First a setback, then a comeback: René Rast secures dominant win at Norisring.
A rather poor start, but a brilliant comeback: with a brave strategy, René Rast (GER) claimed his third win of the season at the Norisring. In the DTM race on Saturday at the street circuit in Nuremberg, the 2017 DTM champion started third, but dropped to the back of the field after stalling his engine. Then, however, he made clever use of an early safety car intervention for a tactical move that saw him move up into the lead. DTM newcomer Aston Martin also shone. Daniel Juncadella (ESP) temporarily ran in fourth place in a turbulent and action-packed race and eventually finished sixth in the first race of the weekend.
Meanwhile, Nico Müller (SUI, Audi) and Joel Eriksson (SWE, BMW) battled for the remaining podium slots. After a highly entertaining duel over many laps, the order was only decided in the final corner when pole-sitter Müller worked his way past Eriksson, who had been running in second place for a long time. Loïc Duval (FRA, Audi) finished fourth, Bruno Spengler (CDN, BMW) came fifth.
Curse finally broken: First Norisring points with victory in Nuremberg
It was René Rast who wrote the story of the day. Prior to the first race at the Norisring between Dutzendteich and Alpha hairpin, he hadn’t scored any points at the venue during his DTM career. Today, Rast broke his curse in an impressive way. With his third win, the championship leader extends his margin in the drivers’ standings and did so with the most dominant victory in DTM history at the Norisring: at the finish line, his margin was 34.4 seconds. In 2014, Robert Wickens (CDN, Mercedes-Benz) had won, 23.906 seconds ahead of Jamie Green (GBR, Audi).
Quotes – 1st race, Norisring
"In spite of the poor start, we kept cool today and we made good use of the early safety car intervention. We had a good pace and then were able to dominate the race at the front of the field. The car was perfect throughout, a really big thank you to my team. All in all: my bad at the start, but luck with the safety car."
René Rast, winner
“Of course, I wasn’t happy with the safety car intervention. I had a good start, everything was going well, but the neutralisation destroyed it all. Then, we tried to get the maximum from our strategy. At the end, it was really crucial for me to still catch Joel Eriksson. I succeeded and that was my personal highlight of the day.”
Nico Müller, 2nd place
“At the start, I was hit a few times. As usual at the Norisring, it was quite intense. After the restart, I had some space in front of me and behind me and I drove my own race. At the end, I really enjoyed the battle with Nico Müller, that is always fair. I am not too disappointed to have lost second place just before the finish. It means I will simply get my revenge in tomorrow’s race.”
Joel Eriksson, 3rd place
Result – 1st race, Norisring
01. René Rast (GER), Audi, 69 laps in 57m 31.554s
02. Nico Müller (SUI), Audi, + 34.498s
03. Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, + 34.692s
04. Loïc Duval (FRA), Audi, + 39.521s
05. Bruno Spengler (CAN), BMW, + 42.111s
06. Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Aston Martin, + 43.581s
07. Philipp Eng (AUT), BMW, + 45.357s
08. Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, + 48.526s
09. Jake Dennis (GBR), Aston Martin, - 1 lap
10. Ferdinand von Habsburg (AUT), Aston Martin, - 1 lap
Fastest lap: Nico Müller (SUI), Audi RS 5 DTM, 47.391s
Pole position: Nico Müller (SUI), Audi RS 5 DTM, 46.337s
Weather conditions: 36°C, sunshine
Circuit conditions: 50°C, dry surface
Strategies at a glance – 1st race, Norisring
#33 – René Rast (GER)
First stint: 4 percent » pit stop: lap 3 » second stint: 96 percent
#51 – Nico Müller (SUI)
First stint: 43 percent » pit stop: lap 30 » second stint: 57 percent
#47 – Joel Eriksson (SWE)
First stint: 1 percent » pit stop: lap 1 » second stint: 99 percent
Wow fact – 1st race, Norisring
The winner’s trophy at the Norisring has a weight of around ten kilograms. The coveted trophy has its weight because of a special characteristic: it has been made from material of the concrete grandstand.
Regulations at a glance
Brakes – The DTM cars have a high-performance brake system, featuring brake callipers with internally-ventilated, carbon-fibre and ceramic brake discs front and rear. The brake balance can be smoothly adjusted by the driver. Each car is permitted to use three sets of brake discs (six discs) during the season. Particlarity at the Norisring: the diameter of the carbon fibre ceramic composite brake discs (380 mm) remains unchanged, but because of the high load at the Nuremberg street circuit, the use of discs with additional ventilation openings is allowed as well.
And then there was …
… Lena Gercke. The German top model again came to visit a DTM race on Saturday and took on important duties in the seventh race of the season: after 69 laps, Gercke waved the chequered flag and subsequently handed over the trophies to race winner René Rast and Kimmo Liimatainen as the representative of the winning team, Audi Sport Team Rosberg.