Audi dominates DTM season opener at Spa > Audi Motorsport > Audi Curacao

Audi dominates DTM season opener at Spa

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  • Audi RS 5 DTM sweeps top five positions on Saturday and Sunday
  • Drivers from all three Audi factory teams on the podium
  • Head of Motorsport Dieter Gass: “Fantastic result for Audi”

Ingolstadt, August 3, 2020 – The Audi RS 5 DTM is the car to beat also in the 2020 DTM. At the season opener at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Audi swept the top five positions in both races. Defending champion René Rast narrowly won a thrilling duel on Sunday with Saturday’s winner Nico Müller.

Saturday Race: Dream start for Audi in the DTM

“This result is simply fantastic for Audi,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “After the tests before the season we didn’t expect this. Today was all about good tire management – and Nico Müller was simply in a class of his own.”

The Swiss started into the 2020 DTM on Saturday morning with a fastest time in the wet free practice session. In qualifying, he narrowly had to admit defeat only to his teammate Robin Frijns, who secured his first pole position in the DTM. In the race, Müller fended off an attack by René Rast in the famous Eau Rouge corner shortly after the start. On lap five he passed his teammate Robin Frijns on the long uphill straight and then gradually pulled away from the rest of the field. At the finish, Müller had a lead of almost 20 seconds – a small world in the DTM.

“Being able to climb onto this special podium with the Swiss flag on the Swiss National Day makes me very proud,” said Müller after his fifth victory in the DTM. “Spa is a magic racetrack. Driving on it with the Audi RS 5 DTM is a lot of fun. My thanks go to Audi Sport and my boys at ABT Sportsline. There was no practice here on Friday. The free practice session took place in the wet. We only knew where we stood in qualifying. Putting both cars on the front row and winning the race by such a margin is simply mega.”

With Jamie Green from Audi Sport Team Rosberg in second place and Loïc Duval from Audi Sport Team Phoenix in third place, drivers from all three Audi factory teams finished on the podium. Green fought his way forward from grid position eleven to second place with a late tire change and strong overtaking. Duval stopped on the same lap as Nico Müller and managed his tires as good as the winner in the longer second stint.

Duval’s teammate Mike Rockenfeller was running second five laps before the end of the race but dropped back to fourth with deteriorating tires. Robin Frijns fared even worse, relegated to ninth place after his initial lead due to heavy blistering on the rear tires. “After the start everything went well, but after five or six laps the tires suddenly started to deteriorate badly,” Frijns said. “We'll have to find out what the issue is until tomorrow.”

René Rast also had to fight with unusually high tire wear. The reigning DTM Champion was second at times but had to come to the pits for a second tire change shortly before the end of the race. From tenth, Rast fought his way forward to fifth. “Nevertheless, the race was kind of a nightmare,” said the Champion. “I managed the tires at the beginning, but still they went down. I tried to manage the second set even more but the drop was even bigger.”

Sunday Race: Audi RS 5 DTM sweeps top five positions also on Sunday

“This was an incredible start to the season with two fantastic results for Audi,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass after the latest triumph of the Four Rings. “My feeling is we’ve been even stronger today than yesterday. It’s great that we can continue where we left off last year. Spa is a very special circuit where good tire management is important. But you also need engine power at Spa. We clearly saw on those two days that we have the best engine.”

After a disappointing first race on Saturday, defending champion René Rast made an impressive comeback on Sunday. The driver from Audi Sport Team Rosberg secured his 14th pole position with a new track record, turning the pole position into his 18th DTM victory in the race. The German also recorded the fastest lap.

“It was a very good race, much better than yesterday when I was fighting with the tires,” said the two-time DTM Champion. “We improved a few things on the car, but I also worked on my driving. We got our reward for this today. It was a cool fight with Nico and Robin – fair and good. Just the way it should be. The racing with DRS and Push-to-Pass in the DTM is awesome.”

Rast took the lead immediately after the start but lost it to Müller on lap four. Towards the middle of the race, Rast also had to defend himself against Müller’s teammate Robin Frijns who eventually lost a lot of time at the pit stop, turning the three-way fight at the front into a duel. Rast reduced the gap to Müller with the help of DRS and Push-to-Pass, finally overtaking Müller six laps from the end of the race.

An attempt by the Swiss driver to counterattack again on the last lap failed because his DRS closed after a small slide at the exit “Eau Rouge” and could not be opened again. “All in all, the weekend was superb,” said Müller. “I am leading the championship. But I have never been so unhappy about a second place. We should have won today as well. I felt like I had everything under control.”

Robin Frijns, Müller’s teammate at Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, completed the podium with third place. The Dutchman also handled the tires much better on Sunday than the day before. “Unfortunately, I had a bad start. And my strategy of driving particularly long with the first set of tires didn’t pay off because my gap after the pit stop was simply too big.”

Rast’s teammate Jamie Green fought his way up from eighth on the grid to fourth. Mike Rockenfeller and Loïc Duval from Audi Sport Team Phoenix finished fifth and seventh. Duval made up six positions in the race after his fastest time in qualifying had been cancelled.

The customer team WRT Team Audi Sport wrote a piece of DTM history: Fabio Scherer was the first driver to break the 300 km/h barrier with a Class 1 racing car in Sunday’s race.

After the first two of 18 scheduled races, Audi leads the Manufacturers’ Championship with 152:34 points clearly ahead of BMW.

The DTM continues on August 15/16 and 22/23 with a total of four races at the Lausitzring in Germany.