Assen DTM: Frijns beats Duval to score maiden win

Robin Frijns passed Loic Duval to claim his maiden DTM win in front of his home crowd at Assen, as Audi drivers monopolised the top five spots.

Polesitter Duval got away cleanly from pole position to retain the lead into Turn 1, with Ferdinand Habsburg moving up to second after rocketing away from fourth on grid.

While Duval could hold station out front, Habsburg couldn't keep up with the factory Audi driver and started dropping down the order, slipping behind Mike Rockenfeller to sixth by lap 12.

That allowed Frijns to move back up to second, with Rene Rast assuming second having passed his title rival Nico Muller on the opening lap of the race.

Duval was the first of the leaders to make his pitstop on lap 16, with Rast and Muller following him a lap later.

Rast's stop was three seconds slower due to a delay in changing the front-right tyre, which was just enough for Muller to snatch third spot from the reigning champion.

Meanwhile, at the front, Frijns started closing in on Duval for the lead of the race, bringing the deficit down to 0.8s on lap 25.

Duval responded to the Abt driver's speed to extend his advantage back up to second, while Muller and Rast also joined the battle for victory.

However, Duval's pace began to fade and he lost six tenths on lap 29 alone, bringing Frijns and the rest of the chasing pack into play.

Frijns got a better exit out of the turn 5 hairpin and pulled alongside Duval on the back straight, before making a move into the following corner to take the lead for the first time.

Muller was unable to pass Duval for second, giving Frijns the breathing space to score his first-ever victory in the DTM, which he fittingly achieved in front of a limited home crowd at Assen.

Rast couldn't cope with the pace of the top three and fell back to fifth place behind Mike Rockenfeller, who was able to take advantage of fresher tyres to pass the reigning champion on lap 33.

Jonathan Aberdein finished as the top BMW driver in sixth, more than 25 seconds behind race winner Frijns as the Munich-based manufacturer failed to match the performance of Audi.

Habsburg eventually finished seventh, but crucially ahead of the factory BMWs of Sheldon van der Linde and Timo Glock.

A late pitstop allowed Formula 1 race winner Robert Kubica to score his first point of the season in 10th, the ART BMW driver clearing WRT Audi's Harrison Newey and Lausitzring Race 2 winner Lucas Auer in the final few laps. 

The race had to be shortened due to a delay in wheeling Jamie Green's Audi back into the pits after he stalled on the formation lap.

Green joined the action midway through the race, finishing 14 laps down in 16th position.

Race results:

Cla # Driver Car Gap Points
1 4 Netherlands Robin Frijns
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 25
2 28 France Loic Duval
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 0.505 18
3 51 Switzerland Nico Müller
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 0.950 15
4 99 Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 3.188 12
5 33 Germany René Rast
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 13.735 10
6 27 South Africa Jonathan Aberdein
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 26.768 8
7 62 Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 30.604 6
8 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 31.336 4
9 16 Germany Timo Glock
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 36.888 2
10 8 Poland Robert Kubica
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 43.576 1
11 22 Austria Lucas Auer
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 45.131
12 10 United Kingdom Harrison Newey
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 46.632
13 25 Austria Philipp Eng
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 56.845
14 11 Germany Marco Wittmann
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 1'05.216
15 13 Switzerland Fabio Scherer
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 1'23.093
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Series DTM
Event Assen
Author Rachit Thukral
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