Brazil’s Felipe Fraga made an impressive start to life with Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse as he claimed second place in Race 2 of the DTM season-opener in Portimão, Portugal.
Making his DTM debut at the opening round of the 2022 season, Fraga wasted little time earning his first points of the championship.
Coming into the series with a strong touring car background, he guided his Red Bull-liveried Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 to fourth place in qualifying for Race 1.
Fraga briefly led the field midway through the race but was ultimately forced to retire after contact damage during a dramatic side-by-side restart.
The Brazilian qualified in third for Race 2, earning his first championship point in DTM. He then continued his excellent form into the race, passing Italy’s Mirko Bortolotti to move into second place.
Fraga then produced the fastest lap of the race (1:41.681s) but was unable to catch eventual winner Nico Müller of Switzerland.
Fraga, 26, said: “I’m really happy. The race was fun. I had a good fight with Mirko and I went all-in for the position. I gave everything I had to catch Nico, but he was a bit quicker. P2 is good, especially after yesterday with no points.
I’m happy to leave here in the mix, and the team is working well together. I think we have a really good season ahead of us. Let’s go.”
Joining Fraga on track in Portugal and also making his DTM debut was French rally icon Sébastien Loeb.
Filling in for New Zealand’s Nick Cassidy, the nine-time WRC champion had to adapt to a completely different driving style behind the wheel of the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 with the livery of Red Bull’s premium fashion brand, AlphaTauri.
The French driver finished 16th in Race 1 and recovered superbly from a difficult qualifying for Race 2. Starting in 27th position, Loeb expertly moved through the field and found himself in second place. However, a mandatory pit stop saw him drop back as he ended the race in 18th.
Loeb, 48, said: “In the race we had a good fight, but I’m not happy with the result because I know I could do much better in qualifying. When you start from 27 it’s difficult to do something nice at the end.
I was missing a bit of preparation compared to the guys who do this all year, but I had some fun, and I enjoyed driving the car and doing the races. The team is doing a good job and I was happy to join them.”
With 20 points, Fraga heads to Round 2 in fourth place in the DTM Drivers Championship, while in the Team competition, reigning titleholders Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse are in sixth place.
The second round of the championship will see Cassidy return to action and takes place at Germany’s Lausitzring on May 20-22.
Race 1 result
1. Lucas Auer (AUT) – Mercedes-AMG Team Winward
2. Luca Stolz (GER) – Mercedes-AMG Team HRT
3. Mirko Bortolotti (ITA) – GRT
16. Sébastien Loeb (FRA) – Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse
25. Felipe Fraga (BRA) – Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse
Race 2 result (Top 3)
1. N. Müller (SUI) – Team Rosberg
2. Felipe Fraga (BRA) – Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse
3. Mirko Bortolotti (ITA) – GRT
18. Sébastien Loeb (FRA) – Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse
2022 DTM Drivers Championship standings after one round
1. Mirko Bortolotti (ITA) 35 points
2. Nico Müller (SUI) 28
3. Lucas Auer (AUT) 26
4. Felipe Fraga (BRA), 20
2022 DTM Teams Championship standings after one round
1. GRT 35 points
2. ABT Sportsline 30
3. Team Rosberg 28
6. Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse 19