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Assen DTM: Rockenfeller wins, Wittmann goes last-to-second

Assen DTM: Rockenfeller wins, Wittmann goes last-to-second

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

Rockenfeller had started third on the grid but the race played out as if polesitter Rast would have to battle BMW driver and Saturday race winner Marco Wittmann for the victory. 

Rast had held his lead at the start while Wittmann 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 hunt down second-placed Wittmann. 

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

But on the following lap, Rockenfeller was able to use the exit at the Strubben 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 teammate 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 Strubben.

Jamie Green and Pietro Fittipaldi rounded off the points-paying positions to make it seven Audis inside the top 10, as several drivers fell down the order by making second stops.

Joel Eriksson retired from the race after a huge plume of smoke came from the rear of his BMW on the long run to Haarbocht, while Bruno Spengler and Jake Dennis also retired with a front axle problem and brake issues respectively.

Race results:

Cla # Driver Car Laps Time
1 99 Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 37 56'44.559
2 11 Germany Marco Wittmann
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 37 56'49.077
3 51 Switzerland Nico Müller
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 37 56'50.957
4 27 South Africa Jonathan Aberdein
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 37 57'01.559
5 33 Germany René Rast
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 37 57'03.907
6 4 Netherlands Robin Frijns
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 37 57'06.185
7 23 Spain Daniel Juncadella
Aston Martin Vantage DTM 37 57'06.526
8 3 United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Aston Martin Vantage DTM 37 57'07.113
9 53 United Kingdom Jamie Green
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 37 57'10.505
10 21 Brazil Pietro Fittipaldi
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 37 57'20.655
11 28 France Loic Duval
Audi RS 5 Turbo DTM 37 57'21.051
12 62 Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
Aston Martin Vantage DTM 37 57'26.003
13 25 Austria Philipp Eng
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 37 57'32.555
14 16 Germany Timo Glock
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 37 57'42.014
15 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 37 57'43.079
16 47 Sweden Joel Eriksson
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 29 44'58.139
7 Canada Bruno Spengler
BMW M4 Turbo DTM 19 29'50.853
76 United Kingdom Jake Dennis
Aston Martin Vantage DTM 19 30'05.209
Assen DTM: Rast takes Race 2 pole, disaster for Wittmann

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About this article

Series DTM
Event Assen
Drivers Mike Rockenfeller
Teams Phoenix Racing
Author Tom Errington