DTM Brands Hatch: Audi 1-2 in weather-affected Free Practice

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Robin Frijns - DTM - 2019 Brands Hatch
Credit: Craig Robertson

Robin Frijns and Loïc Duval were the fastest two drivers for Audi Sport in an increasingly wet and windy DTM Series Free Practice session at Brands Hatch.

Frijns’s lap time of a 1:16.318 was 0.132 seconds faster than the Team Phoenix Audi of Duval, with Marco Wittmann the best placed BMW Motorsport car in third place – 0.235s off the fastest Audis and 0.532s ahead of fellow BMW driver Timo Glock.

A dry start to the session ensured that all fast times were set in the first half of the session, as driving rain dominated the second half of the sole practice session of the weekend.

Duval set the early pace in the opening stages of the session, the Frenchman breaking into the 1 minute 16s bracket with just six minutes of the 45-minute session completed.

He then improved by half-a-second on his next run, as Assen Race 1 winner Wittmann slotted into second place.

Dutchman Frijns assumed top spot by just a tenth-of-a-second as the previously greasy track improved under a blanket of threatening-looking clouds.

Just before the first spots of rain started to hit the circuit, Wittmann closed in on the leading pair as the only other man in the 1m16s range.

All the drivers stayed out on slick tyres, despite the potential for heavy rain, before heading into the garage for the Hankook wet compound – although Bruno Spengler decided to try his luck on slick tyres and a very clear track before sheepishly caving into poor sector times.

Only one driver left the track in the whole session, as Ferdinand Habsburg buried his R-Motorsport Aston Martin car into the gravel at Druids with three minutes of the session remaining and prompted a slow zone period while marshals returned him to the track.

Nico Müller took fifth place ahead of Assen Race 2 winner and Audi team-mate Mike Rockenfeller, with Jonathan Aberdein‘s seventh place leaving five Audis in the top eight ahead of qualifying.

Sheldon van der Linde was the final man inside a second away from the ultimate pace in eighth for BMW, ahead of the lead Aston Martin of Daniel Juncadella and fourth-fastest BMW man Bruno Spengler.

Paul di Resta was the fastest of the three British drivers in eleventh, one place ahead of Aston Martin team-mate Jake Dennis.

Jamie Green was the slowest Audi in seventeenth place.

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