Rockenfeller wins dramatic Assen DTM finale, Rast hits tyre trouble

Audi's Mike Rockenfeller earned his first DTM victory in almost two years, taking advantage of championship leader Rene Rast's tyre degradation in the Assen finale

Rockenfeller wins dramatic Assen DTM finale, Rast hits tyre trouble

Rast had held his lead at the start while Saturday race winner Marco Wittmann of BMW started 18th after a turbocharger problem in qualifying had prevented him from setting a competitive lap.

But within four laps, Wittmann had climbed into the top 10 and made it as high as sixth when he stopped nine laps later as the first of the frontrunners to make a mandatory pitstop.

Rast followed two laps later and Rockenfeller crucially ran another two laps longer and the 2013 DTM champion used his new tyre advantage to hound down second-placed Wittmann.

The Audi driver first looked to pass into the De Strubben hairpin and was rebuffed by Wittmann, and Rockenfeller could not make a move stick on the BMW at the Geert Timmer Bocht chicane either.

But on the following lap, Rockenfeller was able to use the De Strubben Hairpin to make a greater exit onto the back straight to surge past Wittmann for second.

Rast had held a lead of just over six seconds heading into the second half of the race, but the gap quickly disappeared and the Audi driver was called into the pits for a second set of tyres.

Rockenfeller, whose last DTM victory came at Zandvoort in August 2017, then assumed the lead to win by 4.5s over Wittmann.

Nico Muller made it back-to-back podiums at Assen after taking third place once he had overhauled WRT Audi driver Jonathan Aberdein.

Aberdein was put on the back foot after a poor start from the front row meant he was swarmed by the likes of Audi's Robin Frijns and Loic Duval, as well as BMW's Sheldon van der Linde, but the WRT driver recovered to fourth.

Rast managed to seal fifth place after storming past Frijns and R-Motorsport Aston Martin's Daniel Juncadella on the final lap after a late recovery following his second pitstop.

Juncadella was an impressive seventh place, following on from Aston's best DTM result of sixth at the Norisring, after R-Motorsport opted to have the four Aston drivers run further than anyone else in the first stint.

Paul di Resta followed his team-mate across the line in eighth after recovering from a trip across the gravel early on when van der Linde pushed him off the track at the De Strubben hairpin.

Jamie Green and Pietro Fittipaldi rounded off the points-paying positions to make it seven Audis inside the top 10.

Duval was another Audi driver to require a second stop and fell from seventh on the grid to 11th ahead of R-Motorsport's Ferdinand Habsburg.

Second stops for BMW's Philipp Eng, Tim Glock and van der Linde resigned them to finishes of 13th, 14th and 15th respectively.

Joel Eriksson retired from the race after a huge plume of smoke came from the rear of his car on the long run to Haarbocht corner.

Bruno Spengler and Jake Dennis also retired, Spengler with front-axle problem carried over from qualifying and Dennis with brake issues.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Mike Rockenfeller Phoenix Audi 37 56m44.559s
2 Marco Wittmann RMG BMW 37 4.518s
3 Nico Muller Abt Audi 37 6.398s
4 Jonathan Aberdein WRT Audi 37 17.000s
5 Rene Rast Rosberg Audi 37 19.348s
6 Robin Frijns Abt Audi 37 21.626s
7 Daniel Juncadella R-Motorsport Aston Martin 37 21.967s
8 Paul Di Resta R-Motorsport Aston Martin 37 22.554s
9 Jamie Green Rosberg Audi 37 25.946s
10 Pietro Fittipaldi WRT Audi 37 36.096s
11 Loic Duval Phoenix Audi 37 36.492s
12 Ferdinand Habsburg R-Motorsport Aston Martin 37 41.444s
13 Philipp Eng RMR BMW 37 47.996s
14 Timo Glock RMR BMW 37 57.455s
15 Sheldon van der Linde RBM BMW 37 58.520s
16 Joel Eriksson RBM BMW 29 8 Laps
- Bruno Spengler RMG BMW 19 Retirement
- Jake Dennis R-Motorsport Aston Martin 19 Retirement
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Race two DTM pole for Audi's Rast at Assen, Wittmann has nightmare

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