Dream start in the DTM: first and second place for Nico Müller

Outstanding driver on Saturday was the Swiss Nico Müller from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline.

On Sunday defending champion René Rast narrowly won a thrilling duel with Nico Müller. The podium on Sunday was completed by Robin Frijns.

“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.”

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.”

On saturday René 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.”