Rast on the rise: third win in a row and the new points’ leader

Rast on the rise: third win in a row and the new points’ leader

17.10.2020: • Lead change: Nico Müller loses points’ lead after a sixth-place finish • Celebrations for Audi customer team WRT: maiden podium finish, Ferdinand Habsburg third • Aberdein flying the flag for BMW in fourth place

•    Lead change: Nico Müller loses points’ lead after a sixth-place finish

•    Celebrations for Audi customer team WRT: maiden podium finish, Ferdinand Habsburg third

•    Aberdein flying the flag for BMW in fourth place

A spectacular change in the plot in the battle for the DTM title: with his third consecutive win, Audi driver René Rast has moved up into the lead of the drivers’ standings for the first time this season. The two-time DTM champion started the 15th race of the season at Zolder ten points down in the standings, but now, prior to the race on Sunday, he is even ten points ahead of Nico Müller.

Having finished sixth, the Swiss again missed out on valuable championship points and lost the lead in the drivers’ standings for the first time since the season-opening race at Spa-Francorchamps. At Zolder, Robin Frijns was the only one Rast had to worry about, the Dutchman having put Rast under attack several times, eventually ending up second. Next to Rast, another successful driver at Zolder was Ferdinand Habsburg. With the privately entered Audi RS 5 DTM, the Austrian scored his maiden podium finish with third place, also the first-ever podium in the DTM for Belgian Audi customer team WRT.

Drama around Müller, a three-way battle for a maiden podium

For Rast, who had claimed his fifth pole position of the season in qualifying, everything ran like clockwork at the start already. The Audi driver skilfully defended the lead. Behind him, Habsburg, who had started second after a strong qualifying performance, defended his position from Frijns in third.

The latter overtook the young Austrian at a later stage in the race. Nico Müller, who had started the second race weekend at Zolder still in the lead of the drivers’ standings, again had trouble in qualifying and only started from a disappointing eighth place. The race start didn’t go according to plan for the Swiss either.

After contact with the Audi of Harrison Newey (GBR), Müller dropped back to 14th, but managed to gradually work his way back up. Further up, there was a three-way battle for the maiden podium finish in which, next to Ferdinand Habsburg,   Jonathan Aberdein (RSA, BMW) and Fabio Scherer (SUI, Audi) were also fighting for their first-ever trophy for one of the first three positions. Although Aberdein, as the best-placed BMW driver, managed to make his way up into Habsburg’s slipstream, it wasn’t enough to secure a top 3 result.

After the 15th race of the season, Rast is the new leader in the drivers’ standings at 277 points. Müller drops to second place and is ten points down on the defending champion. Frijns remains close at 262 points. The thrilling battle for the 2020 DTM crown will be going into its next round on Sunday, 18 October (live on SAT.1 from 13.00 hrs and at grid.dtm.com).

» Quotes – race 1, Zolder 2

“I made another good start and was able to defend first place. At the safety car and the restart, everything was okay as well. Then, I noticed who headed into the pits at what time. Robin Frijns once came pretty close to me after that, he applied some pressure. Later on, I was able to increase the gap again and save my tyres until Robin again closed up towards the end. He had a very good pace. Ferdinand Habsburg was very strong, too, congrats to him on his maiden podium finish. Who would have thought only a few weeks ago that we would be leading the championship? Everything is open. Whoever is making a mistake now, is out of contention. All three of us have the pace to win the title.”

René Rast, Audi, winner


“My start was good. Then the safety car came out early and I was happy that I wasn’t the one who caused the neutralisation, unlike a week ago. Once I got past Ferdinand Habsburg, I tried to attack René Rast. I was in the pits a little bit earlier, so my tyres were already up to temperature when he came back from his pit stop. I was able to reduce the gap, but then I ran slightly wide in turn 2. After that, I backed off a bit and tried to save my tyres to be able to mount a challenge at the end. That worked out. I was focussed on the final lap, but somehow, I must have missed the ‘Last Lap’ panel.”

Robin Frijns, Audi, 2nd place

“Of course, I am overjoyed. I gave it my best and made very good use of my second place on the grid. At the end, I was counting down the laps, I wanted to avoid a mistake at all cost. Then, finally, the panel for the final lap was displayed. When crossing the finish line, I just kept pushing the radio button, shouting out loud for sheer joy. Surely, my team will have a headache because of that tonight! And it is also the maiden podium finish for my team WRT. We will celebrate this accordingly!”

Ferdinand Habsburg, Audi, 3rd place

» Results – race 1, Zolder 1

01. René Rast (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, 41 laps in 58m 10.281s
02. Robin Frijns (NED), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 0.877s
03. Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 22.790s
04. Jonathan Aberdein (RSA), BMW M4 DTM, + 26.462s
05. Fabio Scherer (SUI), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 34.695
06. Nico Müller (SUI), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 35.154s
07. Harrison Newey (GBR), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 36.041s
08. Jamie Green (GBR), Audi RS 5 DTM, + 42.515s
09. Timo Glock (GER), BMW M4 DTM, + 42.985s
10. Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW M4 DTM, 1m 11.634s  

Fastest lap: René Rast (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, 1m 20.396s
Pole position: René Rast (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, 1m 18.843s
Weather conditions: 10°C, cloudy
Track conditions: 17°C, dry surface

» Wow fact – race 1, Zolder 2


... pole positions is the number achieved by Audi this season already, only one pole position from the 15 races held so far went to BMW. With René Rast’s fastest time in qualifying on Saturday of the second Zolder weekend, the brand from Ingolstadt has tied the current record for most pole position in a single season, achieved by Mercedes-Benz in 2018.

» And then, there was

... Benoît Tréluyer. On the second Zolder weekend, the Frenchman is replacing his compatriot Loïc Duval at Audi as the latter is racing at ‘Petit Le Mans’, the ten-hour race of the IMSA SportsCar Championship at Road Atlanta. Tréluyer has already had a lot of success in motorsport, including championship titles in the Super GT and Formula Nippon series in Japan as well as three overall wins with Audi in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The decision in the French endurance racing classic in 2011, as Tréluyer secured victory with the only remaining Audi in the race with a margin of just 13.854 seconds, the closest finish in recent history, went down into motorsport history. In a 24-hour race, where gaps at the finish are usually measured in laps and minutes, this was at DTM level. The same can be said for Tréluyer’s overtaking manoeuvre, passing two opponents on the outside.

ITR GmbH- photos DTM

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/rast-rise-third-win-row-new-points-leader---214482.html

17.10.2020 / MaP

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