Maiden DTM Victory for Philipp Eng in DTM’s Return to Zolder

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Credit: DTM Media

Philipp Eng won the first DTM Series race at Zolder in seventeen years, to take his first victory in the series.

Joining him on the podium was Joel Eriksson and Nico Müller.

At the start of the race, third place man on the grid Bruno Spengler jumped into the lead slotting between pole-sitter Marco Wittmann and second placed René Rast.

Robin FrijnsPietro Fittipaldi and Loïc Duval were all under investigation for jumpstarts, with the trio being handed five second pit stop penalties.

The likely cause of the penalties was the new start system on the cars, which was not on the cars at Hockenheim meaning the drivers have not had an adequate amount of time to test it.

Out front, race leader Spengler was locking up as he held off Wittmann – helped by the nature of the circuit making overtaking is difficult.

In a matter of moments the race totally changed, as R-Motorsport Aston Martin driver Dani Juncadella retired on the grass and team-mate Jake Dennis stoppedat the pit entry – with pair coming to a halt almost simultaneously.

This necessitated the use of the safety car, meaning the race would be extended to 55 minutes+3laps.

This was bad news for leading trio Spengler, Wittmann and Rast who were yet to stop, with their races unravelling due to the safety car.

As a result, Eriksson was the first of those to have stopped.

When the restart took place, Spengler held onto the lead from Wittmann as Sheldon van der Linde passed Rast.

Spengler along with the majority of those left to pit took to the pit-lane, leaving just Wittmann and Rast to serve their mandatory stop.

Eng on a charge now, passes Rast for second with the Audi getting swamped by those on fresher tyres – though he did not put much of a fight against his fellow Audi drivers.

Wittmann, finally came into the pits with Rast following him in to allow Eng to take the lead of the race.

However, having looked slow prior to his pitstop with many assuming it was just effect of old rubber Rast was still going slowly and had to pull into the pits to retire.

Out front, Eng was holding a three seconds advantage over Eriksson who had Müller on his tail.

Behind them Mike Rockenfeller, who had started last as a result of a clutch issue in qualifying, had caught up to Green and passed the Briton for fifth.

On the final lap, it looked as though Müller had the chance to pass Eriksson, who ran wide over a kerb and was sent airborne but the Audi man could not capitalise.

Eng put in an outstanding performance to claim his first victory in the DTM by over eight and a half seconds.

Eriksson held onto second place with Müller completing the podium.

Duval finished fourth with a strong recovery for Rockenfeller to fifth.

Green with sixth ahead of pole-sitter Wittmann whose race was destroyed by the safety car.

Aston Martin duo, Paul di Resta and Habsburg bagged points for their team in eighth and ninth after their team-mates retired.

Early race leader Spengler completed the points scorers.

Van der Linde, Frijns, Timo Glock and Fittipaldi filled the eleventh to fourteenth spots as the final drivers to be classified.

Ahead of tomorrow, Wittmann leads the championship from Eng by three points with Müller third, three points behind Eng.

Qualifying for Race 2 takes place at 10.25 local time, with the race getting underway at 12.30.

2019 DTM Series: Zolder – Race 1

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