Unlike the DTM race on Saturday, the teams were greeted by dry asphalt for the Sunday race.
Philipp Eng had taken Pole Position ahead of yesterday’s winner, Marco Wittmann. Robin Frijns was the best non-BMW driver in P3, right in front of his teammate Nico Müller, while we had to go down to P14 to find the best Aston Martin in the shape of Daniel Juncadella.
Rene Rast would start the race all the way back in P16 due to technical problems in qualifying, where the car suddenly stopped during one of his quick laps, and he had to set the gear in neutral and then slowly crawled back to the pits. The team could luckily solve the problem, so the 2017 champion could participate in the race.
Philipp Eng had a perfect start and already built up a big gap, when the cars came to Turn 1. This year the cars don’t have Launch Control or other electronic aids like in previous seasons, and the drivers have to control the start themselves using the clutch.
Marco Wittmann didn’t release the clutch at the right time and fell back to P4, as Nico Müller and Timo Glock drove past. Robin Frijns fell back to seventh place after starting from P3.
Rene Rast came up to P13 after the first two laps.
Mike Rockenfeller had technical problems with the car as he suddenly drove slowly on the track. He got the car back to the pits but had to retire.
Loic Duval dug himself into the gravel in Sachs Kurve, and had to be pulled free with a tow truck.
With a risk of a Safety Car period, Paul Di Resta chose to pit, in the hope for an advantage later in the race when everyone else had to pit.
The Safety Car was deployed, and Rast also chose to pit. He lost some positions, but he was ready with fresh tires for the restart.
The race got restarted with a rolling start, where the cars drove side-by-side. Müller stayed on the outside in Turn 1, but he had to merge back behind Eng after using too much of the run-off area.
Behind them there were plenty of battles, where they drove three to four cars next to each other. Sheldon van der Linde was one of the losers as he got spun around by Jamie Green. Green got a drive-through penalty for the offence.
One lap later, Marco Wittmann got a push on the hairpin, which sent him back to the last position. Pietro Fittipaldi was the one responsible, and he got the same penalty as Green.
Rene Rast was on the move to get ahead, and he was quickly up to P4 on fresh tires. His progress continued, and two laps later he took the lead of the race!
Frijns fought past Bruno Spengler, in the battle for P4.
Six laps later, Eng also lost second place to Frijns, who had overtook Müller.
A few laps afterwards, both Eng and Müller pitted, and the Audi mechanics were a tad quicker than BMW, so the two of them swapped positions.
Jonathan Aberdein lost a lot of time during his pitstop, as he had problems with getting the car going again after the stop. Thus, he fell back to la
Rast pitted for the second time after 22 laps, where he left the pits with a huge gap to the followers. With his early pitstop, Paul Di Resta was now in front of the field, but he had to beware of Rast who was lightning fast behind him.
Robin Frijns outbraked himself when he came out of the pits on cold tires. He only lost a couple of seconds with the slightly alternative route.
R-Motorsport chose to call Paul Di Resta to pit one more time since his tires were done. So from P1 to P12 with just one pitstop. But Aston Martin got their five minutes of fame when he led the race.
Frijns and Spengler fought for fourth place, where the Dutchman got past the Canadian. The next target, Philipp Eng, was seven seconds further ahead, so could he manage to overtake him in seven laps?
Joel Eriksson, Jake Dennis and Paul Di Resta battled for the last three places in the points, where the two Aston Martin got past the lonely BMW.
Three laps before finish, Frijns drove past Eng with a little help of DRS.
Di Resta came up to P7 after overtaking Marco Wittmann.
Daniel Juncadella had to retire with two laps left, due to a technical problem.
Jamie Green was on the hunt for the last point, and he was right behind Eriksson, whom he overtook on the very last lap.
But nobody could touch Rene Rast in front, who was followed by Nico Müller and Robin Frijns in P2 and P3, making it to a sole Audi party. Afterwards, there were Philipp Eng, Bruno Spengler and Timo Glock with three BMWs, before Paul Di Resta who was the best Aston Martin driver in P7.
Marco Wittmann leads the championship, ahead of Robin Frijns, Rene Rast, Nico Müller and Mike Rockenfeller – yes, Wittmann is the only BMW driver in top five.
Unsurprisingly, Audi leads the constructors’ championship, in front of BMW and Aston Martin.
The next round of DTM will be run in fourteen days at Zolder track, in Belgium.