Audi dominance with a twist

The weather was the opposite of yesterday for the second DTM race in Assen, where the asphalt was bone dry for the tenth round of the season.

Rene Rast led an Audi dominant qualifying, followed Jonathan Aberdein, Mike Rockenfeller, Nico Müller and Robin Frijns. Sheldon van der Linde squeezed a BMW in front of Loic Duval in another Audi.

Daniel Juncadella was once again the best R-Motorsport Aston Martin driver, but like yesterday he was down to P14.

Yesterday’s winner Marco Wittmann would start the race for the last place, since he didn’t set any laptime in the qualifying due to a problem with the turbo.

Aberdein had a really bad start and was down to P8 in the first corner. On the other hand, Rast and Rockenfeller took off without problems.

Last in the field was Paul Di Resta, who had been through the gravel on the first lap.

Sheldon van der Linde and Loic Duval were in an intense duel for fourth place, but it ended up with Fittipaldi driving past Duval instead. The stewards looked into it and decided that van der Linde should give the place back to Duval, so Fittipaldi got a free position.

Wittmann was up to eleventh place after just two laps.

Sheldon van der Linde
Photo: JJ Media

Duval was the first person to pit, after six laps. Bruno Spengler pitted a couple of laps later.

Nine laps into the race, Wittmann was up to P6 – an impressive drive from the double DTM champion.

Jamie Green and Joel Eriksson pitted after twenty minutes, while Marco Wittmann went in at the twenty minute mark.

One lap afterwards, Nico Müller, van der Linde and Timo Glock all pitted. The pitstop was far from effective for Müller as the tire change took way too long.

Rast, Frijns, Fittipaldi and Eng chose to pit after 15 laps, which left Rockenfeller, Aberdein and Juncadella in top 3 – though without taking their pitstop.

Wittmann drove past Frijns with hotter tires and forced the Dutchman to make a mistake, so that he had to use the run-off area. Wittmann didn’t make it up to Rast, before the latter had warmed up his tires, thus he had to overtake him in the hard way.

Rocky pitted after 26 minutes and came out in P4, amongst the drivers who had pitted.

Rast overtook Duval easily as the Frenchman had much older tires. Straight away, Duval came under pressure from Wittmann, who also had seven laps fresher tires, and Wittman passed him without difficulty.

Both Bruno Spengler and Jake Dennis retired after twenty laps due to technical problems.

Duval must pit an extra time when he got a puncture, and was far away from the points.

Mike Rockenfeller
Photo: JJ Media

Rockenfeller put Wittmann under pressure, in the battle for second place. The 2013 champion pushed his fellow countryman hard and got past with sixteen minutes left on the clock.

Rocky was flying after overtaking Wittmann, and he quickly caught up with Rast in front. In just a couple of laps he was right behind Rast.

Rast had totally cooked his tires, and the team called him in to pit, likewise Sheldon van der Linde and Timo Glock also did.

The engine on Joel Eriksson’s BMW exploded on the start-finish straight, so the Swede had to pull to the side and park the car.

Philipp Eng also came in and got a new set of tires, with eight minutes left.

The fresh tires really worked for Rast as he quickly drove himself back in top ten.

Nico Müller had closed up to Marco Wittmann and put the BMW driver under pressure.

Aberdein also had newer tires than Frijns and could overtake the local hero easily, with just three minutes left of the race.

Mike Rockenfeller managed to nurture his tires and won the race in an impressive way, ahead of Marco Wittmann and Nico Müller.

Rene Rast delivered two fantastic overtakes on the very last lap, where he drove past both Robin Frijns and Daniel Juncadella, with a few corners left. So Rast finished fifth, right behind Jonathan Aberdein in P4, but in front of Frijns, Juncadella, Paul Di Resta, Jamie Green and Pietro Fittipaldi.

Rast keeps the lead in the championship, while Müller is getting closer, and Wittmann gets past Eng in the battle for third place.

The next race will be run on 10 – 11 August at Brands Hatch, as the last overseas race weekend for the DTM series in the 2019 season.

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