First a fire, then fireworks: DTM title race open again after Rast’s fourth win

First a fire, then fireworks: DTM title race open again after Rast’s fourth win

11.10.2020: • Audi driver René Rast moves up to second in the standings, only ten points down on Müller • Points’ leader Müller disappointed with a ninth-place finish, Frijns crashes in pit lane and retires • 75th pole position for BMW: Glock and van der Linde

•    Audi driver René Rast moves up to second in the standings, only ten points down on Müller

•    Points’ leader Müller disappointed with a ninth-place finish, Frijns crashes in pit lane and retires

•    75th pole position for BMW: Glock and van der Linde lockout front grid row, podium finish for Auer in the race

Fire in his car prior to the start, fireworks in the race: René Rast is making the DTM exciting. After his second win at Zolder, the Audi driver has moved up to second in the drivers’ standings. With two race weekends remaining, the two-time DTM champion is only ten points down on his Swiss fellow Audi driver Nico Müller, who has been leading the drivers’ standings since winning the season opener at Spa-Francorchamps at the beginning of August.

On Sunday, Müller had to make do with merely two points. For Robin Frijns, things were even worse: the Dutchman crashed into the barriers on cold tyres while exiting the pit lane and he had to park his Audi a few meters further up the road. His non-score made Frijns drop to third in the standings.

Behind Mike Rockenfeller (GER, Audi) in second place, BMW driver Lucas Auer (AUT) completed the podium in third. In qualifying, ex-Formula 1 driver Timo Glock (GER) had claimed pole position, the first of the season for BMW, and the 75th DTM pole position for the brand in its DTM history.

A bang at the start: pole sitter Glock in the gravel bed of the first corner

On the starting grid, things were already heating up: Rene Rast’s Audi RS 5 DTM had smoke coming out of it and tiny flames could be seen under the bonnet. All of a sudden, his participation was in doubt, but the mechanics of the Audi Sport Team Rosberg got the #33 Audi ready again in time for the race.

Then, there was even more hot action. With a rocket start, Rast squeezed his way through in between the two BMWs with Glock and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and charged into the lead. Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT, Audi) also overtook both BMWs, but Glock hit the rear of his car and both landed in the gravel bed. Instead of leading the race, Glock was last in the field behind Habsburg. Initially, Rockenfeller, Frijns and Müller benefited from this contact, with Rast and Rockenfeller pulling a slight gap from the rest of the field.

Pit lane exit fatal for Robin Frijns

Having started eighth on the grid, Robin Frijns headed into the pit lane on lap ten to have fresh tyres mounted during his mandatory pit stop. DTM regulations stipulate that pre-heating these tyres is forbidden. Local hero Frijns underestimated the grip of the cold tyres and slid into the Armco barriers in the left-hand bend of the long pit lane exit. With damaged right front suspension, the frustrated 29-year-old had no other option but to park his Audi, which led to a safety car intervention.

As racing resumed with an Indianapolis-style double-file restart, the field was pretty much mixed up as around half of the drivers had already made their mandatory stops while the others still had to pit. Thus, Marco Wittmann initially led. The BMW driver had made his stop during the safety car intervention and therefore, it didn’t count as a mandatory stop. As a result, he had to come in once more. All drivers having completed their mandatory stops, Rast was leading once more from Rockenfeller, while Müller found himself down in ninth place and, in spite of spirited attacks, was unable to find a way past eighth-placed Wittmann until the finish.

Successful weekend for Belgian WRT Team Audi Sport

Behind the BMW duo of Lucas Auer and Timo Glock in third and fourth place, Belgian Audi customer team WRT shone.  Fabio Scherer (SUI), Harrison Newey (GBR) and Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT) ended up in fifth, sixth and seventh place with the three WRT-Audis. Scherer scored his first-ever DTM drivers’ points. Newey had already shone on Saturday with the fifth place as Habsburg repeated his seventh-place finish from the previous day.

Audi Sport Team ABT Sportsline wraps up teams’ title

Notwithstanding Frijns’s retirement and Müller only finishing ninth, Audi Sport Team ABT Sportsline already sealed the title in the DTM teams’ standings. The team from Kempten in Germany is leading from Audi Sport Team Rosberg and is now beyond reach.

 The battle for the drivers’ title, meanwhile, is more exciting than ever: the points’ gap between the ‘big three’ Müller, Frijns and Rast was 47 points prior to this weekend, but now, Müller has 259 points, Rast 249, and Frijns 243. As a result, the Audi trio is separated by only 16 points and will decide the battle for the title between them. It is getting closer upfront.

75th pole position for BMW

BMW had a weekend with ups and downs. In qualifying, Timo Glock ended up just ahead of his fellow BMW driver Sheldon van der Linde, claiming the 75th pole position for BMW in DTM history. Moreover, it was BMW’s first pole position of the current season and the sixth for Glock in his DTM career. That ended Audi’s dominance after 20 consecutive pole positions. The race, however, didn’t result into BMW’s long-awaited victory. At least it was Auer who secured his twelfth DTM podium finish and the 306 podium result for BMW.

The remaining four races at Zolder (16–18 October) and at Hockenheimring (6–8 November) promise a thrilling battle for the 2020 DTM title..

» Quotes – race 2, Zolder 1

„Zolder is a track the way drivers like it: there are spectacular corners and the run-off areas are small, a real challenge. Normally, the fans are really close here, too, which, sadly, was impossible this weekend. Overtaking is rather difficult at Zolder, so the races weren’t quite as spectacular as it often is the case in the DTM. However, the situation in the championship is as exciting as can be:

René Rast has caught up really well, a great situation for the remaining four racers. Especially at the race starts, he shown with his good response times, which was the key to success. The performance by BMW was pleasant to see, too: the clean sweep of the front grid row today and the podium finish in the race. I am looking forward to the remaining racers.“

Gerhard Berger, chairman, ITR e.V.

“A crazy race. First, we had flames coming out of the engine bay, which our mechanics solved quickly. At the start, I moved up from third to first, which was decisive for me. I could see in my rear view mirror that Timo almost hit me as he slid off. Later, I was lucky to be in the pit lane during the safety car intervention.

After the restart, I had contact with Marco Wittmann, Lucas Auer and Robert Kubica, but all in all, it was a super day with side effects and a perfect result. It was so unlikely that we almost scored maximum points as the opposition falters. We have two more races at Zolder ahead of us. The track seems to suit my driving style and my car. But this weekend, we have also seen that things can change really quickly here at Zolder, so we have to remain focussed and concentrated and try to make maximum use of our potential.”

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

“The start was decisive as I was in second place after the incident in turn 1. I knew that we could and had to make up some positions this weekend. I didn’t expect to be behind René that quickly. That was the key. After that, I hoped that I had something in store for him, but I didn’t.

He is simply too fast for me. I was able to stay ahead of Robin for a while and then it was rather boring. I only had to look after my tyres. In the pit lane, it went well, too. We haven’t won anything here, but we haven’t lost anything either. The restart was exciting, I was in the middle of the pack, had new tyres and it was a bit chaotic. We just tried to make it through without problems and that worked. I am happy today, but all in all, I am not happy with my season.”

Mike Rockenfeller (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, 2nd place

“I had a good start and I think I had already made up three places from twelfth after the first corner. That was important. After that, things settled down pretty quickly. Robin and I were in for the decisive pit stop at the same time. That was perfect. We kept cool and brought it home, although the tyres were completely gone. I am happy with my team, we are all pushing 24/7. We had some cool races and some difficult ones.

I have learned a lot at Zolder, it was my first time here. There are some corners where I still can find some time, but we can find something in the set-up, too. We will analyse that in detail and then will be back even stronger. The competition never sleeps, but neither do we.”

Lucas Auer (AUT), BMW M4 DTM, 3rd place

» Results – race 2, Zolder 1

01. René Rast (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, 41 laps in 59m 46.849s
02. Mike Rockenfeller (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 5.433s
03. Lucas Auer (AUT), BMW M4 DTM, + 22.272s
04. Timo Glock (GER), BMW M4 DTM, + 31.603s
05. Fabio Scherer (SUI), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 32.018s
06. Harrison Newey (GBR), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 33.787s
07. Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 34.304s
08. Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW M4 DTM, + 40.627s
09. Nico Müller (SUI), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 41.182s
10. Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), BMW M4 DTM, + 54.280s  

Fastest lap: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW M4 DTM, 1m 20.263m
Pole position: Timo Glock (GER), BMW M4 DTM, 1m 28.960s
Weather conditions: 14°C, partly cloudy
Track conditions: 21°C, dry surface

» Wow fact – race 2, Zolder 1


A total of 55,000 square metres of new asphalt with a minimum thickness of three centimetres was applied on the 4.011 kilometres long Zolder circuit. The new layer was part of a comprehensive renovation project in which 700 metres of new drainage, a natural water infiltration with a total capacity of 60,000 litres and new safety cameras were installed as well.

» And then, there was …

... Gerhard Berger at Zolder. The current chairman of the DTM organisation ITR e.V. participated in the opening round of the 1985 DTM season, the traditional ‘Bergischer Löwe’ event, at Circuit Zolder in Belgium on 24 March 1985. He raced a BMW 635 CSi run by the Schnitzer team. In the 24-lap race, the Austrian finished eighth in the 33-strong field..


ITR GmbH-photos DTM


11.10.2020 / MaP

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