” reveals the Briton who has got 23 race wins under his belt and could work his way up to third position on the all-time record list behind Bernd Schneider (43) and Klaus Ludwig. Paffett: “The final race weekend of a season always is very special. And this time even more so as it will be the last DTM weekend for Mercedes-Benz after more than 30 years. And I accompanied them on their way for 15 of these years. That’s very emotional. I expect a close fight and am looking forward to it.”
René Rast, however, will have to cope with a colossal task. The defending champion travels to Hockenheim with a 30-point gap to Di Resta. To take the battle down to the Sunday race, the German definitely must finish ahead of his rivals Di Resta and Paffett. Following his four consecutive wins at the Nürburgring and Spielberg, the Audi ace is motivated to the max. “I’m looking ahead to Hockenheim with a lot of confidence and look forward to the three-way battle for the title,” Rast says prior to the showdown. To keep his chances alive, Rast has already entered to the flat-out mode. “At the end of the day there’s nothing I can lose and therefore, my approach is ‘maximum attack’.”
Support programme also will make for motor-racing action galore
With the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, the Touring Car Classics and the GT4 Sprint Cup Europe powered by SRO, the DTM support programme at Hockenheim features three top-class series. In the F3 European Championship, Mick Schumacher has won five of the last six races and finished runner-up in the sixth. He definitely is a factor in the fight for the title. The 18-year old son of seven-time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher travels to Hockenheim as championship leader and therefore may hope for winning the crown.
Meanwhile, the fight for the top positions in the Touring Car Classics already is over but all the drivers on the grid featuring popular touring cars of the 1980s and 1990s want to shine in front of the huge DTM season finale crowds. And don’t forget the GT4 Sprint Cup Europe: The two sprint races are contested by the GT4 vehicles of the manufacturers involved – Audi R8 GT4, BMW M4 GT4 and Mercedes-AMG GT4 – as well as spectacular racing cars such as the Aston Martin Vantage, McLaren 570s GT4, Chevrolet Camaro GT4, KTM X-Bow GT4 or Sin R1 GT4.
Aloof from the track, The Disco Boys will make for party atmosphere. The DJ pairing from Hamburg will play music on Saturday from 19:00hrs CEST on the show stage in the paddock. For 90 minutes, Raphael Krickow and Gordon Hollenga will thrill the crowds with their unique mix of modern house tunes and disco classics. All the visitors with paddock tickets admission will be free.
The DTM season finale live on DTM.com
Tickets are available online at www.dtm.com/tickets. The two DTM rounds at Hockenheim will be covered by DTM.com and the official DTM App, where all the practice and qualifying sessions as well as the races will be streamed live and free of charge.