In round 18, the final one in the 2017 DTM season, Mike Rockenfeller provided Audi Sport Team Phoenix with another podium success. Still, Rockenfeller missed the leap into the top 3 of the drivers’ standings – ultimately taking fourth place in the championship. In qualifying for Sunday’s race, the Phoenix campaigner achieved the eighth-best time. However, due to a grid penalty (fifth caution) imposed on his fellow Audi driver Jamie Green, he was able to move up one position on the grid. The team opted for a similar strategy as on Saturday. About two thirds into the race, Rockenfeller pitted for his tire change and subsequently fought back once more, reducing the gap to the front runners over the remaining ten laps. The subsequent race winner, Wittmann (BMW), and his fellow Audi driver and new DTM Champion, René Rast, were the only rivals Rockenfeller was unable to catch up with anymore.
In contrast to his positive performance curve from mid-season onward, Loïc Duval experienced a difficult race weekend at the close of the season. Following his last place the day before, the Frenchman did not manage to score any points in the finale either – seeing the checkered flag in 15th place.
“How strong the Audi RS 5 DTM was this year was especially obvious in the last races when all cars were running with the same weight. Naturally, working with such a fast car is fun. A big thank you for that to Audi. The DTM delivered many tremendous races to the fans. And the full grandstands at the finale at Hockenheim have already whetted our appetite for next year. Phoenix has found its old strength again with Rocky (Mike Rockenfeller). He drove a fantastic season. With Loïc (Duval), except for the podium success at Zandvoort, things didn’t go the way we’d been hoping for. We now need to find out the reason. Congratulations and huge compliments to Team Rosberg and the two drivers on a truly masterful performance.”
“The team and I were bent on getting out of the hole we were in last year and we managed to do that. As far as the races go, we were doing really well. I won once and was on podium a few times. That in the end it wasn’t enough to finish at the far front was due to the less than perfect qualifying results. Rosberg and René (Rast) simply did a superb job in that respect and in the end clinched a deserved title.”
“I knew that as a rookie it wouldn’t be easy in a series with a field as strong as that of the DTM. But I definitely did not imagine things would be going the way they did. At least, my performance curve shows an upward trend. The races at Moscow and Spielberg were pretty decent. Obviously, my second place at Zandvoort was the highlight. Here at Hockenheim, however, things didn’t go well at all. But that’s the way it is in the DTM. A number of drivers have confirmed that to me. At times you’re just following the field and suddenly you’re back in contention. What matters is to never stop giving your all for success. My teammate Rocky is a perfect example. So, in that respect, I’m looking ahead to next year with confidence.”
Final drivers’ standings:
1 René Rast (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) 179 points
2 Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) 176 points
3 Jamie Green (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) 173 points
4 Mike Rockenfeller (Audi Sport Team Phoenix) 167 points