Where a safety car stood in the way of a good result in the DTM race on Saturday, nothing could stop the reigning DTM-champion René Rast in his Audi RS5 from taking the chequered flag in the second DTM race on Sunday. He grabbed not only his first victory of the season, but also Audi’s first win of the year.
Sunday qualifying led us to believe that the second race of the weekend could play out the same way as the first. Gary Paffett managed to score his second pole of the weekend and with an even greater gap: he was 0.4 seconds clear of the rest of the field. However, behind him he was now not backed by a couple of his Mercedes-teammates; Philipp Eng had put his BMW M4 on first row, before René Rast in his Audi RS5.
Paffett managed to bank on his pole position, taking the lead after the start. Philipp Eng in his BMW M4 didn’t manage to pass Paffett in Tarzan Corner and followed closely in P2 with Rast on his tail.
Rast, possibly strengthened by the belief that his race pace could certainly match that of Paffett, and knowing overtaking is difficult at the Zandvoort track, went for a very aggressive strategy. Opposite to race 1, he now tried the ‘undercut’ and made his pitstop as early as lap 5. Being able to run with a clear track ahead of him and on new tires, he managed to come out just in front of Paffett when he made his stop in lap 13.
A safety car period followed after a spin of Canadian Bruno Spengler in Tarzan Corner, who got pushed off by Jamie Green. The field was again close together. Where it was thought that Paffett and brand-colleague Paul DiResta, now in 3rd, might be able to take the fight to the Audi RS5 in front with their newer tires, Rast proved he was in total control of the race and drove to victory.
Championship leader Paffett added another 21 points to his total again, now leading the championship with 148 points, 27 more Paul Di Resta who came in third with 121 points. Winner Rast more than doubled his points balance to 49 and is now 9th in the championship.
After a great performance on Saturday, the race on Sunday was one to quickly forget for local hero Robin Frijns. Already in free practice his Audi suffered from electrical issues, which also kept him from doing more than one run in qualifying. As a result he didn’t managed to leave the last row on the grid: an 18th position was his share. In the race the electrical issue forced him to retire in lap 10.
A slightly better performance than yesterday for BMW. After Philipp Eng put his car on the first row in qualifying, he was long in a place where he could challenge for a podium finish. In the end he was just beaten by Di Resta. Augusto Farfus followed closely in 5th to secure a second top 10 finish for the Bavarian brand.
Words and images from Rick Kiewiet