DTM – Rubber Soul: Rockenfeller wins tyre thriller in Assen

Mike Rockenfeller’s sensational victory in Sunday’s DTM race at Assen earned the German his first victory since Zandvoort 2017.

Central to the Audi driver’s success was his careful management of Hankook tyres, making a single stop for fresh rubber and eking them out to the end as the whole field struggled with tyres that thrillingly toppled over the cliff-edge.

Marco Wittmann (GER, BMW) and Nico Müller (SUI, Audi) aped his strategy, finishing second and third to consolidate their championship chances. Wittmann, yesterday’s winner, sensationally charged through the field from last place on the grid after mechanical issues halted him in qualifying this morning.

Today’s result enabled Müller and Wittmann to eat into points leader René Rast’s advantage. Nevertheless, the German put in a spirited drive in the closing stages after fitting fresh rubber and ensure he dropped as few points to his rivals as possible.

Today’s pole-sitter was fifth over the line, despite dropping as far back as 13th after fitting fresh rubber with just eight laps remaining. Fourth place went to impressive rookie driver Jonathan Aberdein (RSA, Audi).

Daniel Juncadella (ESP) crowned a strong performance for R-Motorsport Aston Martin with seventh place. The Spaniard was another to benefit from careful tyre management. In the closing stages, he mounted a challenge on local hero Robin Frijns (NED, Audi), but couldn’t quite make it stick. Both were also forced to submit to a charging René Rast just a few corners from the chequer.

Rast & the rest: German builds 22-point margin ahead of Brands Hatch

After the first DTM event at the TT Circuit in Assen, René Rast remains in the lead of the drivers’ standings with 158 points – 22 ahead of fellow Audi driver Nico Müller. Saturday race winner Marco Wittmann has 118 points, Philipp Eng (AUT, BMW) sits on 111. With his victory at Assen on Sunday, Mike Rockenfeller moves up to 94 points.

Quotes – race 2, Assen

“It’s my first time in Assen and I’ve been hugely impressed. On Saturday evening, I did a lap of the track, and have to say: I don’t understand why Formula 1 isn’t racing here. It’s one of the best circuits I’ve ever seen: high-speed corners, high safety standards, a vast paddock, large grandstands, huge parkings with a good infrastructure and a good organisation; a state-of-the-art facility. Just perfect. I’ve been positively surprised by everything. And the promoter has made a huge effort and done a great deal of promotion ahead of the event. That has definitely paid off. We experienced a great debut for DTM at Assen.”Gerhard Berger, Chairman ITR e. V.

“I’m over the moon! The DTM is one of the world’s most challenging race series – and yesterday, we ended up in the lower midfield with the same set-up; but today, we were at the front. I had a great qualifying session and made a good start to the race. I knew that it would be all about tyre management today. I tried to save them as much as I could – and that paid off. When the gap to the drivers behind me increased, I paid attention to every noise in the car. Therefore, I was happy when I saw the chequered flag.”Mike Rockenfeller, winner

“Of course, qualifying was a disappointment after the good results on Saturday. From last on the grid, my hopes for a good result weren’t particularly high because overtaking is difficult here at Assen. However, after the opening lap, I was up to 10th or 11th place and was able to quickly work my way up to sixth. But then I got stuck behind the Audis – that’s why we stopped early and attempted the undercut. It worked out, then after that it was all about tyre management.”Marco Wittmann, 2nd place

“This DTM season is remarkable. Today, tyre management was the key to success. For me, it was on the limit as well, but it worked out. At the end, I would’ve liked to attack a bit more and fight harder with Marco. However, I was losing pressure in my right rear tyre and didn’t want to take any risks, so I stayed away from the kerbs. I wanted to keep the pressure up, but at the same time not risk too much. At the end of the day, I am really happy with third place.”Nico Müller, 3rd place

Wow fact – race 2, Assen

11,765

The evolution of on-board computers: it was exactly 50 years ago that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the ‘Eagle’ on the moon. The computer used in the ‘Eagle’ was a trailblazer of current top-level IT. Even today, many basic hard- and software philosophies are based on this pioneering effort. When comparing the computing power at that time – 85,000 operations per second – with today’s technology, huge development steps become apparent: in terms of calculating power, the standard ECU by Bosch would be able to handle 11,765 moon landings at the same time. An additional strength of the Bosch ECU: instead of the 32 kg of weight of the onboard computer in the ‘Eagle’, the standard DTM parts from Bosch are only 1,600g light, and at least just as sturdy.

Regulations at a glance

Engines

The engine regulations represent the most important change made to the technical rules for 2019. The naturally-aspirated four-litre V8 engines have been replaced by two-litre turbo engines. At full throttle, the energy quantity is restricted to a maximum of 95 kilograms of fuel per hour (100 kg/h when using push-to-pass) to limit power delivery at full throttle. Despite this much-reduced energy quantity, the power output remains enormous: The engineers achieve over 610 hp (around 450 kW), plus an additional 30 hp when using push-to-pass, from a cubic capacity of two litres. This corresponds to a power to weight ratio of 1.6 kg per horsepower – the best in the history of the DTM.

And then, there was …

… a special occasion for René Rast. On Sunday at Assen, the Audi driver competed in his 50th DTM race. His track record is impressive: 13 wins and therefore one victory in every fourth race. None of the current drivers has a better rate. Only in the 16 most recent DTM races, Rast picked up the biggest trophy on nine occasions.

Press release DTM

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