Light Rain, Mainly Sunny
Trip Start Oct 18, 2012
171Trip End Ongoing
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Strangely Steffie wasn't interested in coming to the Hockenheimring to watch the final round of the DTM. I'm not sure why girls aren't interested in paying 30 Euros to watch cars go round a circuit, but then girls are always a little bit different. I don't watch the stupid, wedding shows that she does, so I guess that makes us even!
She was kind enough to drop me off and this time we were a little more organised. Even though Hockenheim is just down the road, it can take a while with all the traffic on the Autobahn. We got there just on 9am which gave me an hour to get in before the first race began. Hockenheim on race day is always hectic. They block off the village to traffic, so everyone has to park in a big field and catch the shuttle bus into town
Despite an optimistic weather forecast, on the way it started raining. It was only supposed to rain for an hour just before the race, but weathermen are notoriously unreliable! A guy selling tickets outside slightly ripped me off, but I'm sure paying an extra 5 Euros is better than lining up 30 minutes for tickets. The ticket was for the Southern Stand, but in my rush to beat the crowd I completely missed the gate and had to walk halfway back. The Southern Stand ended up being right on the main straight with a clear view to the pit entry and final corner.
The wet weather was causing havoc on the racetrack. In the Porsche Cup, everybody was missing their braking points and taking off bumpers (not a cheap thing in a Porsche!) The safety car also got a good run for its money and it was so wet that at the start of the Formula 3s, the first two laps were under safety car and then they had a Nascar style rolling start which I've never seen before! They ended up cutting the race shorter because it ran over time.
I wasn't actually sitting in my seat, but watching from above because the rain wasn't stopping. It was raining constantly the whole time right up until the DTM race started at 2pm. Meanwhile, the midday entertainment in the form of a stunt motorcycle and a pit lane band started. Unfortunately, the organisers decided to have the hot laps for the sponsors at the same time plus some marching, brass band between them so it was chaotic
I took a little look around before the race, but there wasn't too much to see that I hadn't seen before. The usual lines for food and drinks took forever and there was standing room only. It is amazing that people have no patience these days. Thankfully when I sat down for the race, the rain slowly stopped and held off the entire race. So much for sunshine!
The rain did turn the race into quite a close contest, but unfortunately my local boy Brazilian Augusto Farfus got spun around on the second corner and spent the rest of the race clawing his way back up to 12th. As the race went on, the track dried up and the lap times dropped. Despite having a loose driver's door, even Brit Garry Paffett set a fastest time! After 100 minutes of racing, the last lap sign was held out and ex-F1 driver Timo Glock claimed the checkered flag.
I waited in the grandstands to watch the podium celebrations and afterwards eventually made my way through the mayhem down onto the track. I like the Hockenheimring because we are used to having the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide every year, but as a permanent circuit, I would expect more. Quite a few steps had pieces of concrete broken off and the water was pouring out through the drainpipes onto the chairs below. As a world class circuit, that doesn't look good.
It was cool to look at the cars on the main straight after the race, but it was time to go back. I skipped the busline entirely this time and hiked back to get picked up. After so much walking and standing, no wonder I was tired!