It was an Audi dominated Sunday, when round twelve of this year’s DTM season was run at British Brands Hatch.
All eight Audi drivers were 1-8 on the starting grid, with Rene Rast fastest ahead of Loic Duval, Robin Frijns, Jamie Green, Mike Rockenfeller, Nico Müller, Pietro Fittipaldi and Jonathan Aberdein. Philipp Eng was the best BMW driver in P9, before Daniel Juncadella qualified R-Motorsport Aston Martin in P10.
Loic Duval had the best start and came out first in Turn 1, in front of Rast and Green. Rast was let past halfway through the first lap, so he could pull away in front.
Joel Eriksson’s car was really unstable on full tank, where the bottom brushed against the small bumps on the asphalt. It caused him to fall back to last position.
Nico Müller also got past Duval, so the two championship leaders slowly but surely built a gap to all the others. It’s seldom that a brand has all their cars ahead of the competitors, so it is important to use it to their advantage as much as they can.
Jamie Green got a five-second time penalty for not lining up correctly on the starting grid. Such a shame for the Brit, but rules are rules, even on the home ground.
Eriksson was the first person to pit, already on the second lap due to a puncture. Bruno Spengler went in on lap five and Jamie Green on lap seven.
Wittmann pitted after nine laps and thus had forty two minutes left of the race. It was very risky to pit him so early, unless the team had decided to do a two-stop strategy, since the German’s tires were totally done in the race yesterday..
Rene Rast, Nico Müller and Jonathan Aberdein came in two laps later, making sure they could defend themselves against Wittmann. They came out ahead of the BMW driver, but all three of them were on cold tires, which made it easy for Wittmann to catch up behind Müller. But he couldn’t manage to get past.
Duval came out of the pits in front of Müller, but with the warmer tires Müller could easily drive past the Frenchman.
Bruno Spengler had a technical problem with the car, so he went to the pits and retire.
Joel Eriksson retired halfway through the race, where the Swede parked the BMW right by the pit entry, but luckily it was far enough from the track, so a Safety Car wasn’t necessary.
Philipp Eng was the last person to pit amongst the leaders, and came out in P9 behind Wittmann. There were, however, still two R-Motorsport Aston Martin that hadn’t pitted, but they will fall back down the field once they did.
Pietro Fittipaldi had a tour through the grass in Paddock Hill Bend, but he could come back to the track by himself.
The race director called for a Slow Zone, so that they could remove Eriksson’s car. Marco Wittmann then chose to pit for new tires, in the hope for getting more speed towards the end, when the others would drive with old tires.
After everyone had pitted and the field was back to full speed, it was Rene Rast who led, ahead of Müller, Frijns, Duval and Rockenfeller, while Eng was the BMW in P6. Eng worked himself past Rocky and set his sight on Duval.
Eng tried to overtake Duval, but the Frenchman slammed the door close. There was a bit of contact between the two cars. Eng did another attempt on the next lap, with DRS and everything, but he still couldn’t make it through. Duval also could use his DRS to defend himself, that was why the BMW driver couldn’t drive past.
Jamie Green also chose to pit for the second time, since he got nothing to lose. But there was a limit of how much he could achieve in the last ten minutes of the race, when he was nearly a minute after top nine.
Four minutes before the race ended, the two South Africans Sheldon van der Linde and Jonathan Aberdein had a duel for seventh place. Aberdein lost the duel when he spun and had to continue the race in P13.
Rene Rast took the victory home without any problem, with his Audi teammates Nico Müller, Robin Frijns and Loic Duval behind him, before Philipp Eng in P5 as the best BMW. Mike Rockenfeller and Sheldon van der Linde finished in front of Daniel Juncadella, who was the best R-Motorsport Aston Martin driver in P8.
With Philipp Eng in P5 and Marco Wittmann in P10, Audi Sport has pretty much secured the DTM title. Rene Rast has 206 point, ahead of Nico Müller with 169, Marco Wittmann with 147 point and Philipp Eng på 129 point. It means that Rast almost could skip a whole weekend, while Wittmann had to score maximum points including Pole Position – and he only has three more race weekends to do that.
The next round of DTM 2019 will be run in two weeks’ time at Lausitzring.