Nico Müller’s ‘tough’ Sunday race kept championship alive

Nico Müller’s ‘tough’ Sunday race kept championship alive

Photo: Audi

Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline’s Nico Müller had a difficult second race at the Lausitzring after claiming his third ever DTM race victory in race one, but a fight back to finish second behind title rival Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s René Rast has helped keep the championship alive.

The Swiss driver made a poor start from the second row and dropped out of the points by the end of lap one, and Müller admits to a clutch issue.

“It was very tough, I screwed up the start big time today,” explained Müller, “We knew we were having a small issue with the clutch.

“I was confident I would get away with it today which was not the case, which was my mistake..

“I dropped to P11 by T2, so I was really in the mix.”

Müller hit pitlane on lap eight which was the earliest of the front running cars, a move that turned out to be crucial in his fight back to second place.

The 27-year-old made a late braking move on Audi Sport Team WRT’s Jonathan Aberdein, as well as being handed positions by fellow Audi’s of Team Phoenix’s Mike Rockenfeller and Abt Sportsline teammate Robin Frijns.

“We pitted very early,” reported Müller, “Luckily it worked out and Mike [Rockenfeller] gave me some free air after I closed the gap to him.

“I managed to pass the cars that came out of the pits on cold tyres, and kept the tyres alive till the end.”

Müller admitted, however, that he had been too conservative on his tyres after being surprised by the performance of the Hankook rubber late on in the race.

“I was a bit surprised that I still had quite some tyre life in the back,” revealed Müller, “I started to increase the pace again and was like, ah, should’ve done that earlier, maybe I could have closed the gap slightly.”

Sitting second in the points standings, 20 behind Rast, Müller is the only driver to have finished in the points in every race of the 2019 season, a feat which the Swiss driver thanks his team for.

“I’m grateful to my mechanics to give me that car that lasts when it counts,” said a grateful Müller, “We’ve all had issues here and there.

“It’s crucial in such a championship, it keeps us in the game, keeps the pressure on René and that is very important.”