Audi has another DTM winner: youngster Nico Müller (24) won a turbulent DTM race at the Norisring on Sunday in an Audi RS 5 DTM, causing Audi to triumph twice within the space of 24 hours in its “home round” in Nuremberg.
Following “Forza Italia” with Edoardo Mortara’s victory on Saturday, it was “Hopp, Schwiiz!” on Sunday. In his 36th DTM race, the youngest Audi factory driver celebrated his first ever victory in the DTM. In front of an impressive crowd of 123,500 spectators (throughout the weekend), the Swiss at the wheel of his Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM delivered an impeccable performance on Sunday. Having started the race from grid position three, he improved to second place right in turn one. Subsequently, Müller put pressure on pole sitter Tom Blomqvist and overtook the BMW also thanks to a quicker pit stop. In the final stage, Müller controlled the pace and kept his cool even when a safety car period shortly before the finish ruined his advantage of 2.5 seconds.
“Winning my first DTM race for Audi here at the Norisring of all places is simply an incredible feeling,” said Müller, for whom two Bunnies of his sponsor, Playboy, kept their fingers crossed on Sunday as well. “Following the disappointing result yesterday, we made the right changes to the car. My RS 5 DTM was fantastic today and my pit stop was super-fast. Thank you to Audi Sport, thank you to Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and thank you to everyone who believed in me – first and foremost Dieter Gass! I’m overjoyed!”
Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport, was happy for his protégé as well: “Nico (Müller) drove like an old hand today and showed why we took him on board at Audi. Nico has had a strong season so far and has now crowned it with his first victory in the DTM. That we’ve been able to win both races at the Norisring following a 14-year barren spell is fantastic. Obviously, it’s a shame that we lost a few points today. But we’re not going to let this spoil our partying mood in any way.”
With Saturday’s winner Edoardo Mortara in the Castrol EDGE Audi RS 5 DTM in position eight only one other Audi driver finished Sunday’s race in the points. The Italian trails the new front runner, Marco Wittmann (BMW), in second place of the standings with a two-point deficit. The teams’ standings are led by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. In the manufacturers’ classification, Audi is in second place with a 34-point deficit.
Mattias Ekström experienced another disappointment. Following his retirement the day before, the Swede impressively came back with a best time in the second qualifying session, but damaged the radiator of his Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM in the starting commotion and, as a result, remained without any points at the Norisring.
Jamie Green scored no points on Sunday either. Following his second place on Saturday, he found no clear lap in qualifying with the Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg. Having started from position 16 on the grid, he was forced to retire in the race following a collision and a puncture. Neither did his teammate Adrien Tambay in the Speedweek.com Audi RS 5 DTM see the checkered flag. The Frenchman was running in the top six before being forced off track by a rival.
Audi Sport Team Phoenix went home without points as well after Timo Scheider (AUTO BILD MOTORSPORT Audi RS 5 DTM) and Mike Rockenfeller (SCHAEFFLER Audi RS 5 DTM) collided shortly before the end of the race, which caused them to lose possible points. Miguel Molina in the Teufel Audi RS 5 DTM advanced from position 22 on the grid to 14th place.
Playboy Audi Audi RS 5 DTM #51 (Audi Sport Team Abt), Nico Müller
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “Obviously, going home this weekend from the Norisring with two victories in our pockets after 14 long years is a dream. The entire squad is incredibly happy about this. After Edoardo Mortara’s victory on Saturday, I said that hopefully we’ve now broken the spell. On Sunday, we proved that this was definitely the case. In the second race, it was literally a tad harder once more. But Nico (Müller) really pulled this off in commanding style. I take my hat off to his convincing performance and his cool manner. Unfortunately, as a team, we didn’t manage to put the good individual performances on track as well. But that does not diminish the two victories.”
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM at Audi Sport): “It was a fantastic weekend for us. Winning twice at the Norisring after such a long time without a victory for Audi is really special. I think we can have a beer or two on that. On Saturday, we even managed a one-two, although there were a few circumstances we’d have wished to have been different. Nico (Müller) drove like an old hand on Sunday. Simply superb. Now we have seven DTM winners in our squad. Our joy of having clinched these two victories clearly outweighs the fact that, especially on Sunday, we failed to score points with the other cars. But many of the scenes we saw were typical of the Norisring.”
Edoardo Mortara (Castrol EDGE Audi RS 5 DTM #48): “On the whole, I had a nice weekend with a victory on Saturday and a total of 29 points. The Norisring used to be a track that didn’t suit us well. But this year, we showed good results here. I’m happy about being the first driver to celebrate two victories this season. My goal continues to be staying focused, extracting the maximum from the car and celebrating even more wins. This year, however, that’s extremely difficult because the whole field has become even closer.”
Nico Müller (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM #51): “The weekend was an emotional roller coaster for me but, obviously, the positive impressions outweigh the negative ones. On Saturday, I locked the rear axle and slid into ‘Rocky.’ And I wasn’t even about to attack him! I lost points and ruined his race just like mine. To come back on Sunday was fantastic. We had a strong qualifying session and were really fast in the race. My sincere thanks to the team! They gave me a car that was fast and, strategically, were constantly on top of things. Plus, the pit stop was fast. You can’t ask for more than that. Paying it back this way and saying thanks to the team for the hard work simply feels great. And standing on the top of the podium just makes you addictive anyway. That’s why we’re going to keep pushing all the way!”