Audi driver Robin Frijns: “I’m optimistic to celebrate my first DTM victory soon”
- Interview with the 29-year-old Dutchman from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline
Before the second DTM race weekend in the Lausitz, three-time pole setter Robin Frijns looks back on the busy start to the season. The Audi DTM driver also shares more about the atmosphere within the Abt Sportsline team and tells how he is spending his few days at home.
How do you feel after your race marathon in DTM and Formula E in the past three weeks?
I still feel alright. It was quite tiring, especially mentally. It was a lot of swapping from one race car to a completely different car and back again. It always feels a bit strange and you need a couple of laps to get used to the car again. Physically, I felt my left thumb a bit more from driving in Formula E in Berlin, because we had a lot of left-hand corners. That is just one example of those little issues that are normal when you have so many races, pretty much every day.
How did you approach the preparation for DTM at the Lausitzring with such little time in between the races of the two series?
The preparation wasn’t optimal due to the short time in between. But the team did a really good job preparing for the race weekend without inputs from the drivers. Thanks to them, I clinched two pole positions and another podium finish. We also tried to compensate for the short turnaround time before the Lausitzring races by doing more preparation work ahead of the season opener at Spa.
Your teammate Nico (Müller) and you have shared big parts of your motorsport career. How has your relationship developed over the years?
The first time that we have seen each other was back in 2012, in the World Series by Renault. We never really spoke to each other back then, because we were driving for different teams. Only later, when we were both driving in the GT3 program for Audi Sport, we did really get to know each other at the joint races. And since we have been teammates in DTM for Abt Sportsline, our relationship has improved even more. We went on holiday together last August with our girlfriends. It is not always easy to have a good relationship with a teammate in and out of the racing world.
Do you think it is a key aspect of your success that you get along so well?
That is hard to say. It is so much that has to fit together perfectly to be successful. But the atmosphere we have within our team, especially over the last two years, has always been really good. We all work together and try to help each other. It definitely contributes to the success and I think it puts us on a higher level as a team.
You have clinched three out of four pole positions this season, but you have not converted them into your first win in DTM yet. What is still missing for the top step on the podium?
It is a bit strange to see how it is going this year, to be honest. Because, in the past, qualifying has never been my strongest point. I always fought back with good race pace and now it seems to be the complete opposite. We now have been really strong in qualifying, but not quick enough throughout the races. But I don’t think that this is going to be an issue for the entire year. The first two events were rather special. At Spa, everyone had big problems with tire degradation and the Lausitzring is kind of a low grip track, which I have always been struggling with. I think, if we go to the other tracks that suit my driving style more, like Assen or Zolder, I will be good in the long runs and hopefully still good in qualifying. We still have seven race weekends left and I’m optimistic that my first DTM win is very close.
After almost three weeks of racing, you now have a bit of time at home again. How will you try to recover?
I arrived at home on Sunday evening and I’m really happy to be here for the next three days. I always try to get myself disconnected from racing, to recover as well as possible and to enjoy the little things, like seeing my family. And I also try to make up for the hours of sleep that I’ve missed. During race events, everyone has long workdays and short nights. For me, the next nine weeks or so will once again be very busy with no weekends off. That is why I am always trying to get rest whenever I can.