Juncadella Penalty and Audi Strategy Hands Rast Controversial Win at the Red Bull Ring

4 Mins read
Nico Müller, Mike Rockenfeller and René Rast: 2018 DTM Series - Red Bull Ring
Credit: Audi Media Centre

René Rast battled through to claim victory in Race 1 of the DTM Series at the Red Bull Ring.

Audi team-mates Mike Rockenfeller and Nico Müller completed the podium.

However, the victory caused some controversy as Rockenfeller had been in contention to win the race but was told to let Rast through on the final corner as he is the only driver who can still challenge for the title for the manufacturer.

Although, Rast did not cross the line in first. Dani Juncadella had been first on the road but received a drive through penalty late on which relegated him to fifteenth.

Pole sitter Juncadella got a strong start off the grid, with Timo Glock struggling off the line on the wet side of the track.

The BMW driver lost his position to Rockenfeller who started in third.

Robin Frijns was put into a spin in Turn 3, an incident that also involved championship leader Gary Paffett and Philipp Eng resulting in the safety car.

The Dutchman made it back to the pits and rejoined the action, Audi team-mate Loïc Duval also had to head to the pits and retired with heavy damage to the rear.

Due to the wet conditions race control opted not to do the Indy style safety car restart when action resumed at the end of lap four.

Juncadella had timed his restart just right but ran wide into Turn 1 and left himself vulnerable to Rockenfeller, with the German sailing past at Turn 3.

Having been the only driver to have started on wet tyres, Joel Eriksson pitted for slicks and served his mandatory pitstop in the process.

Needing to fight his way back through the field, Paffett came up against Sebastién Ogier – the Frenchman posed no challenge to the Briton.

Despite having looked like he could challenge Glock for third place, Augusto Farfus found himself demoted to fifth after being passed by Marco Wittmann.

Eng, had to give a place up to team-mate Bruno Spengler due it being deemed he left the track and gained an advantage.

Duval was reported to the stewards after being deemed to have caused a collision.

On lap eleven, the DRS was enabled as a result of a change of climatic conditions as the track was drying out.

In second, Juncadella was pumping in fastest laps as he tried to challenge Rockenfeller ahead – it worked and the Spaniard retook the lead.

Paul di Resta was the first of the front runners to take to the pits.

The Mercedes driver, was defenceless to an attack from Müller who had already pitted and had tyres that were already to temperature.

Müller was aided by di Resta locking up, and passed the Briton.

On lap eighteen, Rockenfeller, Glock, Wittmann and Rast all stopped with the latter three emerging on track at the same time.

With Rast the first target for those that had already stopped, Glock and Wittmann were able to focus on getting their tyres up to temperature.

However, Glock ran wide at Turn 3 and lost places to Wittmann, Rast, Müller and di Resta.

Out front, Juncadella pitted maintaining the lead but Rockenfeller on tyres already up to temperature was catching.

Rast attempted an overtake on Wittmann but was not able to make it stick opening the door Müller.

Müller then went to overtake the BMW driver but he too went wide and lost the place back to Rast.

The battle between Wittmann and Rast continued, with the Audi driver looking to have made the move on the BMW but was edged wide with the latter clearly unhappy about Wittmann’s defence.

Wittmann was handed a black and white flag by the stewards for the move.

A poor stop for Lucas Auer meant the Austrian was stationary for ten seconds and cost him a lot of places.

Having not yet stopped, Ogier found himself leading the race.

Frijns was told to drop back behind Pascal Wehrlein for forcing him off track, while Wehrlein was being investigated for forcing Paffett off track.

Wehrlein received a warning from the stewards for the incident with Paffett.

Wittmann was holding onto third but had a trail of six cars close behind, with no one being able to afford to make an error.

Rast went for a move into Turn 3 but Wittmann held firm, and the Audi driver lost out to Müller and di Resta.

Di Resta then overtook Müller before the German reclaimed the position, whilst this was going on Wittmann was allowed a brief reprieve.

Having been involved in that battling pack Glock had to park up at the side of the track due to a technical issue, bringing out another safety car.

Unlike the first restart, the Indy restart was used with Müller and Rast both passing Wittmann who then also lost out to di Resta.

Wittmann was vulnerable and found himself being swamped by the field – going from third to tenth in the space of a lap.

Race leader Juncadella was handed a drive through penalty for a restart infringement meaning Rast inherited the win after the late pass on Rockenfeller.

Müller made it an all Audi podium.

Di Resta finished in fourth with Jamie Green completing the top five.

Auer, Wittmann, Eng, Edoardo Mortara and Farfus rounded off the points finishers.

With his penalty Juncadella ended up in fifteenth, whilst Ogier finished thirteenth in his first DTM race.

In the championship, after scoring only one point compared to di Resta’s twelve – the championship has gone from a two point advantage in favour of Paffett to a ten point advantage in favour of di Resta.

Action resumes at 8.30 local time tomorrow for the third practice session of the weekend.

2018 DTM Series Results: Red Bull Ring – Race One

[table id=3440 /]


662 posts

About author
An NCTJ accredited Journalism Graduate covering DTM and the FIA Formula 3 Championship.
Related posts
DTMFormula E

Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Champion and Reigning DTM Champion to test for Jaguar

3 Mins read
Jaguar have announced that Simon Evans and reigning DTM Champion Sheldon van der Linde will complete Monday’s Rookie Test for the team.
DTMFormula EFormula Regional European Championship

ABT CUPRA to run Reigning ETCR Champion and ADAC Youngster in Rookie Test

2 Mins read
Reigning ETCR Champion Adrien Tambay and FREC driver Tim Tramnitz will drive for ABT CUPRA next Monday in the Formula E Rookie Test
DTMFormula E

Kelvin van der Linde to replace Robin Frijns for foreseeable future

3 Mins read
ABT DTM driver Kelvin van der Linde has been confirmed as Robin Frijns’ replacement at next weekend’s Diriyah E-Prix, with the Dutchman ruled out for potentially the bulk of the season.