Nico Muller completely dominated Race one of the DTM’s round at the Nurburgring, taking a comfortable victory at the half-way point of the championship.
The Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline driver was completely untroubled on the DTM’s first visit to the GP circuit version of the Nurburgring to take his fourth victory of the season, 15 seconds in front of defending champion Rene Rast.
Muller’s first win since the third round of the series, also allowed to increase his championship lead as closest title rival Robin Frijns hit trouble and could only finish fifth.
Muller’s dominance began at lights out as he made a beautiful start and quickly opened up a second lead over fellow front row starter and title rival Rast, with fellow title rival Frijns shadowing the leaders in third.
Mike Rockenfeller got a great start to jump Marco Wittmann in the leading BMW to grab fourth, but he was unable to make much impression on the top three.
This led to him becoming the first of the front runners to pit on lap 8, an inspired strategy that saw him vault up to second once all of the stops had cycled through.
Muller was the first of the top three to pit, which left Rast very briefly in the lead, but on the run down to turn one, Frijns dived down in the inside of the reigning champion and then forcefully muscled him out on the exit of turn three to grab the lead.
Things got worse for Rast when he emerged behind the earlier stopping Rockenfeller when exiting his pitstop and well down on Muller.
Frijns was the last of the top three to pit on lap 15, and emerged in third place behind Muller and Rockenfeller, but just ahead of Rast.
The reigning champion was on hotter tyres however and eager to seek revenge for the Dutchman’s robust move of him and took full advantage of Frijn’s cold tyres to repay the favour as he banged past Frijns at the site of their first coming together.
In front of all this Muller was in control out front and began to pull out a big lead from Rockenfeller who’s early stop meant that his tyres weren’t as fresh as his rivals around him and this allowed Rast and Frijns to closed him down and with 15 minutes to go, both had quickly dispatched the 2013 championship.
By then Muller was 10 seconds and uncatch-able so Rast and Frijns resumed carried on with their private duel for second place.
With 5 minutes to go Frijns attempted a surprise dive down on the German into turn one, but his late lunge saw him outbreak himself, bounce off the inside of the curve, slide across the circuit and spin on the exit of the corner.
Rast managed to avoid the flying Dutchman, who lit up the tyres and rejoined down in fifth place.
Rockenfeller eventually finished fourth, having lost the the final podium position to the leading BMW of Wittmann despite his feisty attempts to regain the position through the turns 2-4 complex.
The next highest BMW was that of Phillip Eng in sixth who took his joint highest finish of the season in sixth.
Jamie Green‘s frustrating season continued with a difficult race to 13th position.
He got shuffled several places down on lap 2 as his attempts to hold off Sheldon van der Linde‘s BMW, saw him lose seventh position to a DRS assisted divebomb from Audi Sport Team Phoenix driver Loic Duval into the first corner.
The loss of momentum saw van der Linde and Timo Glock get past and he lost another position to Lucas Auer on the next lap after a mistake at the chicane. A bad strategy call meant he dropped further in the second half of the race.
Duval’s good work was undo when he received a 10 second penalty for crossing the white line on entering the pitlane, that regulated him to ninth place in the final standings, a severe blow to his slim hopes of keeping touch with the top three drivers in the standings.
But with Muller having been dominate all weekend, it will be difficult to see who can touch him for the next race tomorrow.