Van der Linde arrived at the final race with a meager two-point lead over Mercedes Lucas Auer and a 19-point lead over outgoing Audi driver René Rust.

With Rast unable to get the win he needed to have a chance of a fourth title, and Auer finishing behind him, van der Linde’s third place was enough to secure his first DTM title.

At the start of the race, Rust was unable to take full advantage of the pole position as he dropped to second behind the speedy Wittmann, who jumped from fourth to first at the first turn.

Van der Linde dropped to sixth in his BMW Schubert on the first lap, but took advantage of the Audi Duo Marius Zug and Dev Gore fighting each other to overtake them both in one turn in turn 1.

Auer went on to quickly propel his Winward Mercedes into the top 10 after crashed qualifying left him 11th on the grid, but he was still too far behind van der Linde to overtake him in the championship.

Van der Linde went into the final race with a narrow two-point lead over Mercedes’ Lucas Auer and 19 points ahead of retired Audi driver René Rast.

With Rast unable to get the win he needed to have a chance of a fourth title, and Auer finishing behind him, van der Linde’s third place was enough to secure his first DTM title.

At the start of the race, Rust was unable to take full advantage of the pole position as he dropped to second behind the speedy Wittmann, who jumped from fourth to first at the first turn.

Van der Linde dropped to sixth in his Schubert BMW on the first lap, but took advantage of Audi duo Marius Zug and Dev Gore battling each other to pass them both in one turn at the first corner.

Auer went on to quickly propel his Winward Mercedes into the top 10 after crashed qualifying left him 11th on the grid, but he was still too far behind van der Linde to overtake him in the championship.

Van der Linde and Auer pitted at the same time on lap six, with both drivers returning to the same positions as before, with the South African continuing to maintain his advantage over his main rival.

Auer failed to break into van der Linde’s lead in his second stint and was even outclassed by Nico Muller’s Rosberg Audi, dropping to seventh.

Van der Linde, meanwhile, made it to the podium when Lamborghini driver Grasser Clemens Schmid dropped down the order with a puncture, moving him further than Auer in the championship standings.

Although the South African did come under pressure from Zug’s Attempto Audi in the latter stages of the race, he was able to hold on to third place and secure his first DTM title.

It ended BMW’s six-year unbeaten streak in Germany’s premier racing category, with the Munich brand last winning the championship in 2016 with Wittmann.

Coincidentally, it was Wittmann who took victory in the Hockenheim finale after coming out on top in a close battle with Rust that saw them knocking wheels several times after pit stops.

Stopping for a tire change, a lap away from the Walkenhorst driver, Rust was able to quickly close in on him and steered his car to the inside of Turn 6, with the two drivers side-by-side on the next right-hander.

Rust and Wittmann then made contact entering Turn 8 and the Audi driver was sent wide over the exit zone, but Rust kept his foot on the throttle and finally completed the move at Turn 12.

However, uncharacteristically for the three-time champion, he made a small mistake entering Turn 5 on the next lap, running through the grass and into the sponsor’s buffer before returning to the track.

This gave Wittmann the impetus to regain the lead and he duly made a move around the outside into the hairpin en route to victory.

Rast therefore had to settle for second place in his final race as an Audi driver, with van der Linde finishing 10 seconds behind the leading duo to secure the title.

Attempto Audi’s Zug claimed his first top-10 result of the season, finishing fourth Kelvin van der Linde charged from the close of the pack to finish fifth in the Abt Audi.

Müller was classified sixth, while Auer failed to make any progress in the second stint, carrying a 25-kilogram success ballast in his Winward Mercedes as he crossed the line in a disappointing seventh.

The top 10 was completed by Leon Kohler (Walkenhorst BMW), Luka Stolz (HRT Mercedes) and Ricardo Feller (Abt Audi), the latter of which took the final championship point despite having to make an extra puncture to replace a damaged tyre.

DTM Hockenheim – Race Results:

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Van der Linde and Auer pitted at the same time on lap six, with both drivers returning to the same positions as before, with the South African continuing to maintain his advantage over his main rival.

Auer failed to break into van der Linde’s lead in his second stint and was even outclassed by Nico Muller’s Rosberg Audi, dropping to seventh.

Meanwhile, Van der Linde made it to the podium as Grasser Lamborghini driver Clemens Schmidt crashed down the order with a puncture, moving him further behind Auer in the championship standings.

Although the South African did come under pressure from Zug’s Attempto Audi in the latter stages of the race, he was able to hold on to third place and secure his first DTM title.

It ended BMW’s six-year unbeaten streak in Germany’s premier racing category, with the Munich brand last winning the championship in 2016 with Wittmann.

Coincidentally, it was Wittmann who took victory in the Hockenheim finale after coming out on top in a close battle with Rust that saw them knocking wheels several times after pit stops.

Stopping for a tire change, a lap away from the Walkenhorst driver, Rust was able to quickly close in on him and steered his car to the inside of Turn 6, with the two drivers side-by-side on the next right-hander.

Rust and Wittmann then made contact entering Turn 8 and the Audi driver was sent wide over the exit zone, but Rust kept his foot on the throttle and finally completed the move at Turn 12.

However, uncharacteristically for the three-time champion, he made a small mistake entering Turn 5 on the next lap, running through the grass and into the sponsor’s buffer before returning to the track.

This gave Wittmann the impetus to regain the lead and he duly made a move around the outside into the hairpin en route to victory.

Rast therefore had to settle for second place in his final race as an Audi driver, with van der Linde finishing 10 seconds behind the leading duo to secure the title.

Attempto Audi’s Zug claimed his first top-10 result of the season in fourth place, while Kelvin van der Linde charged from almost the back to finish fifth in the Abt Audi.

Müller was classified sixth, while Auer failed to make any progress in the second stint, carrying a 25-kilogram success ballast in his Winward Mercedes as he crossed the line in a disappointing seventh.

The top 10 was completed by Leon Kohler (Walkenhorst BMW), Luca Stolz (HRT Mercedes) and Riccardo Feller (Abt Audi), the latter of whom took the final championship point despite having to do an extra puncture to replace a damaged tyre.

DTM Hockenheim – Race Results:

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