Mike Rockenfeller convincingly won the second race of DTM’s debut visit to the TT Circuit Assen finally bringing an end to a series of 35 consecutive races without a win.
The Audi Sport Team Phoenix driver would lead home BMW Team RMG’s Marco Wittmann who started the race from last on the grid.
Rockenfeller was quick to admit he struggled in Saturday’s wet race, and with little changes to the car was further surprised by his pace on Sunday.
“We arrived here and I was quite confident,” explains the 2013 series champion, “We were P14 on the grid and today we didn’t change the car really and I’m P3.
“With the same car, same track, same driver, and sometimes it’s difficult to understand why.”
Despite feeling more confident in the car after taking points in qualifying, Rockenfeller knew that tyre management would be crucial in his attempt to hold or better his starting position.
“I was super happy in qualifying, then also in the race to have a clean start,” the Audi driver described, “And then we all knew it would be tough, after the experience we had in free practice, to manage the tyres.”
A number of drivers suffered from tyre wear, and a small selection were forced to make an alternative second stop in order to score points.
Despite suffering from tyre wear, Rockenfeller always felt like he was in control of the race even when he was feeling nervous in the final minutes.
“I always had something left,” he explained, “I was then managing the tyres because the gap [to Wittmann] was quite big.
“Then you listen to everything, you get some pickup, some vibrations and I was getting really nervous.
“I was looking at the time running down and just hoping that it’s over!”
Jumping to fifth in the championship with 94 points, some 64 behind standings leader Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s René Rast, Rockenfeller remains positive of bettering his championship position.
“I still need to catch up a little bit, and I need a bit of luck that I haven’t had in many races this year.
“But that happens. For all of us it’s a big relief to win, a big weight of the shoulders.
“I think we are kind of back in the game, to fight for top three in the championship maybe.”