Text: Rick Kiewiet
Images: DTM, Audi, BMW.
René Rast claimed his second title in the DTM, following his championship in first full season in 2017. Victory went to his teammate at Team Rosberg: Jamie Green crossed the line first to take his first win of the season. As Nico Müller can only come to the same amount Rast now has, and Rast has 6 victories over 2 from Müller, the Phoenix Audi driver cannot loose the title anymore.
Audi Sport Team Rosberg claimed the entire first row. Jamie Green was on pole position with René Rast right next to him. The next four grid positions were also for Audi: Rockenfeller, Frijns, Aberdein and Duval made that the first three rows on the grid were all Audi. Best M4 was Timo Glock, with Marco Wittmann, Spengler, van der Linde and Eng behind him. The two points awarded for the 2nd grid position made that Rast had to score only 7 points more than Nico Müller to crown himself champion. Müller didn't do himself a favor with a terrible qualifying: he didn't get further than 14th.
At the start, Rast immediately catapulted himself towards the lead. Green got in behind Rast in p2 and acted like a perfect buffer to Rockenfeller, Duval and Frijns. Müller, to make matters worse, lost another place at the start and was 15th after turn 1. Glock was the first BMW at p7, Wittmann was in p8.
Glock spun off at turn 1 the next lap, after being tapped round by brand colleague Sheldon van der Linde. Not for the first time this season, Wittmann was now the only BMW able to follow the Audis. The race settled a bit, and it was waiting for the first stops to take place.
Nico Müller decided to take an aggressive strategy and came in as one of the first cars to stop. He came in for fresh rubber at the end of lap 10. At that same time, Jamie Green decided to crawl under the rear wing to increase the pressure on René Rast. Green didn't need to make a move on his teammate as Rast decided to also come in by the end of the lap. Probably to defend his position from Nico Müller. With his stop a lap later than Müller, he took away the opportunity to profit from a safety car. A clean stop brought Rast out well in front of Müller.
Green came in a lap later and got out ahead of Rast. Rast, busy winning the title, caught up to the back of Green, but didn't take the risk to pass him.
Two laps later Loïc Duval came in the pits and rejoined right in front of Müller. Frijns, who made his stop three laps later, got out right behind his Swiss teammate, but after the stops was clearly the faster car. As Müller didn't manage to overtake Duval, he let Frijns by to see if he could get by him.
Frijns didn't disappoint and first took Loïc Duval. He did everything in his power to help teammate Müller: with some 6 minutes to go he also took p2 from René Rast. By that time, Wittmann already parked his car in the box with technical issues.
Attention shifted back to the group with Duval, Müller, Aberdein and Rockenfeller. If Müller now could hold on to fifth, he would postpone Rast's championship celebrations to the next race at Hockenheim. But Aberdein ended all hopes for the young Swiss driver. In the run up to the NGK chicane he had a better exit and took p5.
In the meantime Frijns had caught up to Green in front. Right before the start of the last lap, he made his first move. In the NGK-chicane the Dutchman tried to out brake the orange RS 5, but it was just too late. He was forced to cut off the chicane and had to return the position to Green. In the last lap he couldn't get close enough to place another attack and so Green won his first race of the season.
Behind Green and Frijns, Rast crossed the line in 3rd, scoring him 15 points. His points total was now 279, meaning Müller had to come to 224 to prevent Rast from winning the championship (at even points, Rast has 6 victories over 2 for Müller, still making him champion). With a 6th place finish he failed and so Rast may call himself 2019 DTM Champion. The former Porsche Supercup driver takes his second DTM title in his career, after having to let the 2018 championship to Jamie Green and Mercedes.
The race at the Nürburgring was another display of this years' Audi dominance, as the first 7 places were all RS5s. Best BMW driver was Philipp Eng in p8. Aston Martin again couldn't play a role of significance this race. Dani Juncadella was first of the R-Motorsport cars in p12.
Full race results here.
Championship standings here.
Race highlights with English commentary: