Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse drivers Nick Cassidy (NZL) and Felipe Fraga (BRA) found the pace, if not the podium, as the 2022 DTM series made its debut at Italy’s mythic Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy.
“It was quite a solid day, I guess,” commented Cassidy. “We had a good Qualifying, the race was running well in P5, looking very strong. Unfortunately, with the Safety Car only one car can box at a time, though we could stay out front, show our speed, take the fastest lap – which is an important point – and be positive about the performance despite an overall frustrating weekend.”
The third weekend of the DTM calendar was a sizzling affair that saw Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse’s two Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 cars produce highlight moments at the home of the prancing horse. – Cassidy claimed fastest (race) lap honours and Fraga secured second in Qualifying, even if a continuing string of bad luck kept them out of the top positions across the two races.
Imola is notoriously difficult for overtaking, and after a Race 1 Qualifying session that was troubled by a sub-optimal overall balance for their cars and a power steering problem for Fraga, both Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse drivers finished Race 1 out of the points.
Sunday’s Race 2 proved a different affair: not only was Fraga’s steering problem fixed, but Balance of Performance adjustments announced by race management enabled them to each drop 5kg of ballast.
Cassidy finished sixth in Race 2 Qualifying and was running toward a top-five finish in the race itself, but lost the advantage because rules do not allow both team drivers to box simultaneously during a Safety Car. Making the best of the situation, the Kiwi flew to the front, at one point over nine seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, topping himself for fastest lap several times to finally secure the honour – and a title point – with 1:41.684 on the 4.9km track.
In Race 2 Qualifying, Fraga – who was adjusting to a new #74 Red Bull liveried Ferrari after irreparable fire damage to his previous car at the Lausitzring – sped to his first front row of the season, taking second place behind Switzerland’s Ricardo Feller for two championship points.
When the race took off, a determined Fraga wasted no time, passing Feller for the lead by the end of the first lap. When a Safety Car came out, the Brazilian, like many, took the opportunity to pit for best chance at holding position, but in the re-start he was rear-ended at Tamburello corner, with a subsequent tyre puncture forcing him to retire.
Fraga now holds 22 points, which according to provisional standings, stands him at 11th place in the DTM Drivers’ Championship, while Cassidy’s new total of three points puts him in 20th.
Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse holds 11th place in the Team competition with five rounds to go, and every round features two races of 55 minutes plus one lap. Next up is the season’s only street circuit as Round 4 of the DTM championship comes to Germany’s Norisring on July 1-3, 2022.
Race 1 result, Imola
1/ René Rast (GER) – Team ABT
2/ Nico Müller (SUI) – Team Rosberg
3/ Mirko Bortolotti (ITA) – GRT
14/ Nick Cassidy (NZL) – Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse
26/ Felipe Fraga (BRA) – Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse
Race 2 result, Imola
1/ Ricardo Feller (SUI) – Team ABT Sportsline
2/ Dev Gore (USA) – Team Rosberg
3/ Marco Wittmann (GER) – Walkenhorst Motorsport
17/ Nick Cassidy (NZL) – Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse
23/ Felipe Fraga (BRA) – Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse
2022 DTM Drivers Championship standings after three rounds (provisional)
1/ Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) 80 points
2/ Mirko Bortolotti (ITA) 68
3/ Nico Müller (SUI) 62
11/ Felipe Fraga (BRA) 22
20/ Nick Cassidy (NZL) 3
2022 DTM Teams Championship standings after three rounds (provisional)
1/ Schubert Motorsport, 101 points
2/ Team Rosberg, 80
3/ ABT Sportsline, 74
11/ Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse, 23