Wehrlein regains DTM championship lead at Oschersleben

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Mercedes AMG Petronas reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein continued to strengthen his bid for a seat in Formula 1 next season by regaining the lead of the DTM championship at Oschersleben this weekend.

Wehrlein races for Mercedes in DTM, Germany’s leading touring car series that pits the marque up against rivals Audi and BMW.

In just his third season in the series, Wehrlein finds himself in contention for the championship, having won races at the Norisring and in Moscow so far this year.

On a weekend that was dominated by BMW, Wehrlein managed to emerge with the lead of the championship once again as title rival Matthias Ekstrom hit trouble at Oschersleben.

A pointless weekend for the Swede saw Wehrlein regain top spot in the standings by finishing fifth on both Saturday and Sunday, giving him a lead of 14-point lead with two rounds remaining.

The other title protagonists, Edoardo Mortara and Jamie Green, both had quiet weekends. Mortara retired from both races, whilst Green could score just four points on Sunday.

Saturday’s race was won by former F1 driver Timo Glock, who dominated proceedings from pole position. The German posted the fastest lap en route to his second DTM victory by 1.8 seconds from Bruno Spengler. Antonio Felix da Costa completed the podium in third place.

On Sunday, BMW dominated proceedings again as Tom Blomqvist claimed his maiden DTM win. The British rookie stepped up to the series from F3 at the end of last year, and became the tenth different winner in 14 races.

Wehrlein is known to have held talks with Force India about a seat in F1 for 2016, but with the team set to retain Sergio Perez alongside the already-confirmed Nico Hulkenberg, the German is unlikely to find a role there.

Instead, he may be able to secure a seat with Manor Marussia F1 Team. Earlier this week, Autosport reported that the British outfit was in talks with Mercedes over an engine deal for 2016, which would most probably pave the way for Wehrlein to race for the team.

Ryan Hunter-Reay hired as replacement for Conor Daly at Ed Carpenter Racing

Ryan Hunter-Reay Carpenter
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Ryan Hunter-Reay was named to replace Conor Daly in Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet, starting in the NTT IndyCar Series event next week at Road America.

Hunter-Reay is the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner. He finished 11th for Dreyer & Reinbold last month in the 107th Indy 500, his first start since the 2021 season finale. He drove full time for Andretti Autosport from 2010-21.

“We need to improve our competitiveness and I wanted to add a fresh perspective from a driver like Ryan who has a massive amount of experience and success as well as a reputation as a team leader. I am excited to welcome Ryan to the team,” team owner Ed Carpenter said in a team release. “We have worked together in the past as teammates and he tested for ECR at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2021, where he made an immediate impact as we were able to qualify one of our cars on the pole following that test. I am confident that his experience and technical abilities will be an asset to ECR as we move forward toward our goals as a team.”

Hunter-Reay has 18 IndyCar victories, most recently in 2018. He also is a winner in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, having been a part of winning entries in the 2020 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 2018 Petit Le Mans. Last year, he was an endurance driver for Cadillac Racing while being on standby for Chip Ganassi Racing.

He replaces Daly, whose departure was announced a day earlier in what the driver and team said was a mutual decision.

“I was surprised when I got the call from Ed,” Hunter-Reay said in a team release. “He described how frustrated he was that his team has not been able to realize its potential despite their efforts, investments, as well as technical and personnel changes over the past few years and asked for my help. Ed and I are very close friends and have been for a long time. I’ve worked with the team in the past and they are a very talented group with high expectations and a committed partner in BITNILE.COM.

“This will certainly be a challenge for me as well. It’s a tough situation jumping in a car in the middle of the season without any testing in what I believe to be the most competitive series in the world. Certainly, part of my motivation in saying ‘yes’ to Ed is the great challenge ahead. The last time I turned right driving an NTT IndyCar Series car was in October of 2021 with this team at Barber. However, I remain very confident in both my driving and technical abilities and believe by working with the talented people at ECR and Team Chevy, while representing BITNILE.COM, we will make progress. I am going to do everything I can do to help the team achieve its long-term objectives.”

Said Milton “Todd” Ault, the chairman of sponsor BitNile.com: “It is great for BitNile.com to be aligned with an Indy 500 Winner and an NTT IndyCar Series champion. I have followed Ryan’s career for years and I am confident he will challenge the entire ECR team to perform at higher levels. I wish everyone luck at Road America.”