Surprising Sunday dominance at Norisring

It was yet another exciting race day, when the DTM series for the second day in a row drove at the classical Norisring.

Audi had overtaken the qualifying, where the winner from yesterday, Rene Rast, was on Pole Position ahead of Nico Müller and Loic Duval. Philipp Eng, Bruno Spengler and Sheldon van der Linde were next, before Jamie Green in P7. In fact, Green was the second best in the quali, but he got a five-grid penalty for ignoring a red flag during qualifying. Mike Rockenfeller and Jake Dennis got the same penalty and thus had to start from P11 and 18.

Timo Glock caused the red flag, when a propshaft on his car was broken. He didn’t manage to come out to the grid either, but was allowed to start from the pitlane.

They went three-man wide in Turn 1, where Rast, Duval and Müller fought side by side and completely outbraked each other. Bruno Spengler used that to his advantage and took the lead.

In Turn 2, Müller tilted his teammate Rast around – something the stewards would certainly look into. And sure enough, a drive-through penalty for Müller.

Loic Duval, Joel Eriksson, Jake Dennis, Pietro Fittipaldi and Rene Rast pitted already after the first lap, hoping a Safety Car period would send them to the front of the field.

Paul Di Resta
Photo: JJ Media

Paul Di Resta had a brake problem in Turn 4, which allowed both Ferdinand Habsburg and Daniel Juncadella to get past.

Spengler led the race in front of his teammate Philipp Eng, while Audi driver Robin Frijns was third.

There was still uncertainty among the drivers who already had pitted, where Duval was leading in front of Eriksson, Green and Glock. Could they drive past the others when they finally did their pitstop?

Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Wittmann had a long battle for fourth place, which Rockenfeller won with about half an hour left.

Spengler and Eng pitted with 29 minutes left of the race, and Spengler came out in front of Jamie Green, who drove past Loic Duval a few metres before. Eng came out behind all three of them.

Frijns and Wittmann pitted a couple of minutes later and came out in P9 and 11 – with some drivers in front of them yet to pit.

Mike Rockenfeller was one of the last to pit and did it from the lead, and merged back out in seventh place, which he eventually lost to Frijns in Turn 1 when the German outbraked himself.

Green was shadowing Spengler in the real duel for the lead, but at the same time the drivers had to be cautious about rain showers on their windscreen, while Duval had a bit of distance from top two.

Rene Rast was slowly but surely closing up to top ten again, and he had his sight set on the four BMW drivers in front of him, with twenty minutes left.

Duval began go lose speed and he got overtaken by both Eng and Frijns, who were on fresher tires.

Bruno Spengler
Photo: JJ Media

Paul Di Resta retired with 18 minutes left when the Scot had to park the car in the garage.

Rast drove himself up to top ten by overtaking Eriksson from the outside in Turn 1.

Eng hang on in third place with all his might, but Frijns didn’t stop trying to overtake from the outside and inside. The two fought so hard that Rockenfeller in P5 began to close up on them. After trying for several laps, Frijns finally made it past, with fifteen minutes to go.

With a help of DRS, Rocky came up to fourth.

Rast was up to P9 and sliced through the field like a hot knife through butter.

Sheldon van der Linde had to park the BMW in Turn 1 due to technical problems. Luckily, he could move it from the run-off area, so a SC situation was avoided.

Müller also drove himself up back to the points and followed Rast through the field.

Robin Frijns
Photo: JJ Media

Wittmann went past his teammate Eng in the duel for fifth place. At the same time, the two Audi teammates Frijns and Rockenfeller came close to each other, in the battle for the last spot on the podium. Six minutes before finish, Rocky slipped past.

Wittmann, however, had to retire with three minutes left due to a technical problem.

Bruno Spengler was the first to cross the chequered flag with a nice gap down to Jamie Green in P2, and Mike Rockenfeller in third. The Canadian led the race pretty much uninterrupted from Turn 1 to the finish –  only by the drivers who hadn’t pitted. A convincing show from Spengler.

Championship leader Rene Rast finished in P7 and collected some valuable points.

Rene Rast still leads the championship, ahead of Nico Müller, Philipp Eng, Bruno Spengler, Marco Wittmann, Mike Rockenfeller, Loic Duval and Robin Frijns. Eng, Spengler and Wittmann are the only non-Audi in top nine.

Audi Sport Team Rosberg is leading the team championship, in front of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and BMW Team RMG, while Audi leads the constructor championship ahead of BMW and Aston Martin.

The next DTM race will be run in Assen in the Netherlands in two weeks’ time.

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