(Motorsport-Total.com) – Audi driver Rene Rast is the king of Zolder and is the clear favorite in the 2020 DTM season finale at Hockenheim at the beginning of November. The reigning champion also won the second race on Sunday in Zolder and thus won four races on the Belgian race track within nine days. At the same time, Rast broke Mattias Ekström’s record with his 23rd DTM victory for Audi.
Rene Rast extends his lead in the championship to 19 points Zoom
Second place went to Rast’s first rival in the championship, Nico Müller, who will be driving to Hockenheim 19 points behind the defending champion. Third place was surprisingly secured by BMW driver Robert Kubica, who was able to celebrate the first podium of his DTM career.
“I still can’t really believe that we won the race today,” said Rast. “So much spoke against us. If it had been a normal race, Nico would have had better cards. So many factors came together, so everything went well for us.”
Frijns is innocently torn from the race
The tragic hero of the race was Robin Frijns, who was pulled out of the race innocently on lap two. The collision was triggered by BMW driver Joanthan Aberdein, who completely misjudged himself in an attack on Fabio Scherer before Turn 8 and crashed into the rear of the Swiss WRT-Audi with a lot of excess. He spun off the track and cleared the completely surprised Frijns in the chicane.
“I had a really bad start and fell behind Scherer, who had some problems with the tires on the first laps. He made a few mistakes. And when he made another, I overtook him at the exit of the first chicane”, says Frijns. “The next thing I saw was a slap on the side. That was it.”
Frijns wrote off the dream of a DTM title after the retirement: “There are still two races and if you’re 20 or 30 points behind, it’s ‘mission impossible’.” In fact, Frijns is 41 points behind Rast.
Almost everything went according to plan for Rast on Sunday. Having started from second place, he had to line up behind pole setter Ferdinand Habsburg in the first corner despite an attack. Behind them, Müller improved from fifth to third with a good start.
Overcut puts Rast in front during the pit stop
Habsburg also initially retained the lead on two re-starts after the early safety car phases (once because of the Aberdein-Scherer-Frijns collision, once because of a collision between Benoit Treluyer, Lucas Auer and Philipp Eng shortly after the first restart).
The decision in the fight for victory was made during the mandatory pit stops. Habsburg and Müller pitted on lap 13, Rast one lap later. And the overcut was successful in this case. Rast came back on the track before Habsburg and was lucky that Mike Rockenfeller came out before Habsburg and Müller and stopped both.
After both found their way past Rockenfeller, there was a real excitement on lap 15. Jamie Green came onto the track after his pit stop just before Müller and defended himself as hard as a rock, perhaps in an effort to give his Rosberg team-mate Rast support.
Grenn brings Müller to white heat
In a chicane, Green drove straight ahead, which is why he was instructed by the race management to swap places with Müller. Until this announcement came, the Audis of the two touched each other lightly, which not only made Abt team boss Thomas Biermaier, but also Müller riot on the pit radio: “This guy is a damn idiot”, the Swiss raged in the direction of his brand colleague.
Even after the race, Müller was still frustrated by Green’s action. “He was on cold tires, shortened the chicane and was the only way to keep his position. And then blocked me quite aggressively. He drove into the car twice,” said the Swiss. “I have to say unnecessary, and that among brand colleagues.”
While Rast pulled away from the front and ultimately drove safely towards victory, Müller overtook Habsburg on lap 27 and thus secured second place. Habsburg got slower and slower in the final phase and had to let Kubica go a lap later.
First DTM podium for Robert Kubica
The Pole was the big surprise of the race and celebrated his first podium after a difficult DTM season so far. The former Formula 1 driver was the last driver to pit on lap 19, making him the private ART team of the best BMW in the car.
Behind Kubica, Timo Glock (BMW), Green, Rockenfeller, Sheldon van der Linde, Marco Wittmann (both BMW) and Harrison Newey (WRT-Audi) crossed the finish line. Habsburg finished tenth after a second pit stop, making him the last driver to see the checkered flag.
In addition to the crash around Frijns, another incident with three drivers involved caused a safety car phase in the early stages of the race. First, at Turn 1, Benoit Treluyer, who is replacing Loic Duval at Phoenix-Audi this weekend, drove BMW driver Lucas Auer into the rear. In turn 4, Auer ran into a clash with his compatriot and brand colleague Philipp Eng.
Auer’s right front suspension was damaged, and Eng’s left front suspension was damaged. As a result, Eng’s car found fire and had to be extinguished by the marshals. Another safety car phase was the result. Here, too, the race was over for all three people involved in the accident.
The 2020 DTM season showdown will take place in two weeks (November 6th to 8th) at the final weekend at the Hockenheimring. The points at the top of the drivers’ standings: Rast 304, Müller 285, Frijns 263.
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