This weekend the series’ are in Zolder, Belgium – the first of a doubleheader. Yesterday’s practise sessions were dominated by Robin Frijns. Today, Rene Rast took pole position in front of Timo Glock and yesterday’s pacesetter Frijns.
The DTM is heading into the final phase of the season. Three more race weekends left. Seven drivers still have a mathematical chance of winning the championship. However, it will most like be decided between Nico Mueller, Robin Frijns and Rene Rast. The Audi trio have dominated the season so far, with Mueller leading with 242 points at the moment.
It was Frijns though who dominated both practise sessions on Friday. It had rained overnight, which meant the track was still damp during the first of two sessions early in the afternoon. Frijns’ initial benchmark was a 1:22.332 but was lowered to a 1:20.075 when drivers tried qualifying simulations halfway the session. The first seven positions were occupied by Audi drivers, with Frijns leading from Rast and Mike Rockenfeller. Timo Glock was best of the BMW’s in the eighth position. The Dutchman continued his pace, setting the fastest time again later in the afternoon – a 1:19.926. He beat Team Phoenix’ Loic Duval by only five-thousandths of a second. Rast and Mueller finished third and fourth, while Glock was best of the BMW’s again.
Now, moving on to qualifying. Once again, the session began on a damp track after it had rained during the night. There were still some visible wet spots on the track. But conditions on the resurfaced track quickly improved. Halfway through the session, Rockenfeller went to take the top spot with a 1:29.700, first to break the 1:30 barrier. However, that time was beaten rapidly by Rast, who set a 1:29.446. The top five was completed by Frijns, Marco Wittmann and Harrison Newey. And with that, the first runs were done.
When drivers returned on track for their second runs, it was BMW’s Glock who took over the top spot with a 1:29.333. The session had been dominated by Audis so far, but Glock had already been the best of the BMW’s on Friday. The German tried to improve his own time but failed to do so as he made a mistake on the final chicane.
On his penultimate lap, reigning champion Rast posted best-of-all purple times in both the first and second sector. However, the came upon the BMW of Sheldon van der Linde in the third sector. He aborted the lap and managed to cross the line just in time to try one last time. Then, on his final flyer, Rast managed to improve his time to a 1:28.947 which was enough to take pole position. His fourth of the season. In the end, the gap to Glock was 0.346 seconds. It is the first time this year, that a BMW ended qualifying in the top three.
Frijns was third fastest, five-tenths slower than Rast. Wittmann was second of the BMW’s in fourth place, just 0.020 behind Frijns. Rockenfeller finishes the session in fifth place and shares the third row with Van der Linde. Championship leader Mueller only managed seventh place, with a gap of 1.052 seconds to Rast. The top ten was completed by WRT’s Newey, Lucas Auer and Duval.
The first race of the weekend is set to start at 13.30 local time (12.30 UK time).