Spa DTM: Muller wins as Audi dominates season opener

Nico Muller cruised to a dominant victory in the opening race of the 2020 DTM season at Spa-Francorchamps, as Audi swept the top four positions to assert its supremacy over BMW.

At the start of the race, Robin Frijns led the field from pole position, with the sister Abt Audi of Nico Muller slotting into second place.

Frijns initially stretched his advantage to over a second, but started to fall into the clutches of Muller on Lap 4, the gap between the two dropping down to 0.6s.

This allowed Muller to get a great run on Frijns along the Kemmel straight before executing a simple move into Les Combes to seize the lead of the race.

From there on, Muller enjoyed an untroubled run as others suffered with tyre woes, crossing the line with 19.502s in hand to claim his fifth victory in the DTM.

Jamie Green, who had qualified last of the factory Audi runners in 11th, put on a stunning drive to finish behind Muller, passing Loic Duval at Blanchimont on the penultimate lap for second.

Mike Rockenfeller appeared to have done enough to secure second place, having passed both Rene Rast and Frijns in rapid succession on lap 20.

However, his tyres appeared to give up five laps later, allowing both Duval and Green - who had qualified last of the factory Audi runners in 11th - to demote him to fourth.

Rast switched to an unconventional two-stop strategy after tyre struggles of his own, but recovered to finish fifth, just three seconds behind Rockenfeller.

Philipp Eng was the top BMW driver in sixth, having waited until lap 15 to complete his sole pitstop.

Lucas Auer finished just 1.5s behind Eng in seventh in his first outing for BMW, ahead of Timo Glock (BMW) and Frijns, who slipped down the order in the closing stages of the race.

New BMW recruit Jonathan Aberdein demoted two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann to 11th on the run to the line to claim the final championship point.

Wittmann had been running as the top BMW driver in fifth, but his pace began to drop off rapidly in the final five laps of the race.

Formula 1 convert Robert Kubica finished 14th on his DTM debut in an ART-run BMW, more than a minute behind the winning car of Muller.

Sheldon van der Linde was the only driver to retire from the race after suffering technical issues while running in sixth place on Lap 2.

Ferdinand Habsburg failed to take the start after his WRT Audi took heavy damage during a crash at Stavelot during practice. 

Race results:

Cla # Driver Car Laps Time
1 51 Switzerland Nico Müller
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 20 57'58.596
2 53 United Kingdom Jamie Green
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 20 19.502
3 28 France Loic Duval
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 20 22.839
4 99 Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 20 29.234
5 33 Germany René Rast
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 20 32.023
6 25 Austria Philipp Eng
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 20 36.424
7 22 Austria Lucas Auer
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 20 38.205
8 16 Germany Timo Glock
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 20 42.692
9 4 Netherlands Robin Frijns
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 20 51.888
10 27 South Africa Jonathan Aberdein
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 20 54.149
11 11 Germany Marco Wittmann
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 20 54.584
12 13 Switzerland Fabio Scherer
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 20 57.743
13 10 United Kingdom Harrison Newey
Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 20 1'11.793
14 8 Poland Robert Kubica
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 20 1'18.844
15 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 2020 17 3 laps

 

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