Five Audi RS 5 DTM cars in the top ten and 41 points in total: Audi has achieved its best result this season to date in Saturday’s race of the DTM’s visit to Hungary at Budapest. The Swiss Nico Müller (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) in third position clinched his first podium this season.
Following a difficult start of the season, Audi presented itself in stronger form at the Hungaroring right from the beginning. In the first free practice session on Friday, Jamie Green (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) set the best time and in rain on Saturday morning DTM rookie Robin Frijns was in front. In the subsequent qualifying, Nico Müller in the Castrol EDGE Audi RS 5 DTM only had to admit defeat to Paul Di Resta in a Mercedes-Benz by 135 thousandths of a second. René Rast (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) in his comeback drive following his serious accident at the Lausitzring took position four on the grid.
In the race, the Audi drivers used extremely diverse strategies. Jamie Green, for instance, stopped after only one lap and Mike Rockenfeller just shortly before the end of the race. Nico Müller was defending second position in the early stage but, following his pit stop on lap ten, dropped behind Lucas Auer in a Mercedes-Benz. Afterwards he brought third position home in commanding style in spite of having come under pressure from René Rast in the final stage. Rast had pitted later and was able to attack on the fresher tires.
“This was a good day,” said Nico Müller. “The front row, the first podium this year and many good points: the season has finally started for me! I’m happy for my team and my guys. We made a good step ahead this weekend. Without the incidents in Sunday’s race I’d have probably finished in the points again.”
“The most important thing is that, fortunately, it looks like the consequences of the accidents in the pit lane weren’t as grave as had to be feared initially,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “The situation was difficult for all drivers because they didn’t know what conditions to expect in the pit lane. Due to the red flag, everyone who hadn’t pitted yet was no longer in contention. In the end, Mike Rockenfeller still scored a fourth place. That’s not bad but, after yesterday, we had higher expectations. This weekend we saw once again how unpredictable the DTM is. Nico’s (Müller) podium on Saturday and a total of five cars in the points were a good performance. In the race on Sunday we were fast as well, but the Red Flag, unfortunately, came at exactly the wrong time for us. We made progress at Budapest and I’m hoping for our form curve to continue pointing upwards in the next races too.”