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In first free practice of the DTM, the protagonists who are playing a role in the battle for the championship lined up at the front of the field.

With 1m31.760s, Mike Rockenfeller posted the fastest time and was 0.166 seconds faster than René Rast (1m31.926s) and 0.182 seconds faster than Mattias Ekström (1m31.942s).

Behind the three Audi drivers, Lucas Auer was classified fourth with his Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM.

Thus, the drivers who are fourth, second, first and sixth in the championship were represented. 

“It is always difficult to value free practice,” Rockenfeller said. “But I prefer a good start into the weekend. From that perspective, I am happy. With the car, everything was good, but we can still make some slight improvements on the set-up.” 

Mercedes-AMG and Audi alternated in fifth to eighth place with Gary Paffett, Jamie Green, Paul Di Resta and Nico Müller. Bruno Spengler was the fastest driver of a BMW M4 DTM in ninth place. Maxime Martin rounded out the top ten.

Second free practice of the DTM is taking place on Saturday, 14 October, at 9.55 hrs.

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René Rast has won the DTM race at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on Sunday.

In a dramatic final stage, the German crossed the finish line after 39 laps ahead of his fellow Audi drivers Mike Rockenfeller and Nico Müller. For Rast, this is the third win in his 19th DTM race.

On Saturday, the brand from Ingolstadt had already scored a clean sweep of the top three. The tragic hero in an entertaining race was Jamie Green. In the lead with two laps remaining, the Brit dropped back to 14th place due to gearbox problems.

In the DTM drivers’ standings, Mattias Ekström remains in the lead prior to the grand finale at Hockenheim. The Audi driver finished fifth behind Mercedes-AMG’s Gary Paffett. Marco Wittmann took the chequered flag in sixth with his BMW M4 DTM.

Jamie Green had to bite the bullet: having started from pole position, the Brit showed a commanding performance in the race and led the 16th race of the season until lap 38. With the 25 points for victory, Green would have considerably reduced the gap to Ekström in the DTM drivers’ standings.

However, a gearbox problem on his Audi RS 5 DTM prevented the win. “That really was too bad. Today simply wasn’t my day,” he commented after the race.

His fellow Audi driver Rast inherited first place with which he moves up to second in the championship standings. “We controlled the race, but the safety car mixed up everything. The battle for the title is now more open than ever, many things can still happen. At Hockenheim, we will know more,” Rast said.

The safety car intervention was called following a collision between Auer and Spengler, after which the Austrian was unable to drive his car out of the grass quickly enough. After his eighth place on Sunday, the Austrian now remained without any points in his home race. At the restart on lap 31, the front runners held on to their positions, the major loser of the Indycar start was Marco Wittmann.

The German dropped back from fourth to seventh. Eventually, Wittmann finished sixth. Gary Paffett on the other hand benefited. The Brit was seventh before the restart and took the chequered flag in fourth.

Prior to the final two races of the season at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, the situation in the championship remains thrilling: with 56 points still at stake, six drivers still have mathematical chances of winning the title, first and foremost points’ leader Ekström. The Swede has 172 points to his tally and thus is 21 points ahead of Rast (151). Green (137), Rockenfeller, Wittmann (both 134) and Auer (131) also still have chances to clinch the DTM crown. The 17th and 18th race of the season at Hockenheim (13-15 October, 2017) will bring the decision in the battle for the title.

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Audi was dominant in the two DTM races at Spielberg. At the Red Bull Ring, the drivers from Ingolstadt claimed both pole positions and all six podium places this weekend.

Thus, the Audi drivers got themselves into a perfect position for the finale at Hockenheim. Mattias Ekström, who finished fifth on Sunday, is leading in the championship with 172 points from Sunday’s race winner René Rast (151) and Jamie Green (137).

After the 16th race of the season, Mike Rockenfeller is now in fourth place as the fourth Audi driver in the top four, tied on points with BMW’s Marco Wittmann. Mercedes-AMG driver Lucas Auer (131) is sixth and also still has a mathematical chance of winning the title.

Jamie Green was the fastest driver of the entire weekend by far. The Brit pulled off the rare feat of claiming both pole positions. Nevertheless, he ended up as a knight of the sorrowful face. On Saturday, he had to make way for Mattias Ekström in the battle for victory in the closing stages of the race for the benefit of the team.

On Sunday, Green was slowed down by gearshift problems while in the lead. Eventually, he dropped back to 14th. “That was really sad. There is nothing I can do, today just wasn’t my day. It is a bit spooky indeed: two years ago, exactly the same happened to me here at Spielberg. Like today, I was in the lead and all of a sudden, I was no longer able to change gear,” Green said.

One could only guess what his real feelings were. “Unfortunately, the driver who would have deserved it most today is missing on the podium,” team-mate Nico Müller said. Ekström added: “That really is hardcore. He was incredibly fast, but didn’t have any luck.”

René Rast benefited from Green’s misfortune as he was handed his third win of the season on a plate. Mike Rockenfeller and Nico Müller completed the success for Audi. “Still, anything can happen at Hockenheim. A slight mistake or a problem with the car and everything is open again,” rookie driver Rast said given his gap of only 21 points to Ekström prior to the showdown.

A race, which was rather unspectacular until that point, became exciting as a result of a safety car intervention after 31 laps. BMW driver Bruno Spengler had tapped Lucas Auer into a spin in his home race, after which the latter retired with a damaged rear section of his car. After his eighth place from the previous day, ‘Luggi’ saw his chances massively reduced.

“That is racing. When you are well down in the field, it can happen that you are hit. Nevertheless, racing in front of the many spectators here in Austria was cool,” Auer said. His massive disappointment was clear to see on his face.

Race winner Rast commented the restart as follows: “That is exactly what you don’t want when you have pulled a gap from the others, but we dealt well with the situation. After that, it was the same as before.”

Marco Wittmann, who dropped back from fourth to seventh at the restart and was involved in several smaller battles, especially with the Audi drivers, wasn’t particularly amused.

The defending champion was like a lone voice in the wilderness. The complaints about the driving conduct of his opponents that he aired over the radio several times also largely remained unheard. Apart from one occasion in which race control decided that Ekström had to let Wittmann get past again as he had pushed him too wide off the track at the restart.

“I am disappointed and angry. After the weight balance, Audi now clearly has the car with the best race pace in the field. When you then also have to slow down the opposition, that is not okay. I am the type of racing driver who wants to see hard and fair races. Unfortunately, that wasn’t what we had today,” Wittmann said after finishing sixth behind Ekström.

It didn’t take long for the counter to arrive. “Perhaps he should stop complaining for once. I don’t know what he means. I overtook him on the track and when he is faster, he should overtake me again. That is possible. What more should I say? It is starting to get annoying,” Nico Müller replied to his opponent.

As a result of these verbal encounter, the very good driving performance by Gary Paffett almost remained unnoticed. The Mercedes-AMG driver had started from sixth place. Prior to the restart, he was seventh.

“After that, I was able to overtake two cars with Marco and ‘Eki’. Because of Green’s problem, I finished fourth. That was relatively good."

"It isn’t ideal, but given the pace we had this weekend, it is the best possible result,” the Brit kept a low profile.

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Jamie Green is the benchmark in the eighth DTM race weekend at Spielberg: after his pole position for the race on Saturday, the Audi driver also secured the best starting grid position for the second race of the weekend on Sunday.

With a lap time of 1m21.955s, Green qualified on pole position, the 13th of his DTM career. Pole on Saturday and Sunday: the only drivers before him to achieve that were Edoardo Mortara (Budapest, 2016) and António Félix da Costa (season finale Hockenheim, 2016).

Next to him on the front row of the grid for the 16th race of the season is fellow Audi driver René Rast, who missed out on valuable points for the drivers’ title after a spin in yesterday’s race. In the 20 minutes’ qualifying, Marco Wittmann secured third place on the grid with his BMW M4 DTM.

Mattias Ekström, the winner on Saturday and the leader in the points’ standings, finished eighth.

In the race, the Swede will have a hard time to get to the front: with Gary Paffett and Timo Glock, one Mercedes-AMG and one BMW are immediately in front of him in sixth and seventh place on the grid, and the two BMWs of Tom Blomqvist and Bruno Spengler right behind him.

Last on the grid for his home race is Lucas Auer with his Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM. However, the Austrian was only 0.727 seconds down on Green’s fastest time.

The second race at Spielberg in Austria will start at 15.15 hrs.