The DTM is always good for a surprise: under a clear blue sky, Audi driver Robin Frijns (NED) scored his second DTM career victory in the second race at the Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit. Defending champion René Rast (GER, Audi) finished second from former champion Mike Rockenfeller (GER, Audi), who scored a podium finish for the first time in the current season. With Abt Sportsline, Team Rosberg and Phoenix Racing, all three Audi works teams were represented on the podium for the first time this season.
Müller initially dominant, but then slowed down by technical problems
In the process, everything had looked set for another victory by fellow Audi driver and pole sitter Nico Müller (SUI), who had already scored a commanding win in the race on Saturday and had been dominating throughout the weekend. The start was a trouble-free affair for the Swiss as well: Müller had a good getaway from first place on the grid and was able to keep the opposition from Frijns and Rast at bay. The tables turned as Müller came in for his mandatory pit stop on lap eleven. Frijns came in only one lap later and went on to drive one fast lap after another at the now 5.148 kilometres long Grand Prix track, used for a DTM race event for the first time since 2001 and providing a lot of joy for the drivers. Müller, meanwhile, had to cope more and more with a technical issue on his Audi RS 5 DTM and first was overtaken by Frijns and then by three other fellow Audi drivers. The points’ leader only finished fifth.
Sheldon van der Linde best-placed BMW driver
Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) also showed a strong performance. The winner of the Sunday race at Assen one week ago crossed the finish line in sixth place and thus ended up as the best-placed BMW driver. His fellow BMW drivers Timo Glock (GER), Philipp Eng (GER) and Jonathan Aberdein (RSA) staged entertaining position fights in the midfield, but they were never in a position to close the gap to the group of the frontrunners that was dominated by Audi.
After the tenth of this season’s 18 races, Nico Müller retains his commanding lead in the drivers’ standings at 195 points. His rival Frijns (176) reduced the gap to Müller to 29 points as a result of his second DTM race win. René Rast (159 points) is third from Duval (85), Rockenfeller (79) and van der Linde (72). DTM action already continues next weekend (18-20 September), once again at the Nürburgring, but then at the 3.6 kilometres long sprint configuration.
“This victory does feel different from my maiden DTM race win a week ago. At Assen, I was fighting for victory until the finish. Today, I had a clear run once I was ahead of Nico Müller. Nevertheless, I saved my tyres, because I didn’t know what would still happen in the closing stages. In the opening part, I was able to keep up with Nico, we more or less had a similar pace. After the pit stop, I noticed quickly that Nico no longer had the usual top speed. Then, I had no problems getting past. Our Abt team is doing nothing differently, but this weekend, Nico and I obviously had an advantage. ”
Robin Frijns (NED), Audi RS 5 DTM, winner
» Highlight clip – race 2, Nürburgring Grand Prix