Nurburgring DTM: Frijns wins from Rast as Muller spins

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Robin Frijns survived three safety car interventions to win the opening DTM race at the Nurburgring, as championship leader Nico Muller recovered from an early spin to finish fifth.

Frijns made a good launch from second on the grid to take the lead into Turn 1, while polesitter Rene Rast survived attacks from Muller and BMW’s Marco Wittmann to hold second position.

Frijns had managed to build a lead of over a second by the time the safety car was deployed for the first time to recover debris from the final corner after a double contact between Loic Duval and Timo Glock.

The safety car peeled into the pits after just two laps, with Frijns doing enough to hold the lead from Rast. However, Muller got sandwiched by the BMWs of Wittmann and Philipp Eng and was then unlucky to be hit by Audi stablemate Jamie Green, the contact pitching him into a spin and dropping him to the rear of the pack.

At front, Frijns extended his advantage over Rast, with Eng and Wittmann running in third and fourth for BMW.

On lap 16 the safety car had to be deployed again after Duval locked the wheels of his Audi going into Turn 5 and headed straight into the barriers, although he was able to rejoin the race later on.

The safety car intervention gave all leading drivers the opportunity to complete their pitstops, with Wittmann jumping one place ahead of Eng, who had stopped just prior to Duval’s crash on lap 15.

Muller was also a big beneficiary from the incident and moved up to sixth, having made his stop early on lap 8 and run in clear air thereafter.

At the restart, Frijns again managed to hold onto the lead, while Wittmann went around the outside of Rast into Turn 2 to complete a brilliant move for second position.

Racing had barely resumed when the safety car had to be deployed for a third time after WRT driver Fabio Scherer was launched into the path of a lapped Duval after hitting the BMW of Lucas Auer.

Both the Audis of Scherer and Duval took heavy damage in the incident and retired from the race, leaving 14 cars for the sprint to the finish.

Frijns made another characteristically quick getaway at the restart to stay first, while Rast managed to snatch back second position from Wittmann after diving down the inside of the BMW driver into Turn 1.

Rast managed to close the gap to 0.5s in the final few laps of the race, but that wasn’t enough to prevent Frijns from securing his third victory of the season.

Wittmann bagged his third podium finish of the season in third, while Eng secured his best result of the campaign in fourth.

Muller eventually crossed the line in fifth in what was a race of damage limitation for the championship leader following his early spin at the first restart.

Jonathan Aberdein was classified sixth for BMW, while Ferdinand Habsburg again finished as the top WRT Audi driver in seventh. Sheldon van der Linde (BMW), Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) and Timo Glock (BMW) rounded out the points scorers.

Formula 1 convert Robert Kubica (ART BMW) was last of the classified finishers in 13th after being hit with a drive through penalty for not following the correct restart procedure.

Following the first of the two Nurburgring sprint layout races, Frijns has slashed Muller’s championship lead to just 13 points, with Rast sitting a further 23 points behind in third.

Race results:

Cla # Driver Car Gap
1 4 Netherlands Robin Frijns Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020  
2 33 Germany René Rast Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 0.660
3 11 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 1.573
4 25 Austria Philipp Eng BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 2.984
5 51 Switzerland Nico Müller Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 4.743
6 27 South Africa Jonathan Aberdein BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 5.211
7 62 Austria Ferdinand Habsburg Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 8.513
8 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 8.846
9 99 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 14.970
10 16 Germany Timo Glock BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 17.292
11 10 United Kingdom Harrison Newey Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 17.900
12 22 Austria Lucas Auer BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 19.353
13 8 Poland Robert Kubica BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 37.027
14 53 United Kingdom Jamie Green Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 6 Laps
15 13 Switzerland Fabio Scherer Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 19 Laps
16 28 France Loic Duval Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 20 Laps
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About this article

Series DTM
Event Nurburgring Sprint
Drivers Robin Frijns
Teams Team Abt
Author Rachit Thukral