Robin Frijns couldn't have chosen a better time for his first DTM victory: the Dutch Audi driver triumphed in Assen on Saturday 5 September 2020 in front of a local crowd.
For the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, spectators have been admitted to a DTM race. The Audi drivers cheered them on before the start by holding up signs in front of the main stand with a moving message: “DTM fans, welcome back! We really missed you! "
After 36 laps, Dutch fans once again had reason to rejoice: local hero Robin Frijns of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline crossed the finish line victorious for the first time in his DTM career after a thrilling battle with Loïc Duval from Audi Sport Team Phénix. "I had to wait almost three years for this moment", said Frijns. “I got close a lot of times, but something always happened. I have been on the podium several times in DTM, but never at the top. It's fantastic that this has happened here in Assen where the fans got to come back for the first time. There really couldn't have been a better place for my first DTM victory. "
Only on the 30th lap, Frijns managed to overtake Loïc Duval who was leading so far. The Frenchman started the race from pole position with his Audi RS 5 DTM on an initially wet track. "When you lead for so long you want to win the race", said Duval. “But I was struggling with the tires. In the first stint, the front tires went down, in the second the rear tires. With the Push-to-Pass and the DRS, Robin was able to catch up with me and pass me just before the end. I was able to call until the finish but I was never close enough to attack without risk. For a Dutchman to win in the Netherlands is a great story, but tomorrow I want to be on top of the podium. "
Nico Müller defended his lead in the Drivers' Championship with third place in his first DTM race as a father. The Swiss moved from second to sixth place in the first round. "I was stuck next to Robin (Frijns)", said Müller. “When you lose so many places at the start, a third place is still a good result. Tire wear was not as high as we all expected. I had a great pit stop which allowed me to pass René (Rast). Thanks for that one to the team! I'm very happy for the guys and also for my teammate Robin, who had his first home win – very well deserved. He has often shown he can do it. Now he's finally proven it in black and white. "
Fourth place in the Saturday race went to Mike Rockenfeller. Last year's winner stopped very late, taking advantage of the cooler tires to get closer and closer to the top group in the finals. “It was enough for René (Rast), but the gap to the top three was a little too big after the first stint. "
René Rast of Audi Sport Team Rosberg finished fifth on Saturday. "It was a difficult day for me", said the defending champion. “In qualifying I made a mistake on my best lap. From sixth on the grid I got off to a good start, but in the end the tires failed, even though I had saved them. We need to understand this first and foremost. "
His teammate Jamie Green was only able to start the race with a delay due to a battery problem. The Briton had to limit himself to accumulating experience for Sunday's second race.
Ferdinand Habsburg, eighth, scored points for the WRT Team Audi Sport customer team for the third time. The Austrian shone with the fourth fastest time in qualifying.
"I didn't expect Robin to win here in Assen, where tire wear is usually particularly high", said Dieter Gass, director of Audi Motorsport. “I'm that much happier for him. We were very concerned about the tires before this race and even scheduled two pit stops for some cars. But with the track wet at the start of the race, tire wear was less than expected. All the pilots managed to pass with one stop. We saw some fantastic races, the 14th consecutive pole position for Audi in DTM and another 1-2-3-4-5 victory. "