It was another very successful day for Audi Motorsport at Spa-Francorchamps with the top five finishers all driving the Audi RS 5 DTM cars.
René Rast began the race on pole position and had a hard battle with Nico Müller for the whole race after Robin Frijns, yesterday’s pole sitter had a terrible start and dropped back to third with Mike Rockenfella leading the rest of the pack and the BMW M4 DTM of South African Sheldon van der Linde following closely.
It wasn’t long before Müller pulled off the perfect manoeuvre during lap number four to take first place from Rast and the battling continued from then onwards. Towards the middle of the race, Rast also had to defend himself against Müller’s teammate Robin Frijns who eventually lost a lot of time at the pit stop, turning the three-way fight at the front into a duel. Rast reduced the gap to Müller with the help of DRS and Push-to-Pass, finally overtaking Müller six laps from the end of the race.
Today’s track temperatures were thankfully a little lower than yesterday meaning that all drivers were able to stay out longer without the rubber deteriorating anywhere near as badly as in saturday’s race.
“It was a very good race, much better than yesterday when I was fighting with the tires,” said two-time DTM Champion Rast “We improved a few things on the car, but I also worked on my driving. We got our reward for this today. It was a cool fight with Nico and Robin – fair and good. Just the way it should be. The racing with DRS and Push-to-Pass in the DTM is awesome.”
There was also some great jostling for position between the Audis of Jamie Green and Rockenfella which went on for several laps with Green eventually finding a way through under breaking into La Source. As in race one, Green progressed well and went from starting in eighth to finishing in fourth.
In the final fifteen minutes of the race, Rast found his way into the slipstream of Müller on the Kemmel straight and regained the race lead but then had to defend hard until the checkered flag with just four-tenths of a second between them. Frijns came in third with Green and Rockenfella completing an all Audi top five again. Van der Linde was again the best of the BMW drivers in sixth place.
Second-placed Müller was still in a very good mood after the race. “All in all, the weekend was superb, I am leading the championship. But I have never been so unhappy about a second place. We should have won today as well. I felt like I had everything under control.”
“This was an incredible start to the season with two fantastic results for Audi,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass after the latest triumph of the Four Rings. “My feeling is we’ve been even stronger today than yesterday. It’s great that we can continue where we left off last year. Spa is a very special circuit where good tire management is important. But you also need engine power at Spa. We clearly saw on those two days that we have the best engine.”
“As expected, it was tough for us again today here at Spa.” Stated BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “Qualifying was a little better, and with Sheldon van der Linde we had a driver on one of the first two rows. The picture was a better one further down the grid too. In the race, we lost too much time in the first stint. We were simply unable to make up that ground in the second stint, even with a different strategy like the one we saw from Marco Wittmann, who came in a bit later for his tyre change. We struggled with tyre management again today. That is something we need to work on. The reliability and top speed were there, but the pace was not there in the first stint – particularly in sectors two and three. We have to analyse that. We must improve our package by the Lausitzring, although the tyres will not play such a major role there as they have done here at Spa. Congratulations to René Rast and Nico Müller. They were in a league of their own. We must ensure that we improve and are up there at the front of the field soon.”
DTM Spa-Francorchamps Race 2 Results
|RENÉ RAST||AUDI SPORT TEAM ROSBERG||57:17.254|
|NICO MÜLLER||AUDI SPORT TEAM ABT SPORTSLINE||+0.483|
|ROBIN FRIJNS||AUDI SPORT TEAM ABT SPORTSLINE||+5.393|
|JAMIE GREEN||AUDI SPORT TEAM ROSBERG||+11.080|
|MIKE ROCKENFELLER||AUDI SPORT TEAM PHOENIX||+23.435|
|SHELDON VAN DER LINDE||BMW TEAM RBM||+24.118|
|LOÏC DUVAL||AUDI SPORT TEAM PHOENIX||+27.128|
|LUCAS AUER||BMW TEAM RMR||+43.098|
|JONATHAN ABERDEIN||BMW TEAM RMR||+43.773|
|MARCO WITTMANN||BMW TEAM RMG||+46.802|
|PHILIPP ENG||BMW TEAM RBM||+47.749|
|FABIO SCHERER||WRT TEAM AUDI SPORT||+50.314|
|TIMO GLOCK||BMW TEAM RMG||+54.206|
|ROBERT KUBICA||ART GRAND PRIX||+1:30.445|
|FERDINAND HABSBURG||WRT TEAM AUDI SPORT||+1:49.237|
|HARRISON NEWEY||WRT TEAM AUDI SPORT||DNC|
The DTM continues on August 15/16 and 22/23 with a total of four races at the Lausitzring in Germany.