Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline driver Nico Müller scored a vital race victory in his DTM title challenge, decimating the points deficit to Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s René Rast who retired early on.
Müller scored only his second victory of the season and was joined on the podium by Abt Sportsline teammate Robin Frijns and Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s Mike Rockenfeller.
Away from the line Rast made a good getaway to hold onto his lead, whilst Team Rosberg teammate Jamie Green fell from the front row to the fast starting Müller and BMW Team RMG’s Marco Wittmann.
The top five of Rast, Muller, Wittmann, Green and Frijns were locked together for the opening handful of laps until drama struck the leader.
Rast pulled aside through T3, and stopped momentarily off-track, as Müller inherited a lead he would not surrender for the remainder of the race.
Despite getting his Audi RS5 going again Rast would retire from the race on lap eight, an event that holds significant championship implications.
Frijns was the first of the front runners to make his mandatory pitstop on lap 12, followed by Wittmann a lap later, in an attempt to undercut race leader Müller.
Emerging from the pitlane Wittmann, on cold tyres, was vulnerable to an attack from Frijns who had had a lap to warm his Hankook rubber. The Dutchman wasted no time in making a late lunge into T6 for the effective second place.
Race leader Müller made his compulsory visit to pit lane on lap 14 and, despite a pit stop nearly two seconds slower than his competition, did not fall behind the chasing duo of Frijns and Wittmann.
Rockenfeller and Green stopped on lap 17, but drama involving the BMWs of Team RMR’s Timo Glock and Team RBM’s Joel Eriksson saw Green penalised for an unsafe release. The drive-through would drop the British driver out of contention for a podium.
Müller was holding on to a comfortable two second advantage over Audi brandmate Frijns, who was only a second ahead of Wittmann.
With ten minutes to go Rockenfeller was the fastest man on track, and set about reducing the gap to Wittmann. After a failed attempt to pass the BMW on lap 26, the 2013 series champion was ruthless in wrestling the podium position away with a pass around the outside at T1.
Müller extended his lead to 2.4 seconds over Frijns at the checkered flag, and in securing victory reduced the points deficit to Rast to only 14 points. Rockenfeller rounded out an all Audi podium thanks to the late race pass.
Wittmann crossed the line in fourth, after losing out to Rockenfeller late on, but the best placed BMW driver scored vital championship points in light of Rast’s retirement.
BMW Team RMR’s Philipp Eng came home in fifth after a tricky race that saw him slow in the pitlane to avoid an unsafe release penalty.
Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s Loïc Duval again scored points in sixth, ahead of Audi Sport Team WRT’s Pietro Fittipaldi who scored his second best result in his rookie DTM season.
BMW Team RBM’s Joel Eriksson finished eighth, ahead of BMW Team RMG’s Bruno Spengler in ninth, and Green recovered from his penalty to round out the top ten.
Jake Dennis was the best placed of the R-Motorsport-run Aston Martins in 11th after a race-long battle with teammate Daniel Juncadella.
|1||51||Nico MÜLLER||Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline||Audi RS5 DTM||34||56:53.891||1:38.378||3|
|2||4||Robin FRIJNS||Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline||Audi RS5 DTM||34||2.496||1:38.176||4|
|3||99||Mike ROCKENFELLER||Audi Sport Team Phoenix||Audi RS5 DTM||34||3.206||1:38.242||6|
|4||11||Marco WITTMANN||BMW Team RMG||BMW M4 DTM||34||5.807||1:38.370||5|
|5||25||Philipp ENG||BMW Team RMR||BMW M4 DTM||34||13.477||1:38.797||8|
|6||28||Loïc DUVAL||Audi Sport Team Phoenix||Audi RS5 DTM||34||14.742||1:38.500||11|
|7||21||Pietro FITTIPALDI||Audi Sport Team WRT||Audi RS5 DTM||34||16.859||1:38.942||7|
|8||47||Joel ERIKSSON||BMW Team RBM||BMW M4 DTM||34||17.532||1:38.661||10|
|9||7||Bruno SPENGLER||BMW Team RMG||BMW M4 DTM||34||21.472||1:38.739||12|
|10||53||Jamie GREEN||Audi Sport Team Rosberg||Audi RS5 DTM||34||24.318||1:38.459||2|
|11||76||Jake DENNIS||R-Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage DTM||34||34.098||1:38.768||13|
|12||23||Daniel JUNCADELLA||R-Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage DTM||34||34.511||1:39.338||16|
|13||3||Paul DI RESTA||R-Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage DTM||34||43.357||1:39.470||15|
|14||27||Jonathan ABERDEIN||Audi Sport Team WRT||Audi RS5 DTM||34||45.084||1:38.784||17|
|15||62||Ferdinand VON HABSBURG||R-Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage DTM||34||51.948||1:39.199||18|
|16||31||Sheldon VAN DER LINDE||BMW Team RBM||BMW M4 DTM||34||1:01.608||1:38.766||14|
|R||16||Timo GLOCK||BMW Team RMR||BMW M4 DTM||17||DNF||1:38.860||9|
|R||33||René RAST||Audi Sport Team Rosberg||Audi RS5 DTM||8||DNF||1:38.645||1|