Audi consolidates DTM lead
Audi increases its lead at the halfway point of the DTM championship.
Two double podiums in Assen see Audi increase its stranglehold on this year’s DTM championship.
22 July, 2019
Heavy rain on Saturday tested the drivers and led to many close 'moments' on the Assen track
The new turbo era of the DTM (German Touring Car Masters) is certainly suiting the Audi brand, with the RS 5 DTM proving to be the car to beat and with Audi leading all three championships at the halfway point. After a challenging round over the weekend, the Audi teams added another four podium finishes over the weekend to bring their tally to 20 podiums from a possible 30 so far this season.
The weekend started with René Rast and Nico Müller both clinching podium finishes on the Saturday, with Müller just missing the race win and Rast hot on his tail in third.
Extremely wet conditions at the Assen track in the Netherlands were cause for many tense minutes, with cars often aquaplaning on the track best known as an international motorcycle venue.
“We had aquaplaning in many sections. It was difficult to keep the car on track,” said Nico Müller, who fought from sixth on the grid to finish second. “I lost a bit too much time to the leaders in the process.”
On Sunday though, the weather did a complete about turn, the dry conditions causing a battle of tyre strategy between the teams that ultimately saw Mike Rockenfeller take the checkered flag – his first DTM win since 2107.
Five Audi RS 5 DTM cars started in the top five grid spots for the race, and at the end, seven of the eight Audis competing finished in the top 10.
For Nico Müller, Sunday saw him take another podium to add to his strong position in second place on the drivers’ ladder. Unfortunately for Rast though, he was unable to finish on the podium in what was his 50th DTM start, ultimately coming home in fifth place, but nevertheless consolidating his lead in the drivers’ championship after the weekend.
“This was an incredibly action-packed race,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “René was very fast but then somehow stressed his tires too much. Even so, a fifth place in spite of two pit stops is a very good result. I’m very happy for Mike and Nico, who in the end still had a puncture too. It was a fantastic race in front of a great crowd. I think the fans got to see a real spectacle today. We’ll definitely be delighted to return to Assen – not only because of our strong results today.”
The results place Rast and Müller in first and second respectively in the drivers’ standings, while in the manufacturers’ championship, Audi increased its lead even further over nearest rival BMW.
Two Audi teams – Audi Sport Team Rosberg and Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline – also lead the teams’ standings giving the brand with the four rings a dominant hold over this year’s entire championship.
Sunday's race saw Mike Rockenfeller score his first DTM victory since 2017
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