René Rast executed a flawless drive to win the second DTM at Zolder, the Audi Sport Team Rosberg driver passing the rookie pole-sitter BMW Team RBM’s Sheldon van der Linde after eleven laps.
The Audi driver was then able to gap the field twice, first after making his mandatory pitstop, and then after a mid-race safety car for the stranded Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline driver Robin Frijns.
At the start Rast was unable to challenge Van der Linde into the first corner, and was lucky to retake second after BMW Team RMR driver Philipp Eng made a mistake into turn two.
The leading duo were then able to gap the chasing pack before Rast made the race winning move into turn one on lap 11.
The 2017 champion then made his mandatory stop a lap later and was able to warm his tyres quick enough to avoid attack from the South African rookie who had attempted to undercut the Audi.
Rast was the effective race leader as a number of cars had yet to stop, including the R-Motorsport driver Jake Dennis who led the race for a number of laps.
The race was then turned on it’s head when BMW Team RMG driver Marco Wittmann tagged local hero Frijns into a spin at turn one. The Dutch driver was unable to restart his Audi RS5 Turbo DTM bringing out the safety car.
The stewards handed Wittmann a drive-through penalty that dropped him out of the competitive running.
Under the safety car a number of drivers chose to pit again, giving them fresh tyres for the final twenty minutes. Rast’s teammate Jamie Green headed those on a two-stop strategy; in 8th place as the race restarted.
Rast was able to get a jump on the rest of the field, as Eng passed Van der Linde for second.
With ten minutes to go the battle intensified for the final podium spot. Green had made his way up to fifth place thanks to a three wide pass on BMW Team RMR driver Timo Glock and Dennis.
Audi Sport Team Phoenix driver Mike Rockenfeller then moved aside to let Green chase down the front runners, and in the closing few laps Green was doing all he could to force Van der Linde into a mistake.
On the final lap Green went through on the inside of turn eight to claim the final podium position. Rockenfeller, who was able to get a cutback on the battling duo was forced onto the grass as he made his way past the slowed Van der Linde.
With a ten second lead at the line Rast took his second win of the year, from Eng who climbed to the championship lead.
Green ended his 24 race podium drought to give the Audi Sport Team Rosberg squad a double podium result, ahead of fellow Audi driver Rockenfeller who finished fourth.
Pole-sitting Van der Linde crossed the line in fifth to round off a strong second weekend in the DTM series.
Dennis took an incredible sixth place, passing BMW Team RMG driver Bruno Spengler in the final three laps to score his first points in the DTM.
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline driver Nico Müller came home eighth, ahead of Audi Sport Team WRT driver Pietro Fittipaldi who made a second stop under the safety car.
BMW Team RBM driver Joel Eriksson rounded out the top ten over 23 seconds behind Rast.
BMW Team RMG driver Timo Glock struggled with tyre wear towards the end of the race dropped to 14th after sliding through the gravel on the penultimate lap.
|1||33||René RAST||Audi Sport Team Rosberg||Audi RS5 DTM||39||39 LAPS||1:23.864||2|
|2||25||Philipp ENG||BMW Team RBM||BMW M4 DTM||39||9.845||1:23.600||3|
|3||53||Jamie GREEN||Audi Sport Team Rosberg||Audi RS5 DTM||39||11.791||1:24.319||9|
|4||99||Mike ROCKENFELLER||Audi Sport Team Phoenix||Audi RS5 DTM||39||12.601||1:24.346||6|
|5||31||Sheldon VAN DER LINDE||BMW Team RBM||BMW M4 DTM||39||13.195||1:24.113||1|
|6||76||Jake DENNIS||R-Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage DTM||39||19.825||1:25.586||13|
|7||7||Bruno SPENGLER||BMW Team RMG||BMW M4 DTM||39||20.468||1:24.416||15|
|8||51||Nico MÜLLER||Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline||Audi RS5 DTM||39||21.563||1:24.339||12|
|9||21||Pietro FITTIPALDI||Audi Sport Team WRT||Audi RS5 DTM||39||22.661||1:25.301||14|
|10||47||Joel ERIKSSON||BMW Team RBM||BMW M4 DTM||39||23.550||1:24.280||10|
|11||28||Loïc DUVAL||Audi Sport Team Phoenix||Audi RS5 DTM||39||23.648||1:24.906||11|
|12||27||Jonathan ABERDEIN||Audi Sport Team WRT||Audi RS5 DTM||39||26.793||1:24.857||8|
|13||11||Marco WITTMANN||BMW Team RMG||BMW M4 DTM||39||39.780||1:24.145||7|
|14||16||Timo GLOCK||BMW Team RMG||BMW M4 DTM||38||+ 1 LAP||1:24.245||5|
|R||23||Daniel JUNCADELLA||R-Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage DTM||27||DNF||1:25.503||16|
|R||4||Robin FRIJNS||Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline||Audi RS5 DTM||21||DNF||1:24.013||4|
|R||62||Ferdinand VON HABSBURG||R-Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage DTM||17||DNF||1:25.744||17|
|NS||3||Paul DI RESTA||R-Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage DTM||–||DNS||N/A||18|