René Rast moved up to second in the DTM drivers’ standings with another imperious victory in race two at Zolder, as title candidate Robin Frijns crashed out when exiting the pitlane.
For Rast, the dramas began even before the race had started when a fire developed in the engine of his RS5 on the grid.
Thanksfully for the reigning champion, his mechanics were able to deal with the issue and fix his engine, allowing him to start from third on the grid.
When the lights went out, the on-form Rast immediately jumped between the front-row BMWs of Timo Glock and Sheldon van der Linde, seizing the lead at the first corner.
Glock, however, made contact with Ferdinand von Habsburg at the first corner, after a poor start from the German, sending both drivers into the gravel and Glock down to last place.
Dutchman Frijns had made a scintillating start himself and was up to fourth by the end of the first lap, from eighth on the grid.
The Abt Sportsline driver was amongst the earlier drivers to pit, coming in to make his mandatory stop on lap 11, at the time running in third after a strong pass on van der Linde on the third lap.
But disaster struck exiting the pits for Frijns when, on a set of new, cold and unscrubbed tyres he crashed into the armco on the exit of the pits.
With terminal steering damage, Frijns pulled over after the pit exit, but his car subsequently caught fire, necessitating a safety car period.
By this stage, Rast and second-placed Mike Rockenfeller had already made their pitstops, re-joining in ninth and tenth respectively.
After seven laps behind the safety car, racing resumed on lap 19 with points leader Nico Müller leading after passing van der Linde swiftly.
The safety car intervention effectively cost Müller a chance of a strong result, as he was forced to make his mandatory stop shortly after the field had been bunched up.
Similarly BMW’s Marco Wittmann had to stop twice, having made his first stop under safety car conditions when the mandatory stop does not count.
After the pitstop phase was completed, Rast assumed the lead and eased into a comfortable lead over Rockenfeller, to take his second consecutive win and move up to second in the standings, just ten points behind Müller.
Second for Rockenfeller was the 2013 champion’s best result of the year, whilst BMW’s Lucas Auer completed the podium, the Austrian coming through from 12th on the grid after benefitting from the safety car intervention.
Glock had a remarkable drive to recover to fourth, helped predominantly by being the first driver to pit on lap five after he had dropped to the rear of the field on the opening lap.
WRT’s Fabio Scherer, Harrison Newey and von Habsburg took fifth, sixth and seventh respectively, the former with his first points of the year. All three drivers pitted prior to the safety car and also benefitted from its intervention.
Wittmann claimed eighth after his second stop, emerging just in front of Müller. Despite having cold tyres, the two-time champion held off the Swiss, who had to settle for ninth.
Van der Linde completed the top ten, over ten seconds adrift of the battling duo in front.
BMW’s Jonathan Aberdein finished just behind his compatriot in 11th, having had to serve a five-second pitstop penalty for an inaccurate grid position at the start.
Former F1 driver Robert Kubica was just 12th. The Pole has now moved back to the bottom of the drivers’ championship table after another race outside the points.
Loïc Duval was just 13th, picking up a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release whilst running outside the points anyway.
Similarly, there was a drive-through penalty for 14th-placed Philipp Eng for a violation of the safety car restart.
The DTM remains in Belgium at Zolder for the next round of the championship, taking place next weekend.
|1||33||René RAST||Audi Sport Team Rosberg||Audi RS5 DTM||41||41 LAPS||1:21.046||3|
|2||99||Mike ROCKENFELLER||Audi Sport Team Phoenix||Audi RS5 DTM||41||5.433||1:20.980||6|
|3||22||Lucas AUER||BMW Team RMR||BMW M4 DTM||41||22.272||1:21.320||12|
|4||16||Timo GLOCK||BMW Team RMG||BMW M4 DTM||41||31.603||1:21.346||1|
|5||13||Fabio SCHERER||Audi Sport Team WRT||Audi RS5 DTM||41||32.018||1:21.892||16|
|6||10||Harrison NEWEY||Audi Sport Team WRT||Audi RS5 DTM||41||33.787||1:21.241||14|
|7||62||Ferdinand VON HABSBURG||Audi Sport Team WRT||Audi RS5 DTM||41||34.304||1:21.522||4|
|8||11||Marco WITTMANN||BMW Team RMG||BMW M4 DTM||41||40.627||1:20.263||10|
|9||51||Nico MÜLLER||Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline||Audi RS5 DTM||41||41.182||1:20.757||7|
|10||31||Sheldon VAN DER LINDE||BMW Team RBM||BMW M4 DTM||41||54.280||1:21.129||2|
|11||27||Jonathan ABERDEIN||BMW Team RMR||BMW M4 DTM||41||1:07.911||1:20.513||9|
|12||8||Robert KUBICA||BMW Team ART||Audi RS5 DTM||41||1:19.380||1:21.590||13|
|13||28||Loïc DUVAL||Audi Sport Team Phoenix||Audi RS5 DTM||40||+ 1 LAP||1:20.348|
|14||25||Philipp ENG||BMW Team RBM||BMW M4 DTM||40||+ 1 LAP||1:21.363||15|
|15||53||Jamie GREEN||Audi Sport Team Rosberg||Audi RS5 DTM||40||+ 1 LAP||1:20.929||5|
|R||4||Robin FRIJNS||Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline||Audi RS5 DTM||11||DNF||1:20.825||8|