Nick Cassidy climbed the top step of the podium in Race-1 at the Red Bull Ring in the penultimate round of the DTM championship. Setting off from pole in his number 37 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse, the New Zealander led for the entire fifty-five minutes. Teammate Felipe Fraga was unlucky, forced to retire after two laps following a collision that led to a puncture. This was Cassidy’s second career victory in the German series, giving the 488 GT3 (in all its versions) its five-hundredth win. It was also the second in succession after his triumph a fortnight ago at Spa-Francorchamps.
The race. Cassidy made an excellent start. The Kiwi gained precious metres on the competition from the very first corners, thus avoiding the traffic. However, Fraga was considerably less fortunate. After a good start from the fifth row, which saw him take third place on the first lap, the Brazilian was rear-ended at the Remus Kurve, suffering a puncture to his left rear tyre. The twenty-seven-year-old was forced to drop out despite pitting for a tyre change.
The strategy. The Race-1 script saw the New Zealander set the pace. He exploited the speed and traction of his blue-and-white liveried 488 GT3 Evo 2020, extending his lead to over two seconds. Cassidy pitted with fifteen minutes left for the compulsory stop, which the team completed perfectly. Thus the twenty-eight-year-old driver went back on track first, ahead of the Audi of René Rast. The German, who had anticipated the stop by two laps, crossed the chequered flag 2.573 seconds behind in second.
Programme. The Austrian weekend continues tomorrow with qualifying, from 10am. This will decide the starting positions for Race-2, which kicks off at 1.30pm. The championship’s final round will run at Hockenheimring in Germany from 7 to 9 October.