A great day for Rene Rast as he bounced back from quite an unlucky Saturday. Audi clinch the manufacturer’s title after a dominant season so far.
It’s all about Audi at the moment in DTM – they seem to have built the strongest cars on the grid. Today’s race confirmed that once again. With all eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars within the top 10, they clinched the manufacturer’s title four races before the end of the season. “Audi has now won three of the last four manufacturers’ titles in the DTM.” commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “That’s a strong performance and shows the high lever our entire squad has been working on for years.”
Championship leader Rast benefited from a bad start from his rival Mueller. He missed the start completely, which caused the Swiss driver to drop to 10th. Rast managed to pass Jonathan Aberdein as well, who started from the front row. Meaning he was already in second place after the start. His teammate Jamie Green led, after starting from pole. Though, in the early stages, Green let Rast through.
After the first few laps, Mueller recovered to ninth, behind Wittmann. He tried the undercut, pitting on lap 8 of 34, which is quite early. This was an attempt to benefit from the others: as his tires were already on temperature, he could pass them when they joined the track after the pitstops on cold tires.
After Rast pitted on lap 12, they gap between the two title rivals was only 2.2 seconds. Though, it wasn’t long until Rast began to great a gap.
After all the pitstops were completed, Rast had a comfortable lead over Mueller. He then cruised to the end – winning DTM’s 500th race. “Winning the 500th race in DTM history is very special.” Said a happy Rast after the race. “A big thank you from me goes to the guys in the pit lane who worked up until the early morning hours and gave me a perfect car again.”
Behind the leaders, track action really heated up. Rockenfeller had P3, and benefited from a fighting Frijns and Green behind him. Green managed to go past the Dutchman to take fourth. In the end, he tried to battle with Mike Rockenfeller for the final podium spot, but didn’t succeed and finished fourth. Frijns crossed the line in fifth, ahead of best-placed BMW Wittmann. Another trio of Audi drivers followed him – from seventh to ninth: Aberdein, Loic Duval and Pietro Fittipaldi.
Winner at the start? Phillip Eng. The Austrian BMW driver had to start from the pits, because his team worked on his car during Parc Ferme. In the first few laps of the race, he managed to recover to 11th, just behind Mueller. Eventually, he managed to take the final point and finished tenth.
The BMW drivers seemed to struggle with their tyres. Bruno Spengler, Timo Glock and Joel Eriksson all made a second pitstop, and therefore finished outside the points. Eriksson 13th, Spengler 14th and Glock unfortunately retired.
Lots of bad luck for the R-Motorsport Aston Martin team today, with three of their four cars retiring.
First, it was Jake Dennis who slowed after only two laps. A few laps later, it was Ferdinand Habsburg who slowed as well after contact with Timo Glock, eventually parking his car behind the barriers. In the second half of the race, there was contact between Bruno Spengler and Paul di Resta in turn 9. The BMW driver forced di Resta off the track. End of the race for di Resta. Their only driver left in the race, Daniel Juncadella, brought home the car in 12th.
Rast (234 points) is still ahead of Mueller (214 points) in the championship, but the gap between the pair is now only 20 points, instead of 39 before this weekend. Wittmann is third with 167 points. The next two races take place on the Nurburgring in three weeks time.