Audi rejects Scheider's talk of "very high tension" in DTM team

Audi motorsport boss Dieter Gass has played down a claim by double DTM champion Timo Scheider of "very high tensions" between its title-chasing drivers Nico Muller and Rene Rast

In the build-up to the Brands Hatch weekend, former Audi DTM driver Scheider wrote a blog for broadcaster RAN in which he made the suggestion about Rast and Muller.

He added "that the truth was not told" by either Muller or Rast when the media asked about their relationship.

Rast took victory on Sunday after Muller chased him down during the second stint, leaving Rast 37 points clear of his Audi stablemate in their title fight.

Muller admitted he held off from using DRS to minimise the risk of a clash and added that he would race a team-mate differently to another rival.

When asked for his take on Scheider's blog, Gass told Autosport that he "smiled a little bit" and "didn't know where it came from".

"We do race, everybody wants to win, Rene wants to win, Nico wants to win. There is competition between them, but the relationship is good."

He later added: "I think if it [the rivalry] affects the team dynamics, it's only in a positive way.

"We have two contenders up there who are having a very strong season. Nico is extremely consistent. We are racing, and I am happy for them to be racing.

"But we need to be racing with our brains switched on, which means playing different strategies - one against another - and if you recognise one is quicker, let him go without fighting."

Scheider was part of Audi's DTM line-up from 2006-16, winning the 2008 and '09 titles.

When Muller was asked by Autosport for his reaction to Scheider's blog and his relationship with Rast, he said: "On track definitely, we all want to win and beat the other guys out there.

"Rene is the one to beat at the moment. I end up driving at the same brand, having the same tools and driving the same car.

"We spend time together obviously, we don't only share DTM duties, we've shared cars in endurance racing and we get on well as colleagues off the track.

"We won't all agree on everything, which is the most normal thing on the planet because we are sportsmen and we want to put ourselves in the best position.

"We will always have these little things."

Rast told Autosport: "There's always tension, we just don't play kindergarten games.

"We are professionals, we have dinner together, and WhatsApp each other, it doesn't affect [us] professionally."

This year's Audi driver dynamic has taken on an extra focus after BMW struggled to match Audi at Brands Hatch, impacting the title bids of Marco Wittmann - who won Saturday's race but struggled on Sunday - and Philipp Eng.

Wittmann now trails leader Rast by 57 points, while Eng is a further 20 points back.

After race two, Wittmann implied that Audi had taken advantage of its top eight qualifying lockout to ensure its title chasing duo Rast and Muller finished one-two.

"If you have eight Audis in front, it's pretty easy for them to cover me, who is their biggest [challenger] in the championship," said Wittmann.

"It was pretty clear what they are doing.

"They brought up Rene and Nico very easily, very quickly. Pretty clear what they did."

Leading DTM drivers' standings after Brands

Pos Driver Points
1 Rene Rast 206
2 Nico Muller 169
3 Marco Wittmann 147
4 Philipp Eng 129

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