Nurburgring DTM: Points leader Muller takes dominant win
Audi driver Nico Muller claimed a lights-to-flag victory at the Nurburgring on Saturday to extend his lead at the top of the DTM standings.
Having claimed his first pole position since the third round at the Lausitzring, Muller made a clean start to lead reigning champion Rene Rast into Turn 1.
Rast initially kept Muller honest in the battle for the lead, the gap between the two staying within a second, but his pace began to fade further towards the end of the first stint, allowing the championship leader to pull a three-second advantage out front.
Muller was the first of the leaders to stop on lap 12 and emerged out in front with an extended eight-second advantage, which he managed to convert into a dominant 15s victory.
This was the Swiss driver’s fourth win in nine races and it puts him comfortably ahead of title rivals Robin Frijns and Rast - who enjoyed a race-long battle that was eventually settled in favour of Rast.
Frijns had passed Rast shortly before the pitstops with an aggressive move at Turn 3, but the reigning champion snatched back second position after Frijns returned on track on cold tyres after his own stop.
The two resumed their battle in the latter stages of the race, with Frijns appearing seemingly quicker of the two title rivals.
After an unsuccessful attempt at the Dunlop hairpin on lap 26, Frijns made a lunge down the inside of Rast heading into Turn 1 on the following l p,but ran over the inside kerbs, going briefly airborne before spinning into the run off area.
That allowed Rast to hold onto second and return to the podium after a subpar showing at Assen, where he finished fifth in both races.
Marco Wittmann bagged his second rostrum finish of the year in third in the lead BMW, beating Audi’s Mike Rockenfeller, who ran as high as second after his early stop but slipped to fourth as his tyres faded.
Frijns fended off factory BMW driver Philipp Eng after his spin to finish fifth, with Timo Glock taking the chequered flag in seventh after an impressive drive from outside the top 10 that included a double pass on DTM verteran Jamie Green and BMW stablemate Sheldon van der Linde.
Van der Linde, who took his maiden victory at Assen a week ago, was eighth ahead of Audi’s Loic Duval, who was hit with a 10-second penalty for crossing the white line at the entry to the pitlane.
Jonathan Aberdein rounded out the top 10 for BMW.
Formula 1 convert Robert Kubica propped up the timesheets in 16th after a disappointing showing in the ART-run BMW.
Nurburgring DTM: Race results:
|1||51||Nico Müller||Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020|
|2||33||René Rast||Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020||15.655|
|3||11||Marco Wittmann||BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020||18.141|
|4||99||Mike Rockenfeller||Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020||20.842|
|5||4||Robin Frijns||Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020||22.978|
|6||25||Philipp Eng||BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020||23.389|
|7||16||Timo Glock||BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020||28.101|
|8||31||Sheldon Van Der Linde||BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020||31.236|
|9||28||Loic Duval||Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020||38.442|
|10||22||Lucas Auer||BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020||43.905|
|11||27||Jonathan Aberdein||BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020||46.735|
|12||62||Ferdinand Habsburg||Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020||47.537|
|13||53||Jamie Green||Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020||49.168|
|14||10||Harrison Newey||Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020||50.200|
|15||13||Fabio Scherer||Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020||51.984|
|16||8||Robert Kubica||BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020||1'16.023|
|View full results|
Nurburgring DTM: Muller beats Rast to Saturday pole
Nurburgring DTM: Muller beats title rivals to Sunday pole