At home at Spa-Francorchamps, the season-opener of the DTM did not yield the results sought, although the three young guns of WRT Team Audi Sport (Ferdinand Habsburg, Harrison Newey and Fabio Scherer) all showed good potential, in a series that proved again to be extremely competitive. Twice 12th, Fabio Scherer was the best-placed of the WRT Team Audi Sport drivers.

Team Principal Vincent Vosse took stock of the contrasting weekend: “It’s fantastic to debut in the ADAC GT Masters with a pole position and a win, and I am delighted of the great start of the season in our GT programme, with two wins in a week. We knew that the ADAC is a very competitive series, and it proved so. The entire team and the drivers did a great job, and I want to stress the maturity with which Charles Weerts managed the re-start after safety-car. On the DTM side, we are very disappointed with our weekend at Spa, we are certainly not where we want to be. There were good things but also a lot of question marks and we need to analyze why things did not work out well and correct the situation quickly.”

It definitely was a demanding start of the weekend for the young drivers of WRT Team Audi Sport, with rain dominating the short free practice session, the only one available for familiarizing with the car and the track. Unfortunately, Ferdinand Habsburg suffered a blocked throttle which sent him into the barriers at Stavelot. The front of the car, including the engine, was severely damaged, with the Austrian having to call it a day for Saturday’s qualifying and race.

Back on dry track, and discovering it under such conditions, Scherer qualified 12th and Newey 15th for Race 1. Both had a smooth and faultless race, basically running together and having relatively late pit stops (in lap 15 and 16, respectively). In the final part of the race, the Swiss showed excellent pace, crossing the line in P12, right ahead of his British team mate.

On Sunday, for Race 2, Scherer qualified 14th, again ahead of Newey, while Habsburg finished the session with no time, having seen his lap times cancelled for track limits infringements. The three drivers had an excellent start, especially Scherer, who gained four positions. At the end of lap 1, Scherer was 11th, Habsburg 13th and Newey 14th. The Brit had a contact with Aberdein in the first lap for which he received a drive-through that he served in lap 3. He rejoined the race but was forced to retire in lap 14 due to technical issues after his contact with Aberdein. Scherer and Habsburg continued their solid recoveries until their respective pit stops. Habsburg ran as high as 9th before making an early pit stop due to reported issues on the left door (lap 8). In the second part of the race, he had to pit again to change tyres to eventually finish in P15. Similarly, Scherer also made it to the top-10 before his pit stop (lap 14) and had to concede a couple of positions at the very end, crossing the line in P12.

Ferdinand Habsburg: “Quite a few things went badly, which means no points and a poor result, but there are also positives to take out: we worked well as a team, kept the morale strong in difficult moments and we proved that when things are OK, we can be quick.”

Fabio Scherer: “We need to improve in qualification and be able to use our potential, which is there. Today, in Race 2, I had quite a good start, but unfortunately, it was very difficult to overtake. I could have gained some more positions, because I was quicker than some of the cars in front. We had a good pace, probably we pitted two laps too early, and in the end of the race dropped positions. It is sad because we missed scoring points, but the good thing is that we are not far off from it and that I learnt a lot over the weekend.”

DTM – Round 1
Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 1st-2nd August 2020

Race 1 Results:

1. Nico Müller (Audi) 26 laps
2. Jamie Green (Audi) +19s502
3. Loïc Duval (Audi) +22s839
4. Mick Rockenfeller (Audi) +29s234
5. René Rast (Audi) +32s023
12. Fabio Scherer (Audi) +57s743
13. Harrison Newey (Audi) +1m11s793
DNS Ferdinand Habsburg (Audi)

Race 2 Results:

1. René Rast (Audi) 26 laps
2. Nico Müller (Audi) + 0s483
3. Robin Frijns (Audi) + 5s393
4. Jamie Green (Audi) +11s080
5. Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) +23s435
12. Fabio Scherer (Audi) +50s314
15. Ferdinand Habsburg (Audi) +1m49s237
DNF Harrison Newey (Audi) 12 laps (mechanical)