The 2020 DTM champion is driving an Audi: Triumphant trio of Rast, Frijns and Müller on the podium again

The 2020 DTM champion is driving an Audi: Triumphant trio of Rast, Frijns and Müller on the podium again

10.10.2020: • Rast wins with a huge margin, reduces points gap to Frijns and Müller • The 2020 DTM champion will be an Audi driver • Second on the grid, Glock ends up fourth as best BMW driver


•    Rast wins with a huge margin, reduces points gap to Frijns and Müller

•    The 2020 DTM champion will be an Audi driver

•    Second on the grid, Glock ends up fourth as best BMW driver 



A dominant winner, strong recoveries and another successful Audi trio: René Rast scored a commanding win after coming good in the 13th race of the 2020 DTM season. The German, who had only secured pole position in the final seconds of qualifying on a damp track in the morning was able to drive his Audi RS 5 DTM across the finish line, having led from lights to flag almost unchallenged and winning with a margin of 18.8 seconds.




Second place went to Robin Frijns (NED, Audi), who had started third behind Timo Glock (GER, BMW), but immediately took over the latter’s position right after the start. Nico Müller (SUI, Audi) finished third following a start from seventh on the grid and a strong recovery. Once again, the three dominating Audi drivers of this season ended up on the podium.



Still, it is becoming more and more exciting in the drivers’ standings: Müller remains the leader with 257 points. Frijns has increased his tally to 243 points. Still only 34 points down on the leader, Rast (223 points) rounds out the triumphant trio. Thus, it is clear: the 2020 DTM champion will be an Audi driver. At 96 points, Sheldon van der Linde (RSA/BMW) remains fourth in the championship standings but is no longer in a position to catch the Audi trio. The best-placed BMW driver in the Saturday race was Timo Glock, who was fourth across the finish line, just missing out on a podium result.   


Qualifying in the morning already produced hot action at Zolder, in spite of the rather chilly temperature of eight degrees Centigrade: parts of the track hadn’t yet dried out. As a result, all drivers opted for rain tyres rather than slicks, something that didn’t change as qualifying went on.



In the battle for pole position, BMW’s Timo Glock was in front for quite a long time. It could have been the first pole of the current season for the brand from Munich, had it not been for his compatriot René Rast posting the fastest lap time of 1m 28.987s in his Audi RS 5 DTM with twelve seconds remaining. For Audi, it was the 20th consecutive pole position while BMW at least scored the first additional championship points in qualifying this season.




René Rast dominates right from the start



Although Rast started from first place on the grid on a slightly damp surface and Glock, second on the grid, on dry asphalt, Rast kept the ex-Formula 1 driver at bay as the lights went out. He was leading the race right from the start and wasn’t to lose it anymore until the chequered flag was out. Glock’s alleged advantage at a dry track was gone after the first corner: Frijns and Mike Rockenfeller (GER, Audi) got past.



 Glock, meanwhile, temporarily claimed second place again as a result of his pit stop strategy, only for him to lose it again after a thrilling battle at the end of lap 23 and three corners later. The situation cost Glock and Frijns around two seconds. Philipp Eng (AUT, BMW) and Jamie Green (GBR, Audi) staged a battle for eighth from lap 21 onwards, including multiple incidents.



After an unauthorised overtaking manoeuvre outside the track limits, Green had to have eighth place back to Eng again. A few laps later, Eng incurred a warning for more than one change of direction. The heated-up battle between the two led to contact between the BMW and the Audi. The front-end damage that had resulted from the collision forced Green to park his car in the pits.




Thrilling duels in the midfield




Nico Müller, who initially had to make do with his position for a long time meanwhile had worked his way up from seventh to fourth place. In the final third of the race, he attacked Glock, closely followed by BMW driver Marco Wittmann (GER) and Harrison Newey (GBR, Audi). On lap 31, Müller overtook Glock after a hard, but fair battle. On lap 33, Wittmann and Newey also increased the pressure. Wittmann eventually had to let the DTM rookie past. Shortly after that, a gearbox failure occurred on the BMW M4 DTM after running hard over the kerbs and the two-time DTM champion retired in the pit lane.



After a failed 26.4-second pit stop due to technical issues, while changing the front wheels, Mike Rockenfeller dropped back from fourth to last on lap 13. In a spectacular recovery, the former DTM champion still managed to finish eighth, scoring championship points as a result. Loïc Duval (FRA, Audi), who had started tenth, incurred a five-second pit stop penalty for jumping the start and eventually was tenth across the line.



The 14th race of the season on Sunday, 11 October, will be broadcasted on German TV channel SAT.1 from 13.00 hrs but can also be followed via the DTM Grid streaming platform (grid.dtm.com).





» Quotes – race 1, Zolder 1


“That was a great comeback today. I was having a very good pace throughout the race which, of course, Is what you need when you want to win a championship. We hope for things to continue exactly like this in the next five races. When you are driving up front, not seeing your opponents in the rear-view mirror, you start thinking about many things. Therefore, it is important to keep your head clear and remain focussed. Otherwise, a mistake is made quickly. When leading with a big gap, it is difficult to get to the limit all the time, but today, simply everything was going perfectly.”



René Rast (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, winner





“I think the day was pretty okay. I didn’t expect to be able to overtake Timo Glock at the start already because the left-hand side was damper than the right, so the start was really good. Initially, I tried to pull away, but I put a huge load on my tyres while doing so. The battle with Timo Glock cost me time. When I came out of the pits, Tim had hot tyres while mine was stone cold.


As a result, I was having some issues on the first two laps after the stop, also because Nico Müller was very close. I tried to get the tyres up to temperature quickly, which was difficult. René Rast meanwhile was pulling away more and more and the gap behind me was getting bigger and bigger, too. So I just tried to defend second place and didn’t have to get to the limit that much anymore. I am happy with second place, but I hope for things to go a little bit better on Sunday.”


Robin Frijns (NED), Audi RS 5 DTM, 2nd place




“We made life difficult with qualifying ourselves. Today, the car and I simply weren’t a unity. That was just one of those days. As a result, I had to start from seventh place. On top of that, seventh and ninth place on the grid was the worst positions today, because they were the dampest, so I really had the joker. At the start, I lost a position to Harrison Newey straight away as he was starting on the right-hand side.


That annoyed me because he wasn’t really one of the fastest in the first stint, but did a good job in defending. So I first watched the train driving off, including my two friends René Rast and Robin Frijns. I had to work my way up through the field with a good strategy and tricks. Thankfully, I was still able to overtake Timo Glock later on. The pace was good at the end, which makes me confident fur Sunday, but we need to be starting further up.”


Nico Müller (SUI), Audi RS 5 DTM, 3rd place






» Results – race 1, Zolder 1



01. René Rast (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, 41 laps in 56m 57.127s
02. Robin Frijns (NED), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 18.855s
03. Nico Müller (SUI), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 25.576s
04. Timo Glock (GER), BMW M4 DTM, + 38.513s
05. Harrison Newey (GBR), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 39.071s
06. Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), BMW M4 DTM, + 43.685s
07. Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 44.926s
08. Mike Rockenfeller (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 45.471s
09. Philippe Eng (AUT), BMW M4 DTM, + 48.480s
10. Loïc Duval (FRA), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 1m 3.707s
 


Fastest lap: René Rast (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, 1m 20.815s
Pole position: René Rast (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, 1m 28.987s
Weather conditions: 13°C, partly cloudy
Track conditions: 17°C, dry surface








» Wow fact – race 1, Zolder 1

    
8


Eight Belgian drivers have competed in one or more DTM races in the series’ history. The first one to do so was Cyriel Raes, who raced a BMW 635 CSi in the classic ‘Bergischer Löwe’ event at Zolder in 1986. In the following year, Eric van de Poele embarked on a full-season campaign with a BMW M3 run by the Zakspeed team and secured the title straight away, although he failed to win a single race.



In later years, ‘vdP’ also participated in selected rounds. Another driver to race a BMW M3 was Jean-Michel Martin in 1989. In the same year, Pierre Dieudonné, currently in a senior role at Audi customer team WRT, was a guest starter in both races at the Nordschleife with a Ford Sierra.



In 2001, there were even two Belgian DTM drivers with Yves Olivier at Opel and David Saelens at Mercedes. Olivier went on to race another season in 2002. In the years 2006 and 2007, Vanina Ickx drove an Audi A4 run by the Kolles team. The last Belgian to date to race in the DTM was Maxime Martin, a works driver for BMW from 2014 until 2017. He won three races, becoming the only Belgian DTM race winner. Moreover, the Martins, with father Jean-Michel and son Maxime, are the only motor racing dynasty with two generations of DTM drivers.







» And then, there was …




... Michael Bartels and the safety car. On 5 May, 2002, Zolder hosted the second round of that year’s DTM season. Although many were happy with the return of the DTM to its birthplace, the race track in the Belgian province of Limburg presented itself in a rather unwelcoming way with pouring rain throughout the weekend. There were several safety car interventions and the qualification race only had three laps of green-flag running.



In the main race, Michael Bartels caused an extraordinary situation: while leading the race with his Opel Astra V8 Coupé, he overtook the safety car by mistake. A stop-and-go penalty was the result and Bartels’s chances of a long-awaited podium finish were gone. Opel’s head of motorsport Volker Strycek was angry: “I don’t accept such a mistake”. There, even the rear wing extensions, seen on the Opels for the first time at Zolder and officially declared as ‘brackets’, didn’t help anymore …




ITR - photos DTM

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10.10.2020 / MaP

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