Three wins in a row: Audi driver Müller is dominating the DTM

Three wins in a row: Audi driver Müller is dominating the DTM

15.08.2020: • BMW stronger: Sheldon van der Linde fights and secures second place • Valuable points lost: defending champion Rast only seventh • With his privately-run Audi: Ferdinand Habsburg surprises in sixth

•    BMW stronger: Sheldon van der Linde fights and secures second place

•    Valuable points lost: defending champion Rast only seventh

•    With his privately-run Audi: Ferdinand Habsburg surprises in sixth

Third race, third win: Nico Müller is dominating the DTM. At the Lausitzring, the Audi driver from Switzerland won the third race of the season. That made him the first DTM driver in history to win the first three races in one season. However, claiming victory for the 28-year-old wasn’t as easy as during the Spa-Francorchamps season opener where he secured the maximum point score in both races.

After the disappointment in Belgium, BMW showed itself considerably stronger and claimed second place with Sheldon van der Linde. Temporarily, the 21-year-old even put Müller under pressure and was in contention for victory. Next to six Audis, four BMWs made it into the top ten. Third across the finish line was Robin Frijns (Audi) who, like at Spa, was unable to convert his pole position into his maiden DTM race win. Ferdinand Habsburg, meanwhile, sprang a surprise. With the privately-run Audi of Belgian team WRT, the Austrian secured sixth place with a competitive performance.

Prior to the fourth race of the season on Sunday (live stream at from 13.00 hrs), last year’s runner-up Müller is leading the drivers’ standings with 80 points already. Frijns is now second (43) from defending champion Rast (35). At the Lausitzring, located between Berlin and Dresden, the DTM is having its first-ever double header as only one week hence, the fifth and sixth race of the season will be held at the same venue.

BMW putting Audi under pressure for the first time

In a race that included numerous position fights, Nico Müller already laid the foundation for his success at the start. In the run to the critical first corner, he pipped his Dutch fellow Audi driver Robin Frijns. Sheldon van der Linde also made up a position at the start and claimed third place from Loïc Duval (FRA/Audi) who ended up as the only driver not to make it to the finish.

Defending champion René Rast also managed to make up ground at the start, but then became victim of a contact and had to head out onto the grass at turn 3 in avoidance.

Van der Linde confirmed BMW’s upward trend and put Frijns under pressure. The South African came into the pits for his tyre change early and made his way past Frijns later on as the Dutchman rejoined the race following his pit stop. After that, van der Linde showed his spirit with the BMW M4 DTM and steadily reduced the gap to Müller for several laps. The Swiss, however, saw off the attack, made no mistake and eventually safely brought victory home ahead of van der Linde and Frijns.

With fourth and fifth place respectively, double champion Marco Wittmann and ex-Formula 1 driver Timo Glock underlined the fact that BMW has made significant progress in only a fortnight. René Rast, meanwhile, who also lost time during the tyre change, only finished seventh behind Habsburg. On Friday, the two-time DTM champion had lost his victory from the Sunday race at Spa following a decision from the officials. Due to the unauthorised use of  additional power (push-to-pass), the German was given a time penalty and dropped to third position.

Second pole position for Dutchman Frijns

Repeating his performance from Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday, Robin Frijns had claimed his second pole position of the season in qualifying. Double Spa race winner Nico Müller and Loïc Duval rounded out the clean sweep of the first three grid positions for Audi.

BMW showed itself considerably stronger than during the season opener in Belgium and also had three of its cars among the first three rows of the grid with Sheldon van der Linde, Timo Glock and two-time champion Marco Wittmann.

» Quotes – race 1, Lausitzring Sprint

"This victory is a great feeling. Preparation was much different than usual, we have some exhausting weeks behind us. When I say I would be physically fresh for 100 percent, I would be lying. Due to my participation in Formula E, the team has taken care of everything. I only had to focus on the racing. The car was fast, the pit stop was perfect. I can only thank my team. I am happy that I am in a position to thank the team with this victory."

Nico Müller, Audi, winner

"The race was overwhelming. I am delighted to finally have made it onto the podium. Last year, I already came really close at Zolder, but still lost it on the final lap. Today, we were even in a position to slightly challenge Audi. My BMW was super and perhaps we can apply some more pressure on Sunday."

Sheldon van der Linde, BMW, 2nd place

"Of course, it is somewhat disappointing to be starting from first place and then to finish third. All in all, however, the race was okay, even though it seems as if I was struggling more than others from lap ten onwards. However, I defended my position in which I succeeded against Marco Wittmann. Eventually, I am on the podium and therefore I have no reason to complain."

Robin Frijns, Audi, 3rd place

» Results – race 1, Lausitzring Sprint

01. Nico Müller (SUI), Audi RS 5 DTM, 43 laps in 57m 6,681s
02. Sheldon van der LInde (RSA), BMW M4 DTM, + 2,870s
03. Robin Frijns (NED),  Audi RS 5 DTM,  + 7,513s
04. Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW M4 DTM, +7,861s
05. Timo Glock (GER), BMW M4 DTM, +14,569s
06. Ferdinand Habsugr (AUT), Audi RS 5 DTM, +20,226s
07. René Rast (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, +20,679s
08. Jamie Green (GBR), Audi RS 5 DTM, +24,914s
09. Philipp Eng (AUT), BNMW M4 DTM, +26,653s
10. Harrison Newey (GBR), Audi RS 5 DTM, +53,182s


Highlights, race 01, Lausitzring Sprint, 15 August 2019

» Wow fact – race 1, Lausitzring Sprint


The equally powerful and efficient two-litre turbo engines with an output of up to 640hp and some 650Nm of torque still lets the tyres spin at a speed of 140km/h. As measuring the wheel speed on the driven rear-wheel DTM cars is forbidden, it is only down to the driver to prevent wheel spin. After all, slip makes the tyre temperature go up and has a massive effect on degradation. Controlled use of the foot on the throttle is a decisive part of tyre management.

An example is turn 12 at Lausitzring, the corner prior to the start and finish straight: anyone activating push to pass too early risks slip on the driven axle and is unable to benefit from the performance advantage. However, who is too late in activating push to pass will not have the best possible acceleration. At the rather slow Lausitz sprint circuit configuration, drivers have maximum downforce.

The friction rate of the asphalt that Audi and BMW are measuring prior to the event is another factor. “In the DTM, the driver is the traction control because electronic anti-slip control is banned,” Gordian von Schöning, responsible for technology at the DTM organisation ITR, explains. “His sensitivity and the foot on the throttle are decisive.”

» And then, there was …

 the DTM history that is present at Lausitzring as well as at further events of the 2020 DTM season. Former DTM drivers like Harald Grohs, the winner of the inaugural DTM race at Zolder in 1984, Kris Nissen, Leopold von Bayern, Otto Rensing, the 1987 runner-up Marc Hessel and Peter Oberndorfer are competing with former DTM touring cars from the 1980s and 1990s.

The legendary BMW M3 (E30) with its robust four-cylinder air intake sound is most popular among the drivers. Locking wheels and spirited powerslides show that the drivers may no longer be the youngest, but still know the tricks of the trade. ‘Oldies but goodies’ can be said for both the cars and the drivers!

ITR GmbH-photos DTM


15.08.2020 / MaP

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