A rather poor start, but a brilliant comeback: with a brave strategy, René Rast (GER) claimed his third win of the season at the Norisring. In the DTM race on Saturday at the street circuit in Nuremberg, the 2017 DTM champion started third, but dropped to the back of the field after stalling his engine. Then, however, he made clever use of an early safety car intervention for a tactical move that saw him move up into the lead. DTM newcomer Aston Martin also shone. Daniel Juncadella (ESP) temporarily ran in fourth place in a turbulent and action-packed race and eventually finished sixth in the first race of the weekend.
Meanwhile, Nico Müller (SUI, Audi) and Joel Eriksson (SWE, BMW) battled for the remaining podium slots. After a highly entertaining duel over many laps, the order was only decided in the final corner when pole-sitter Müller worked his way past Eriksson, who had been running in second place for a long time. Loïc Duval (FRA, Audi) finished fourth, Bruno Spengler (CDN, BMW) came fifth.
Curse finally broken: First Norisring points with victory in Nuremberg
It was René Rast who wrote the story of the day. Prior to the first race at the Norisring between Dutzendteich and Alpha hairpin, he hadn’t scored any points at the venue during his DTM career. Today, Rast broke his curse in an impressive way. With his third win, the championship leader extends his margin in the drivers’ standings and did so with the most dominant victory in DTM history at the Norisring: at the finish line, his margin was 34.4 seconds. In 2014, Robert Wickens (CDN, Mercedes-Benz) had won, 23.906 seconds ahead of Jamie Green (GBR, Audi).
“In spite of the poor start, we kept cool today and we made good use of the early safety car intervention. We had a good pace and then were able to dominate the race at the front of the field. The car was perfect throughout, a really big thank you to my team. All in all: my bad at the start, but luck with the safety car.”
Quotes – race 1, Norisring
René Rast, winner : “In spite of the poor start, we kept cool today and we made good use of the early safety car intervention. We had a good pace and then were able to dominate the race at the front of the field. The car was perfect throughout, a really big thank you to my team. All in all: my bad at the start, but luck with the safety car.”
Nico Müller, 2nd place : “Of course, I wasn’t happy with the safety car intervention. I had a good start, everything was going well, but the neutralisation destroyed it all. Then, we tried to get the maximum from our strategy. At the end, it was really crucial for me to still catch Joel Eriksson. I succeeded and that was my personal highlight of the day.”
Joel Eriksson, 3rd place : “At the start, I was hit a few times. As usual at the Norisring, it was quite intense. After the restart, I had some space in front of me and behind me and I drove my own race. At the end, I really enjoyed the battle with Nico Müller, that is always fair. I am not too disappointed to have lost second place just before the finish. It means I will simply get my revenge in tomorrow’s race.”
Press release DTM ; picture Audrey Perriard/Sport-Auto.ch