Robin Frijns has taken the full responsibility of crashing out at the pit exit at Zolder in an incident that could dampen his chances of lifting a maiden DTM title.
Frijns had recovered from a poor qualifying to run third in the early stages of the second race of the weekend when he headed to the pitlane for an early stop on lap 11.
But on cold tyres he slid into the Armco barriers at the left-hand turn of the pit exit, suffering damage to the suspension of his Audi that put him out of the race.
The crash also triggered a safety car that compromised the race of his teammate Nico Muller, leaving him a season-worst ninth at the finish.
“So just crashed in the pitlane,” Frijns said.
“Put brand new tyres on and I had no front and I hit the wall and that was that. That was the end of the race.
“Obviously it’s my fault, if you hit the wall it’s your mistake. There’s only one guy to blame which in the car, and that was me.”
Following his first DNF of the season, Frijns has slipped to third in the drivers’ standings behind Rene Rast, who scored a double win at Zolder to boost his chances of defending his title.
— DTM (@DTM) October 11, 2020
However, the Dutch driver still sits only 16 points behind championship leader Muller, who continues to stay on top heading into the penultimate round of the season this weekend.
Asked if he feels he still remains in the title hunt, Frijns said: “Yeah, still 100 points to be gained in the next four races. It’s only 16 points behind.”
Muller and Frijns have won eight of the 14 races held so far this year between them, allowing the Abt team to wrap up the title with two rounds still to run.
However, Sunday’s second race at Zolder marked Abt’s worst showing of the season, scoring just two points courtesy of Muller’s ninth-place finish.
The outfit also unusually struggled in qualifying in damp conditions, with Muller and Frijns qualifying seventh and eighth on the grid respectively, behind all but just one factory Audi car.
“Clearly currently we are all very disappointed,” said team principal Thomas Biermaier.
“But it was clear that during the season we’ll have a day where we can forget, we have a lot of shit. This day happened today.
“I think everybody knows us. We’ll come back stronger. We’ve only four days break [until the next round]. I think this is good that we don’t have to think too long looking back to this day. Looking forward.
“Positive for the next weekend because the pace is not so bad, this we also saw in the race on Sunday.
“It was not so easy conditions with wet tyres and track went quicker and quicker [in qualifying].
“We didn’t have the feeling this weekend to be quick in these conditions.
“Small details didn’t work this weekend. The race pace was both days good.
“On Saturday both drivers were on the podium. Sometimes you make mistakes, and as I said already, we will win together and we will lose together, and today we lost.”