A mixed day for championship leader Rast – taking pole followed by a retirement. Nico Mueller held on to his position and crossed the line first.
After taking pole position this morning and adding three important points to his tally, the day didn’t end well for Rene Rast. His start went well, keeping hold of the lead off the line. Behind him, his teammate suffered a bad start which resulted in losing a few places. Mueller moved up to second and Marco Wittmann, who started from fifth, moved up to third.
It was a clean start from the whole field. Rast led the first few laps but struggled to pull away. Mueller was on a mission to try and chase down Rast.
Turns out, luck wasn’t on the championship leader’s side this afternoon. In the seventh lap of the race, Rast slowed through the first few corners, allowing his rivals to pass him by. Mueller took the lead and managed to keep Wittmann behind. Rast appeared to suffer from lack of power and after trying for two more laps, he was forced to park his car in the garage.
On lap 10, the first driver to pit was Loic Duval. Robin Frijns followed a little later, which ended up being the perfect timing. Wittmann pitted one lap after Frijns – but that meant Frijns could capitalise on having warmer tyres. The Audi driver made a move on Wittmann at turn 6, which put him in second position.
For a long time, Wittmann followed Frijns in third. But later on in the second part of the race, Mike Rockenfeller appeared behind him – clearly faster than the BMW. Not long after, Rockenfeller tried to dive up the inside of Wittmann going in to turn one. He didn’t succeed, but tried again a few laps later and made it stick. This moved him up to third, taking the final podium spot.
“The two situations with Marco were hard, but fair. The first time, I pulled back. Fortunately, the contact wasn’t a problem. With Rockenfeller moving up, we had an all Audi podium. Confirmation of what we already knew – Audi is the strongest manufacturer at the moment.”
“Of course, I’m very happy: this was an important result for us today.” Said Mueller after the race. “This victory is great for the guys and the 1-2-3 for Audi is really valuable, too.”
His teammate Frijns, who finished second, said “My car wasn’t perfect – we can still improve in that area, as I would like to move up into third or fourth in the championship standings.”
Philipp Eng, another driver who’s still in the championship contention, finished fifth after starting from eighth. The fastest man on Friday, Loic Duval, finished in sixth. Following him in seventh to ninth are WRT’s Pietro Fittipaldi and BMW’s Joel Eriksson and Bruno Spengler.
Unfortunately, Jamie Green has been unlucky today. After his great performance in qualifying, starting from second, he first suffered a bad start. Then, during his pitstop, he almost collided with Timo Glock when exiting his pit stall. Because of this incident, he received a drive-through penalty. He dropped back to 15th, but in the end fought back to tenth.
Because of Green’s strong final stint, Jake Dennis just missed out on scoring points and finished in 11th. His teammates Daniel Juncadella, Paul di Resta and Ferdinand Habsburg crossed the line in 12th, 13th and 15th. On the second lap of the race, Dennis, di Resta and Habsburg went three-wide through the corner. BMW’s Sheldon van der Linde finished last due to a late extra stop, in which he had to change his left-side door. Just like Rast, Glock retired as well.
After today’s qualifying, Rast had a 39-point lead over Mueller. Though, after today’s race, the difference is only 14 points – that’s how fast things can change in DTM. Tomorrow we celebrate a special occasion – DTM’s 500th race.
Qualifying will start at 10.35 local time (09.35 UK time) and the race at 13.30 local time (12.30 UK time).