Nico Müller is the first driver ever to win the first three races of a DTM season.
After setting the fastest times in both free practice sessions on Friday, Müller started the first of the two races at the Lausitzring from second on the grid with teammate Robin Frijns in pole position.
The Swiss driver had a better start than Frijns and was able to quickly extend his lead to 7.5 seconds. There was plenty of excitement in the opening laps with Timo Glock being squeezed and then spun off the track and René Rast being pushed out and having to take his own line across the grass to rejoin the pack.
Audi Sport Team Phoenix had a lot of bad luck in today’s race with a post-race 30-second time penalty being imposed on Mike Rockenfeller for exceeding the speed limit in the slow zone and Loïc Duval retiring with a transmission issue. However, the Frenchman wasn’t the only one to suffer mechanical issues as BMW Team RMR’s Jonathan Aberdein battled with technical problems early on in the race and had to pit, consequently dropping right down the field ending in fifteenth place.
BMW Team RBM’s Sheldon van der Linde took the flag in second place in his Shell BMW M4 DTM which was the first podium of his DTM career. He is also the first South African to make it onto the podium in the DTM. Completing the podium in third was the Audi of Frijns.
“Today’s success is largely due to my team,” said Müller. “Because I was racing in the Formula E finale in Berlin, I wasn’t able to be part of the usual preparation for the race weekend. The guys did a mega job, explained to me what I’ve got to look out for here and gave me a fantastic car. I had a good start, was able to stay in front afterwards and bring the victory home. I’m very happy.”
“Nico’s performance today was really outstanding,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “Only the slow zone could slow him down. But even there he remained cool and confident. He clearly was the fastest driver in the field today and absolutely deserves the victory. It was the tenth victory in a row for the Audi RS 5 DTM. This has never happened before in DTM. Everyone at Audi Sport can be proud of this. But we’ve also seen a competitive race from everybody. There were many fights. This is exactly what the spectators want to see. Of course, we hope that we can maintain our good form tomorrow as well.”
Van der Linde is understandably ecstatic with today’s results. “I’m over the moon with my first DTM podium. I was so close at Zolder last year but then missed out on the final lap. This time I called up everything I could. I tried to catch Nico Müller at the front, but he was just that little bit too fast in the end. Having said that, we have made a clear step forwards and are now able to challenge the Audis. My car was fantastic today – many thanks to the team.”
The second race at Lausitzring sprint circuit will start on Sunday (August 16) at 1:30 pm local time (12:30pm BST).
DTM Lausitzring Sprint Race 1 Results
|NICO MÜLLER||AUDI SPORT TEAM ABT SPORTSLINE||57:06.681|
|SHELDON VAN DER LINDE||BMW TEAM RBM||+2.870|
|ROBIN FRIJNS||AUDI SPORT TEAM ABT SPORTSLINE||+7.513|
|MARCO WITTMANN||BMW TEAM RMG||+7.861|
|TIMO GLOCK||BMW TEAM RMG||+14.569|
|FERDINAND HABSBURG||WRT TEAM AUDI SPORT||+20.226|
|RENÉ RAST||AUDI SPORT TEAM ROSBERG||+20.679|
|JAMIE GREEN||AUDI SPORT TEAM ROSBERG||+24.914|
|PHILIPP ENG||BMW TEAM RBM||+26.654|
|HARRISON NEWEY||WRT TEAM AUDI SPORT||+53.182|
|MIKE ROCKENFELLER||AUDI SPORT TEAM PHOENIX||+56.802|
|LUCAS AUER||BMW TEAM RMR||+57.468|
|ROBERT KUBICA||ART GRAND PRIX||+1:07.388|
|FABIO SCHERER||WRT TEAM AUDI SPORT||+ 1 LAP|
|JONATHAN ABERDEIN||BMW TEAM RMR||+ 1 LAP|
|LOÏC DUVAL||AUDI SPORT TEAM PHOENIX||DNF|