Mike Rockenfeller ends DTM win drought in hectic race two

Mike Rockenfeller ends DTM win drought in hectic race two

Mike Rockenfeller
Photo: Audi

Audi Sport Team Phoenix driver Mike Rockenfeller put an end to his 35 race win drought by taking to the top step of the podium in race two of DTM’s debut at TT Circuit Assen, ahead of BMW Team RMG’s Marco Wittmann who started from the back of the grid.

Rockenfeller demonstrated competitive pace in the early laps, and after passing Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s René Rast for the lead on lap 29, the 2013 champion effectively managed his tyres to cross the line 4.5 seconds ahead of Wittmann.

At the start pole-sitter Rast held his lead into the first corner, whilst fellow front row starter Audi Sport Team WRT’s rookie Jonathan Aberdein struggled to get away, falling to eighth.

Home hero Robin Frijns of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline jumped those around him to slot in behind Rockefeller and Rast on the opening lap.

The top four cars of Rast, Rockenfeller, Frijns and Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline’s Nico Müller gapped the rest of the field but remained separated by only two seconds.

Further down the order Wittmann, who had started from the back of the grid, was already up to 12th by the end of lap one, and was into the points three laps later.

By lap 11 Wittmann was less that five seconds behind race leader Rast, and pitted from sixth place after catching up to Audi Sport Team WRT rookie Pietro Fittipaldi.

Rast, aware of the speed of Wittmann, hit pitlane on lap 15, rejoining just in front of the BMW driver.

Rockenfeller followed by pitting from the lead two laps later, and set about putting his fresher tyres to use, closing the gap to, and then passing, Wittmann to take the effective second place.

It was then clear that new Hankook tyres were crucial, as Rockenfeller then closed a seven second gap to Rast in only two laps, before passing the championship leader on lap 29.

In fear that the championship leader may drop out of the points on worn tyres, the Audi Sport Team Rosberg team called Rast for his second stop of the race. The 2017 champion was one of a handful of drivers to make an additional stop late on.

Rockenfeller managed the tyres and a seven second gap to take his first win since Zandvoort 2017, and was joined on the podium by Wittmann and Müller.

Aberdein, who looked unlikely to score points after dropping out of the top ten in the early running, fought back to claim fourth ahead of the charging Rast who climbed six places in the final 10 minutes, and was the only two-stopper to score points.

Frijns crossed the line in sixth place after being passed by Rast on the final lap, ahead of Daniel Juncadella who was the best placed of the R-Motorsport Aston Martins in seventh.

The Spaniard was the last driver to make his mandatory stop, on lap 22, displaying unexpected pace in the tyre-friendly Vantage.

R-Motorsport’s Paul Di Resta crossed the line half a second behind Juncadella, giving the team their third double points finish of the year.

The second Audi Sport Team Rosberg car of Jamie Green scored points in ninth, ahead of Fittipaldi meaning the Audi Sport Team WRT squad took home their first double points finish of their debut DTM season.

Rockenfeller moves to fifth in the championship with his first win of 2019, closing the gap to Rast who leads the standings by 22 points from Müller.

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 99 Mike ROCKENFELLER Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi RS5 DTM 37 56:44.559 1:28.720 3
2 11 Marco WITTMANN BMW Team RMG BMW M4 DTM 37 4.518 1:28.227 18
3 51 Nico MÜLLER Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi RS5 DTM 37 6.398 1:29.102 4
4 27 Jonathan ABERDEIN Audi Sport Team WRT Audi RS5 DTM 37 17.000 1:28.960 2
5 33 René RAST Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi RS5 DTM 37 19.348 1:28.324 1
6 4 Robin FRIJNS Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi RS5 DTM 37 21.626 1:28.895 5
7 23 Daniel JUNCADELLA R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage DTM 37 21.967 1:29.457 14
8 3 Paul DI RESTA R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage DTM 37 22.554 1:28.659 15
9 53 Jamie GREEN Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi RS5 DTM 37 25.946 1:29.418 13
10 21 Pietro FITTIPALDI Audi Sport Team WRT Audi RS5 DTM 37 36.096 1:29.207 10
11 28 Loïc DUVAL Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi RS5 DTM 37 36.492 1:28.530 7
12 62 Ferdinand VON HABSBURG R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage DTM 37 41.444 1:28.912 16
13 25 Philipp ENG BMW Team RMR BMW M4 DTM 37 47.996 1:27.860 8
14 16 Timo GLOCK BMW Team RMR BMW M4 DTM 37 57.455 1:29.640 9
15 31 Sheldon VAN DER LINDE BMW Team RBM BMW M4 DTM 37 58.520 1:29.095 6
R 47 Joel ERIKSSON BMW Team RBM BMW M4 DTM 29 DNF 1:29.294 11
R 7 Bruno SPENGLER BMW Team RMG BMW M4 DTM 19 DNF 1:29.478 12
R 76 Jake DENNIS R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage DTM 19 DNF 1:30.667 17