Robin Frijns tops rain affected DTM practice at Brands Hatch

Robin Frijns tops rain affected DTM practice at Brands Hatch

Photo: Audi

Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline’s Robin Frijns set the fastest time in the only DTM practice at Brands Hatch, setting his time of 1 minute 16.318 seconds before heavy rain fell halfway through the session.

As the green flag waved the majority of the grid headed out, keen to get up to speed in the new Class One cars at what is a relatively new circuit for a number of the drivers.

Heavy overnight rain had dampened the track, however high winds and occasional sunshine meant the track had dried significantly. A number of drivers did head out on wet tyres, only to pit immediately for slicks.

Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s Loïc Duval set the early pace, his first lap of 1 minute 16.998 seconds nearly a second faster than the fastest pole time a year ago. The pace of the new for 2019 cars being displayed very early on.

With half an hour to go Frijns lowered the bar again, to a 1 minute 16.318 seconds with time still to be found.

As the session neared halfway the skies darkened, and a rain began to fall around the circuit. The majority of drivers remained out on track, until the rain increased in intensity within the final 20 minutes.

With 12 minutes to go, Frijns, and BMW Team RMR’s Philipp Eng headed, before being joined by a number of cars on the now very wet track.

The only victim of the wet surface was R-Motorsport’s Ferdinand von Habsburg who found himself beached in the gravel trap at Druids with two three minutes remaining.

Frijns remained top, only 0.132 seconds faster than fellow Audi driver Duval, who improved to a time of 1 minute 16.450 seconds before the rain fell.

BMW Team RMG’s Marco Wittmann was third fastest, setting a time of 1 minute 16.553 seconds, and the last of the drivers to break into the 16’s.

Half a second further back was Timo Glock, the BMW Team RMR driver was fourth fastest and 0.767 seconds slower than Frijns.

Championship contender Nico Müller was fifth fastest, some 0.872 seconds slower than his Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline teammate.

Assen race two winner Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s Mike Rockenfeller was sixth fastest, only six thousandths slower than Müller.

Audi Sport Team WRT rookie Jonathan Aberdein was seventh fastest with a 1 minute 17.295 second lap, ahead of fellow rookie BMW Team RBM’s Sheldon van der Linde who was only eight thousandths further back.

R-Motorsport’s Daniel Juncadella broke into the top ten with an impressive time of 1 minute 17.372 seconds, one second adrift of Frijns’ best. The Spaniard who took his maiden victory in race one at Brands Hatch last year showing improved pace in the new Vantage.

BMW Team RMR’s Bruno Spengler rounded out the top ten, with a time of 1 minute 17.456 seconds, with a deficit of 1.138 seconds to the fastest.

Standings leader Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s René Rast was 13th fastest with a time of 1 minute 17.604 seconds, the 2017 champion was over a second slower than the fastest lap.

Session results

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 4 Robin FRIJNS Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi RS5 DTM 25 1:16.318 0.000
2 28 Loïc DUVAL Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi RS5 DTM 24 1:16.450 0.132
3 11 Marco WITTMANN BMW Team RMG BMW M4 DTM 18 1:16.553 0.235
4 16 Timo GLOCK BMW Team RMR BMW M4 DTM 20 1:17.085 0.767
5 51 Nico MÜLLER Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi RS5 DTM 24 1:17.190 0.872
6 99 Mike ROCKENFELLER Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi RS5 DTM 24 1:17.196 0.878
7 27 Jonathan ABERDEIN Audi Sport Team WRT Audi RS5 DTM 23 1:17.295 0.977
8 31 Sheldon VAN DER LINDE BMW Team RBM BMW M4 DTM 25 1:17.303 0.985
9 23 Daniel JUNCADELLA R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage DTM 22 1:17.372 1.054
10 7 Bruno SPENGLER BMW Team RMG BMW M4 DTM 27 1:17.456 1.138
11 3 Paul DI RESTA R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage DTM 25 1:17.553 1.235
12 76 Jake DENNIS R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage DTM 25 1:17.599 1.281
13 33 René RAST Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi RS5 DTM 25 1:17.604 1.286
14 25 Philipp ENG BMW Team RMR BMW M4 DTM 23 1:17.637 1.319
15 47 Joel ERIKSSON BMW Team RBM BMW M4 DTM 17 1:17.657 1.339
16 21 Pietro FITTIPALDI Audi Sport Team WRT Audi RS5 DTM 26 1:17.734 1.416
17 53 Jamie GREEN Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi RS5 DTM 26 1:17.840 1.522
18 62 Ferdinand VON HABSBURG R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage DTM 19 1:18.975 2.657