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Robert Wickens wins first wet DTM race of the season in Moscow
Spectators at the Moscow Raceway on Saturday witnessed the first wet race of the 2016 DTM season. Heavy rain resulted in the field starting behind the safety car, which moved aside to release the race after three laps. Shortly after, Robert Wickens (Mercedes-Benz) overtook fellow Mercedes driver and pole-sitter Gary Paffett to move into the lead. He went on to cross the finish line first and take victory after 22 laps of racing. The wet tyres provided by exclusive DTM partner Hankook performed superbly in extreme conditions on their first race outing of the year.
Moscow/Russia, 20th August 2016 – The 24 DTM drivers started the eleventh of this season’s 18 races in pouring rain behind the safety car at the Moscow Raceway. Mercedes-Benz driver Robert Wickens, who started from second on the grid, moved into the lead on lap four and had extended his lead to almost eleven seconds by the time he took the chequered flag. This not only gave the Canadian his second win of the season, but also propelled him to the top of the Drivers’ Championship.
Wickens was followed over the finish line by fellow Mercedes drivers Paul Di Resta, pole-sitter Gary Paffett and Maximilian Götz in second, third and fourth place. The best of the Audi drivers was Mattias Ekström in fifth, while Maxime Martin was the best-placed BMW driver in sixth. Marco Wittmann (BMW), who led the series coming into the race weekend, started from way down in 20th and ultimately had to settle for 19th place. This result sees Robert Wickens leapfrog ahead of Wittmann at the top of the overall standings. Third place is currently occupied by Jamie Green, who came home seventh in his Audi at the Moscow Raceway.
It was a successful first race outing of the season for the wet tyre provided by premium tyre maker Hankook. It offered the drivers plenty of grip on the very wet track and was key to the race passing successfully and without incident. “The drivers did a great job. To get through the race without any collisions in these incredibly difficult conditions is a superb effort,” said Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director Europe. “The Hankook wet tyre supported the drivers perfectly. They were able to take full advantage of its high grip potential on this wet and cold asphalt. Robert Wickens’ victory makes it all the more exciting at the top of the DTM, with the top three drivers separated by just four points.”
Robert Wickens (Mercedes-Benz): “At first, I did not believe that we would actually be able to start in that rain. You could see that the track was extremely wet and there was standing water everywhere. However, the car was fantastic and I had an incredible amount of grip with the Hankook race tyre. I am very happy with this win.”
Mattias Ekström (Audi): “We assumed that the track would dry out over the course of the race, and set our car up accordingly. Unfortunately, that was not the case. On the contrary, the track was extremely wet and slippery the entire time. As such, we had settle for fifth.”
Tom Blomqvist (BMW): “It was extremely tough for us today, both in qualifying and in the race. We simply didn’t find the right set-up and hope for more joy in tomorrow’s second race.”