If the Saturday was hot in Misano, the Sunday was scorching, in the sixth round of DTM 2019.
Audi Sport was even more dominant in Sunday’s qualifying than in the qualifying for the Saturday’s race. Today they didn’t only claim the first four positions, but first to fifth were taken by Audi drivers: Rene Rast, Robin Frijns, Jonathan Aberdein, Nico Müller, and Pietro Fittipaldi.
Marco Wittmann celebrated his 100th race, but he had to be satisfied with P6. The four R-Motorsport Aston Martin cars would start from P15 to 18, with Jake Dennis as the highest qualified driver.
Guest driver Andrea Dovizioso started the race from P14 in Audi Sport car, which was well done by the Italian on his home track.
While Rast had an almost perfect start in the Saturday’s race, this time he had a bad one. So Frijns, Müller and Aberdein were all past the former DTM champion.
Rast was in the middle of climbing back up the field, and came three-man-wide through one of the corners, with Wittmann on the outside. It was costly for Wittmann, as the contact broke his steering.
Mike Rockenfeller, Timo Glock and Daniel Juncadella all pitted on the first lap, while van der Linde came in one lap later. All of them wanted to take a chance with an early pitstop, which so often had given Rast a victory – and Wittmann yesterday.
Glock had to roll the car to the garage on lap five, who by the way also celebrated his 100th race. What a bad day for the jubilees…
Di Resta must retire shortly afterwards. He parked the R-Motorsport car, but luckily it was far away from the track, so the Safety Car wasn’t necessary.
In just one and a half laps, Rast drove himself up from third to first, by overtaking Müller and Frijns. Duval was up in P4, while Aberdein was P5 – Audi 1-5 but in a slightly different order, and with different names than at the start of the race.
On lap 10, Müller went past Frijns, after that Duval was right behind the Dutchman.
It led to a contact between Duval and Frijns a couple of laps later, which sent Frijns around in a spin – and Duval got a drive-through penalty for the offence.
Philipp Eng was the first man to break the Audi dominance, when he dived past Aberdein for P4.
On lap 14 there was drama, when Rene rast got a puncture on his left rear tire. Luckily, it was only a few corners before the pits, so it didn’t cost him so much extra time.
Frijns put van der Linde under pressure, but the Audi had overtaken at the back straight, and Joel Eriksson was the next target.
Out of the drivers who had pitted for the first time, Fittipaldi was the one with the real lead. But Rast came lightning fast from behind, and drove past Eng as if the Austrian held still. After that the German only had a few seconds up to his Brazilian teammate.
Fittipaldi couldn’t keep Rast behind him, and lost a further place to Eng just one corner later.
Müller surprised the others and came out in front after his pitstop. And Rast had to start chasing his green Audi teammate.
Eng got himself past Rast with a beautiful overtake, which was a little susprising, since Audi had been totally dominant until then.
About ten minutes before the end, Dovizioso did not just a 360 degree but almost 720 degree spin, when he lost control of the Audi RS 5 DTM. He could continue the race but fell back to the last position.
Frijns overtook Fittipaldi with four minutes left, and went up to fourth.
Aberdein and Eriksson had a close duel for sixth place. The two had battled earlier in the race, but Eriksson closed up on the South African yet again.
Nico Müller won the race in front of Philipp Eng and Rene Rast. Robin Frijns and Pietro Fittipaldi fought for P4 all the way to the finish line, but it went to the Dutchman. Joel Eriksson went past Jonathan Aberdein on the very last lap, while Ferdinand Habsburg was the best Aston Martin driver in P12, less than a second from Mike Rockenfeller in P10 – with Loic Duval between them.
Rene Rast leads the championship ahead of Philipp Eng, Nico Müller, Marco Wittmann and Mike Rockenfeller.
Audi Sport Team Rosberg is the best team so far, followed by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, BMW Team RMG and BMW Team RMR.
The teams now have a one-month break, before the street circuit Norisring will welcome the 18 DTM drivers on the first weekend in July.