Zolder DTM: Eng scores maiden win as race turns upside down

Zolder DTM: Eng scores maiden win as race turns upside down

BMW's Philipp Eng won his first DTM race in a dramatic Zolder opener that was thrown upside down by the arrival of a mid-race safety car.

The two R-Motorsport-run Aston Martins of Jake Dennis and Daniel Juncadella stopped almost simultaneously halfway into the race, with the former pulling off at the entry of the pitlane and forcing a safety car while Juncadella moved off the track and stopped. That meant the leading trio of Bruno Spengler, Marco Wittmann and Rene Rast were caught out, having not yet taken their mandatory pitstop.

Spengler had looked a candidate for the win after a stunning start from third on the grid allowed him to lead into Turn 1, before pitting from the lead a lap after the safety car period ended. Rast's race also unravelled when he pulled into the pits 11 laps from the end with a technical problem, after reporting a lack of top speed.

By then Eng had already moved into the lead when the order shuffled out, having started seventh on the grid. The BMW driver had climbed to fifth before stopping on lap 11 of 39 and was further boosted by Robin Frijns earning a five second stop/go penalty for a jump start. 

Once Eng moved to the front, he was able to canter into a lead of over three seconds to seal his maiden DTM victory. Behind him, Joel Eriksson and Nico Muller battled for second with the Audi driver repeatedly putting pressure on the BMW ahead to no avail.

Eriksson sealed the position when Muller ran wide on the final lap as the BMW driver crossed the line just ahead of Muller. Loic Duval finished fourth, despite a nervy moment when the WRT Audi of Jonathan Aberdein barged past with door-to-door contact that pushed the Frenchman wide and Aberdein into retirement with front-right bodywork damage.

Mike Rockenfeller sealed fifth with just two laps to go when he swept around the inside of Audi stablemate Jamie Green at Turn 1. Pole-sitter Wittmann, who had looked set for a podium finish at least until the safety car's arrival, had to settle for seventh.

Aston’s Paul di Resta finished an impressive eighth from a starting position of 16th after opting to make his mandatory pitstop on the first lap and taking a 'free' second stop during the safety car. The fellow Aston Martin of Ferdinand Habsburg was ninth ahead of Spengler.

Sheldon van der Linde, Frijns, Timo Glock and Pietro Fittipaldi filled out 11th through 14th and the last of the classified drivers.

Cla Driver Car Time Gap
1 Austria Philipp Eng BMW M4 Turbo DTM 59'34.758  
2 Sweden Joel Eriksson BMW M4 Turbo DTM 59'43.403 8.645
3 Switzerland Nico Müller Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 59'43.587 8.829
4 France Loic Duval Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 59'52.917 18.159
5 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 59'59.260 24.502
6 United Kingdom Jamie Green Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 1:00'07.076 32.318
7 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M4 Turbo DTM 1:00'07.504 32.746
8 United Kingdom Paul di Resta Aston Martin Vantage DTM 1:00'10.633 35.875
9 Austria Ferdinand Habsburg Aston Martin Vantage DTM 1:00'13.616 38.858
10 Canada Bruno Spengler BMW M4 Turbo DTM 1:00'14.632 39.874
11 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M4 Turbo DTM 1:00'15.329 40.571
12 Netherlands Robin Frijns Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 1:00'17.479 42.721
13 Germany Timo Glock BMW M4 Turbo DTM 1:00'20.430 45.672
14 Brazil Pietro Fittipaldi Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 1:00'44.537 1'09.779
  South Africa Jonathan Aberdein Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 42'45.547 12 Laps
  Germany René Rast Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 43'38.785 12 Laps
  Spain Daniel Juncadella Aston Martin Vantage DTM 17'20.779 27 Laps
  United Kingdom Jake Dennis Aston Martin Vantage DTM 17'24.475 27 Laps
Zolder DTM: Wittmann beats Rast to Race 1 pole by 0.042s

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About this article

Series DTM
Event Zolder
Drivers René Rast , Philipp Eng , Robin Frijns
Author Tom Errington