DTM Series championship leader René Rast recovered from stalling on the grid, to dominate the opening race at the Norisring.
Rast held a thirty-four and a half second advantage over Nico Müller at the finish, largely down to the German pitting just before a safety car was called.
Ahead of the race start Loïc Duval and Mike Rockenfeller were both excluded as their Audi Sport Team Phoenix squad worked on their cars under parc fermé conditions. As a result they lost their third and eighth starting positions.
Philipp Eng was also penalised after having been found to have blocked Rockenfeller and started from fifth rather than second. The Austrian was able to keep his bonus points from qualifying, however as he was excluded Duval did not.
When the race got underway, as Rast stalled at the start pole-sitter Müller made a strong getaway to lead the BMW duo Bruno Spengler and Eng with the latter wanting to make up for lost ground after his penalty.
Rast dove into the pit-lane at the end of lap three, with Dani Juncadella and Jake Dennis also coming in, to come out in tenth and first of those who had already pitted.
This proved pivotal as the safety car was deployed whilst in the pits, and no stops can be made under safety car.
Dennis was the reason for the safety car, after it appeared he nudged team-mate Paul di Resta into the WRT of Pietro Fittipaldi – ending the Brazilian’s race.
Racing resumed on lap nine, with Rast setting about making progress through the order taking the lead of the race at the end of lap thirty when Müller pitted.
By this point, Rast had an advantage of just under ten seconds over Joel Eriksson but the 2017 champion stretched his legs to win his third race of 2019 by a devastating margin.
It had been looking as though Eriksson had second covered heading into the final lap, but Müller snatched the position away in the final corner to make it an Audi 1-2.
Having to start the race from the back, Duval likely would not have expected to finish fourth but got much of his work done early in the race. Bruno Spengler finished just behind in fifth.
Juncadella, claimed R-Motorsport Aston Martin‘s best result since joining the championship in sixth. His team-mates Dennis and Habsburg had benefitted from stopping before the safety car but faded during the race to come home ninth and tenth.
BMW duo Eng and Marco Wittmann were seventh and eighth in the latter’s home race.
The returning Jamie Green, Sheldon van der Linde and Robin Frijns completed the classified drivers.
In taking his third victory of the season, Rast also scored points at the Nuremberg circuit for the first time in the DTM.
Action gets back underway at 10:35 local time tomorrow for qualifying for the second race with lights going out at 13:30.
2019 DTM Series: Norisring – Race One
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