Audi Team Abt Sportsline’s Robin Frijns dominated the opening race of the DTM weekend at the Nurburgring on the shorter Sprint layout, leading from start to finish after jumping polesitter Rene Rast on the start line.
Audi Team Rosberg’s Rast would slot into second, unable to match Frijns’ rapid start, though looked to challenge into Turn 1 before having to change tactics and defend from a fast-starting Philipp Eng in his BMW RBM car.
The action was halted just a few corners later when Loic Duval tagged Timo Glock twice, with the second hit dislodging a large piece of bodywork from Glock’s BMW and causing a Safety Car to allow a marshal to collect the debris.
With DTM running ‘Indianapolis’ restarts – whereby cars run two-wide with the leader controlling the pace up to the start line – Rast would get a look at Frijns, but the Dutch racer has the measure of his German rival.
Eng held third ahead of points leader Nico Muller and Marco Wittmann in fifth.
Drama would come just a few laps later as Muller spun after getting tagged by Jamie Green – both would continue though much further down the order.
The Safety Car made a second appearance when Duval locked-up at Turn 5 and slid into the barrier, damaging the front of his Audi Sport Team Phoenix car.
That prompted much of the field, including leaders Frijns and Rast, to stop for fresh tyres as Duval managed to find reverse and get going again, albeit a lap down.
Wittmann pounced on second-placed Rast at the restart to claim second, but would eventually drop behind at the third and final restart, which came about when Duval, Fabio Scherer and Lucas Auer all came together in an Audi-BMW-Audi sandwich.
The damage to Duval’s car was race-ending, with Scherer joining him. Green was the only other retirement after he locked-up, with the Briton suspecting suspension damage was the cause, likely from his earlier contact.
Frijns would take the chequered flag for his third win of the season, just 0.6s ahead of Rast, with Wittmann completing the podium.
Eng, Muller, Joanathan Abderdein, Ferdinand Habsburg, Sheldon van der Linde, Mike Rockenfeller and Glock completed the top 10.
|01||ROBIN FRIJNS||AUDI SPORT TEAM ABT SPORTSLINE||59:51.551|
|02||RENÉ RAST||AUDI SPORT TEAM ROSBERG||+0.660|
|03||MARCO WITTMANN||BMW TEAM RMG||+1.573|
|04||PHILIPP ENG||BMW TEAM RBM||+2.984|
|05||NICO MÜLLER||AUDI SPORT TEAM ABT SPORTSLINE||+4.743|
|06||JONATHAN ABERDEIN||BMW TEAM RMR||+5.211|
|07||FERDINAND HABSBURG||WRT TEAM AUDI SPORT||+8.513|
|08||SHELDON VAN DER LINDE||BMW TEAM RBM||+8.846|
|09||MIKE ROCKENFELLER||AUDI SPORT TEAM PHOENIX||+14.970|
|10||TIMO GLOCK||BMW TEAM RMG||+17.292|
|11||HARRISON NEWEY||WRT TEAM AUDI SPORT||+17.900|
|12||LUCAS AUER||BMW TEAM RMR||+19.353|
|13||ROBERT KUBICA||ORLEN TEAM ART||+37.027|
|14||JAMIE GREEN||AUDI SPORT TEAM ROSBERG||DNF|
|15||FABIO SCHERER||WRT TEAM AUDI SPORT||DNF|
|16||LOÏC DUVAL||AUDI SPORT TEAM PHOENIX||DNF|