With a hard-fought victory in the first of the two final races at the Hockenheimring, Nico Müller from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline kept his chances of winning the DTM title alive.
Defending champion René Rast from Audi Sport Team Rosberg finished second and will start the all-decisive final race with a 13-point advantage.
Rast and Müller fought a tough battle on Saturday. Rast secured pole position by 48 thousandths of a second. From second place, Müller managed to pull off a better start and an overtaking maneuver in the first corner, in which Rast was forced off the track. It was just a foretaste of the reminder of the race, in which the two Audi drivers repeatedly overtook each other and touched slightly several times. In the end, Müller crossed the finish line as the winner, finishing 0.622 seconds ahead of Rast.
“It was a great show that our drivers put on today, I’m really looking forward to the finale tomorrow,” said Markus Duesmann. The Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG is following the finale at Hockenheim just as Head of Technical Development Oliver Hoffmann and Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH.
“The race was extremely exciting,” confirmed winner Nico Müller. “I really enjoyed it in the car, although there was a lot at stake. I hope that the fans at home in front of the screens enjoyed the spectacle just as much. I am very happy that I won the race. It was a day just like we needed. The team played a very decisive role. After the second safety car, we didn’t know exactly whether there would be four or five more laps to go. They told me that it was going to be extremely close and that I should pay close attention. Knowing that it was the last lap was very important today.”
René Rast could only confirm this: “I think we could have won, if I had known that it was the last lap. When I crossed the finish line, I looked at the display. It said: two more laps. I wanted to save the attack for the lead with Push-to-Pass and DRS for the last lap and was shocked that the race was over. I don’t know what went wrong, but it cost us the victory today.”
Rast’s teammate, Jamie Green, finished third. It was the British driver’s first podium since the start of the season at Spa. “That was a very good race,” said Green. “Whoever was in the lead couldn’t pull away. There were a lot of overtaking maneuvers in front of me and it was cool to watch. I was able to catch up with René and Nico before the second safety car, but I didn’t want to be a party crasher.”