A fantastic day for Bruno Spengler who made a decisive move exiting turn one. He controlled the race from then on. Two of the title contenders this year collided but fought back. Find out what happened in the second race at the Norisring.
After getting off the line very well, Spengler could challenge the three Audi’s in the front right away. The Audi trio went wide going into turn one, which gave Bruno Spengler the opportunity to overtake all of them – giving him first after the first corner. Nobody could really challenge Spengler, he drove a steady but strong race. Today’s victory is Spengler’s first since his win at the Norisring in 2017.
“I mean, the race went amazing”, Spengler said after the race. He continued: “I had a good pace, my car was amazing. I could push all the time. Which makes the difference here at the Norisring. We did some improvements from yesterday to today. I’m very thankful to the team for what they did. It was not easy.”
However, there was less luck for the two championship contenders Rene Rast and Nico Mueller. The pair slightly touched at the end of the first lap. Mueller could continue without damage, whereas Rast was facing the wrong direction. He dropped back. A shame for the German racer after yesterday’s success. Mueller received a drive-through penalty for the incident which he absolved a few laps later.
Not having any real pressure from behind, Spengler could focus on his own drive and extended his lead. On lap 32 he made his mandatory pitstop. And 16 laps earlier, it was his main rival Jamie Green who pitted. He re-joined the track having great pace. But, Spengler could keep him behind and create a gap of around five seconds. In the end, the 2012 champion crossed the finish line 5.765s ahead of Green.
Both of them shared the nickname Mr. Norisring. This because they both won here four times. However, I think after this race Spengler is the real Mr. Norisring. Since he joined the series in 2005, he’s been on the podium 10 times. Five victories, two times second and three times third. Green has been on the podium seven times. “I’d like to congratulate Bruno on getting the fifth win here. I’ll try to match you next year”, is what Green joked at the press conference.
Robin Frijns has been very unlucky in previous races. For instance, the incident between himself and Marco Wittmann in Zolder. Today it looked like he would end up on the podium. After making his pitstop and overtaking Loic Duval and Philipp Eng, he was in third place. Unfortunately for him, Mike Rockenfeller was flying through the field after his pitstop. Just 10 laps before the end, he made the move on Frijns which secured him the final podium spot.
A weekend with high’s and low’s for the champion from 2013. Fastest man on Friday, a disqualification in qualifying and DNF yesterday, a five-place grid penalty in today’s qualifying. But a flawless race today. “I had a good start, I was clean. Then I just kept pushing,” commented Rockenfeller after the race. “I couldn’t manage my tires, I really had to go for it every lap to overtake people on track. Was good fights. And at the end to be on the podium I think at least is a reward for the pace we had. That’s promising.”
In lap 45 of 70, Paul di Resta retired his car due to problems. The second retirement came in lap 53 when Sheldon van der Linde parked his car. Then, five laps before the end, a loss of power forced Wittmann to retire. A shame, as he hoped to repeat his victory from last year.
Eng, who’s also a championship contender, finished fifth. Followed by a trio of Audi drivers: Loic Duval, who seemed to have issues halfway, finished sixth. After he spun in lap one, Rast recovered and crossed the line in seventh, ahead of his Audi teammate Mueller. Timo Glock and Daniel Juncadella take the final points.
Ferdinand Habsburg and Jake Dennis finished just outside the points. Audi’s customer team WRT’s drivers, Jonathan Aberdein and Pietro Fittipaldi had less luck this weekend. Finishing only 14th and 15th today.
A quick look at the championship standings after 8 of 18 races. Rast is still leading with 127 points, scoring good points this weekend. Behind him are Mueller (102) and Eng (101). After today’s victory, Spengler moved up to fourth (76) with Wittmann close behind in fifth (72). The next DTM round will be in Assen, the Netherlands, in two weeks time. An exciting weekend for all, as this will be DTM’s first visit at the Dutch circuit known for its MotoGP races.