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Five-fold success for Audi in the DTM: Frijns wins amid Müller drama
- Dutchman celebrates second victory within eight days
- Teammate Nico Müller only fifth after leading initially
- All six ‘factory’ cars among the best seven places in Sunday’s race
Audi has achieved an (almost) perfect start to the second half of the DTM season at the Nürburgring. In the tenth race of the season, the brand celebrated its fourth five-fold victory. Only eight days after his first DTM triumph, Robin Frijns from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline again crossed the finish line in first place.
“Victory today feels very different from the one at Assen,” said the Dutchman. “You don’t really want to win because someone in front of you had a technical problem. Unfortunately, that was the case with Nico (Müller) today. Nevertheless, it is a victory. I already had a fast car yesterday. Today, Nico and I were equally fast at the beginning. The gap remained the same. It was very easy for me after he got the problem and I overtook him. I was able to concentrate on saving my tires and had everything under control.”
As on the day before, Nico Müller had secured pole position and immediately took the lead at the start in front of his teammate. During the first few laps, the ABT duo set itself apart from the rest of the field in seemingly easy fashion and quickly enjoyed a comfortable five-second lead. But after changing tires, Müller suddenly slowed down at the front because his car’s turbo boost air temperature was rising. “Apparently, a sensor problem,” said the Swiss. “In any case, the result was a fairly large loss of power, which got worse and worse towards the end of the race. I was just hoping to finish, because a DNF would have hurt a lot today. Fortunately, we saw the flag. Unfortunately, the race was two or three laps too long, otherwise it would have been enough for a podium.”
Müller dropped behind René Rast (Audi Sport Team Rosberg), Mike Rockenfeller and Loïc Duval (both from Audi Sport Team Phoenix) in the final laps, but saved fifth place just ahead of Sheldon van der Linde in the best BMW.
René Rast finished Sunday’s race in second place, as he had done the day before. “Even though it’s only second place again, it’s still a good result,” said the defending champion. “It’s positive that we were faster than yesterday and I was able to manage my tires very well. That makes me feel confident for next weekend, because we now know in which direction we need to go.”
With third place, Mike Rockenfeller achieved his first podium of the season at his home race. “Finally, I can bring home a trophy for my kids again,” said “Rocky”. “I’m also happy for the guys in my team who have been working extremely hard all year. After the pit stop, I even had the chance to attack René, but overtaking is not easy, and I put too much strain on my tires. Without Nico’s problem, it would have been fourth today. Nevertheless, I’m happy about the trophy.”
Loïc Duval completed the good result for Audi Sport Team Phoenix in fourth. For Jamie Green from Audi Sport Team Rosberg a tire gamble did not pay off. A late pit stop caused the Briton to drop from sixth to seventh. The three drivers of customer team WRT Team Audi Sport did not score any points in Sunday’s race.
“Today, for the first time this season, we had all six ‘factory’ cars occupying the top six positions on the grid after qualifying, which was a strong performance,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “Five Audi cars finished the race in front, the sixth in seventh place. That’s a very good result overall and a great start to the second half of the season for us. I’m happy with Robin for his second victory in the DTM. I felt sorry for Nico today. He had a problem with the car that cost power, but he stayed calm and scored valuable points.”
Nico Müller’s lead in the drivers’ championship over his teammate Robin Frijns has shrunk to 29 points. René Rast is another 17 points behind in third place in the standings. In the teams’ classification, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline extended its lead further. In the manufacturers’ championship, Audi has a 400-point lead over BMW after ten races and could secure the manufacturers’ title early this coming weekend. Then, two more DTM races are on the program, which will take place on the Nürburgring’s sprint circuit layout (live on SAT.1 from 1 PM CEST on Saturday and Sunday).