DTM: Audi with strong Sunday at Zandvoort

Although the cars of competitor BMW were allowed to start with 15 kilograms less weight Mike Rockenfeller, Loïc Duval (both Audi Sport Team Phoenix), Mattias Ekström and Nico Müller (both Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) initially clinched positions two to five for Audi on track. After the original winner, Marco Wittmann (BMW), was excluded from the classification in the evening due to a breach of rules, Audi retroactively celebrated a 1-2-3-4 win. Jamie Green (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) in ninth place scored points as well. Only his teammate, René Rast, went home empty-handed on Sunday following a collision.

Mike Rockenfeller had to admit defeat to Marco Wittmann by only 0.807 seconds in a race that remained a thriller up until the end. On his favorite track, the 2013 DTM Champion improved from sixth to second place at the start and, like Wittmann, pitted later than most of the competitors. On the tire-killing track at Zandvoort, this strategy proved to be the right choice on Sunday.

After his pit stop on lap 13, Rockenfeller soon closed the gap to the leading Wittmann but was not able to overtake him. “Like yesterday, I was stuck in the transmission of a BMW and was hoping for Marco to make a mistake or for his tires to degrade more than mine. But that wasn’t the case,” said the Audi campaigner. “When you start from position six, a second place is superb. Inheriting a victory retroactively is not the same as clinching one on the race track. But the rules are like this and, obviously, I don’t mind taking home the additional points. For the team it’s fantastic that Loïc (Duval) finished on podium as well.”

The French DTM rookie showed a strong performance throughout the weekend. After having been the fastest driver in the DTM for the first time in the morning’s free practice, he advanced in the race from position 13 on the grid to third place and set the fastest lap as well. Clinching his first points and first podium were the deserved reward. Position three retroactively even became second place.

Overjoyed after the race as well was Mattias Ekström, who with a hard-fought third place, recaptured the lead of the standings. Even shortly after the race’s midpoint, the Swede reported vibrations over team radio and a pressure loss on the front left wheel a few laps before the end of the race. Consequently, the Audi driver reduced pace in the right-hand turns and at the end of the long start-finish straight, thereby avoiding a tire blow-out. In doing so, he was shielded in the final stage by his young teammate Nico Müller, who came fourth behind Ekström.

An extremely disappointing race was experienced by Audi Sport Team Rosberg which had started from promising positions four and five. Following a collision with Robert Wickens (Mercedes-Benz) in the early stage, Jamie Green still went on from 17th to finish in the points. René Rast had to park his Audi RS 5 DTM with a damaged right rear suspension after being hit by Maro Engel (Mercedes-Benz) and, as a result, lost the lead of the standings to Mattias Ekström.

“Obviously, that was very frustrating, not least because René (Rast) was running really well too,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “Still, it was a good team result for us. It was an incredibly exciting race because up until the last minute we couldn’t be sure that Mattias (Ekström) would make it to the finish. We heard on the radio that he was having problems with the tire inflation pressure and we saw other drivers with punctures. Mike (Rockenfeller) drove another strong race and Loïc (Duval) has finally scored his first points – and immediately with a podium result.”