René Rast was the dominant force at last week’s first DTM outing at Circuit Zolder. The Audi driver was able to fully exploit his strengths on the Hankook race tyre in the flowing first section and tight, slower second part of the Belgian racetrack. Two victories, one pole position and a third place in qualifying saw the two-time DTM champion climb into second place in the Drivers’ Championship. With a similar performance this weekend, the reigning champion could move to the top of the table. Championship leader Nico Müller, who has topped the standings since race one at Spa-Francorchamps, will have to improve, in qualifying in particular, if he is to keep his hopes of a first DTM title alive.
However, the Swiss will also have to keep an eye on the BMW drivers, as Belgium proved to be a happy hunting ground for Timo Glock and co. The former Formula 1 driver showed with pole position and two fourth places that he is a force to be reckoned with in Zolder. Fellow BMW racer Lucas Auer finished third to claim a spot on the podium in Sunday’s race, thanks in part to a clever pit stop strategy. “On the smooth asphalt in Zolder, it is important to get the Ventus Race working quickly. However, you cannot push too early, otherwise you risk finding yourself off the track. With the battle up front being so close, tyre management and pit strategies will be key,” says Thomas Baltes, the Hankook race engineer responsible for the DTM.
In the DTM Trophy, the champagne could be flowing in Zolder. Tim Heinemann goes into the penultimate round with a virtually unassailable lead of 94 points. The Mercedes-Benz driver is the high-flyer in the new racing series and has won six of the eight races so far on the Ventus Race supplied by exclusive tyre partner Hankook. The man from Fichtenberg has started from pole position no fewer than five times. The Junior competition could also be decided before the finale in Hockenheim: leader Ben Green (BMW) from Great Britain has amassed a comfortable lead of 36 points.
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