DTM – Victorious Müller turns up the heat in DTM title fight

Switzerland’s Nico Müller narrowed Rene Rast’s DTM championship lead down to just 14 points after scoring a hugely significant win at the Lausitzring. Pole-sitter Rast (209 points) had led the opening stages of the race, but was forced to park his Audi RS5 DTM with a mechanical issue, allowing Müller (195 points) to lead home his Abt Sportsline team-mate Robin Frijns (NED) and Mike Rockenfeller (GER). Rast’s failure to score also meant that leading BMW driver Marco Wittman (GER, 159 points) also remains in title contention, alongside fellow BMW driver Philipp Eng (AUT, 139), and Audi drivers Rockenfeller (123) and Frijns (111).

The decisive moment in the race came on lap seven: Rast had started to gradually extend his lead when he suddenly slowed at the exit of Turn Three. In close pursuit, Müller was able to quickly swerve around the slowing Audi, successfully defending from Wittmann, who was looking to take advantage of the confusion. Rast pulled his car off the track, appearing to suffer from a lack of power, but was able to briefly rejoin at the back of the field before the problem returned – this time terminally – forcing him to pull his car into the garage. From that moment, Müller assumed control of the race, managing the gap back to his team-mate, and the late-charging Rockenfeller.

Wittmann gets back into the fight

After a disappointing Race Two at Brands Hatch earlier this month, Wittmann made huge strides at the start, capitalising on a slow getaway from front-row starter Jamie Green (GBR), and Frijns, who was boxed in behind the Briton into Turn One. Green kept the pressure on, and looked set to feature in the battle for the lead at the end of the race until he received a drive-through penalty for an unsafe pit-stop release. The delay ultimately dropped him to 10th. After his stop, Wittmann’s challenge slowly faded, and he was unable to keep the early-stopping Frijns and Rockenfeller at bay; the pair each working their way past the BMW with some enjoyably entertaining overtaking manoeuvres.

A stint in the lead, but no points for Aston

Aston Martin raised pulses as Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Paul Di Resta (GBR) and Ferdinand von Habsburg (AUT) raced each other three abreast into the medium-speed esses at the end of the back straight – luckily without contact. During the mid-race tyre-stops, von Habsburg ran at the front before electing to make his mandatory stop with just a handful of laps remaining. Ultimately, the R-Motorsport nsquad arrowly missed out on points: Jake Dennis (GBR), Juncadella and Di Resta finishing in 11th to 13th positions respectively.

Quotes – race 1, Lausitzring

“Of course, I’m very happy: this was an important result for us today. This victory is great for the guys and the 1-2-3 for Audi is really valuable, too. Once I was in the lead, I was able to pull a slight gap and manage my tyres really well. My second stint seemed extraordinarily long. When René (Rast) suddenly slowed, it was quite close, but I somehow managed to find a way around him. These points are an important step, everything is open again. Now, I want to close the gap further tomorrow.” – Nico Müller, winner

“Initially, I had a good pace, but at the end, I still had to fight hard. The key to second place was my overtaking move on Marco (Wittmann). I knew I only had one shot at it and I took it. It was a nice manoeuvre. My car wasn’t perfect – we can still improve in that area, as I would still like to move up into third or fourth in the championship standings.” – Robin Frijns, 2nd place

“Towards the end of the race, I had the fresher tyres, and that paid off. The two situations with Marco (Wittmann) were hard, but fair. The first time, I pulled back. Fortunately, the contact wasn’t a problem. On the second attempt, I then braked slightly later and made it through.” – Mike Rockenfeller, 3rd place

Wow fact – race 1, Lausitzring

25

When the DTM lights go out on Sunday, the Lausitzring is celebrating a special occasion. It is the 25th DTM race at the race track located between Berlin and Dresden. As a result, the Lausitzring is moving up into fourth place on the list of race tracks to have hosted the most DTM races, behind the classics Hockenheim, Nürburgring and Norisring. In 2000, a couple of month after the opening of the track that was called EuroSpeedway at the time, both DTM races were rained out after heavy downpours. In 2005, the DTM even had two events in the Lausitz. Since last season, the DTM has been using the longer track configuration (4.534 km) of the Lausitzring that has been owned by expertise organisation and DTM partner DEKRA since November 2017. With three wins at Lausitzring, Jamie Green is the most successful driver in the current field.

Regulations at a glance

Safety

The 2019 technical regulations mean that DTM drivers are surrounded by a combination of a safety cage and common monocoque in the cockpit. Every DTM car is also equipped with crash elements on both sides, which are there to absorb as much energy as possible in a collision. Drivers must also wear the HANS (“Head and Neck Support”) system. The DTM cars also have a roof hatch that can be removed from the outside to gain access to the driver after an accident.

The DTM safety standards are unique in touring car racing and have regularly proven their worth after major collisions. A new knee protector for drivers has also been added for 2019. The cockpit volume has been defined: The transmission unit is now separated from the cockpit by a firewall to improve protection in case of fire. A camera system has been installed to replace the standard rear-view mirror.

And then, there was …

… a motorsport trip down memory lane for Timo Glock. On Saturday, the BMW works driver completed a few show laps behind the wheel of a 1988 BMW M3 (E30). During the Lausitzring race weekend, the ex-Zakspeed DTM car will be competing in the Tourenwagen Classics races as an entry from the Team 2.0 Automotive with ex-DTM drivers Marc Hessel and Christian Menzel alternating as the drivers.

Press release DTM

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