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Race report
DTM Hockenheim

DTM Hockenheim: Champion Preining signs off season with win

Newly-crowned DTM champion Thomas Preining ended the 2023 season with a fine victory from pole position at Hockenheim despite carrying 20kg of success ballast on his Porsche.

Having wrapped up the title with three bonus points in qualifying earlier on Sunday morning, Preining led nearly the entirety of the race from pole position to complete a perfect weekend at the 4.5km (2.79-mile) circuit.

Much like Saturday, the Manthey EMA driver made a perfect start to lead the field into Turn 1, even as SSR Performance’s Mirko Bortolotti and Schubert BMW’s Sheldon van der Linde kept the pressure up on him.

On lap three, the safety car was deployed when Christian Engelhart crashed his Grasser Lamborghini at the entry to the hairpin after making contact with the Project 1 BMW of Marco Wittmann.

This neutralised the field and gave Bortolotti and van der Linde a sniff at the lead, but Preining managed to dissipate the threat from the duo to maintain the status quo at the front.

Van der Linde was the first of the trio to pit on lap 14, with Bortolotti and then Preining following the South African on the next two tours.

Preining’s lead stood at under a second before the pitstop cycle but he rejoined the track with his advantage over Bortolotti doubled, as van der Linde lost a few positions on cold tyres.

This should have given Preining a clear track in front of him, but Rene Rast threw a spanner in the works by pitting on lap 18 and taking the lead of the race with the overcut.

However, the Schubert BMW driver’s celebrations were short-lived as he struggled on cold tyres and slumped to fourth on his outlap, re-establishing Preining’s advantage.

Thomas Preining, Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3-R

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Thomas Preining, Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3-R

In the final laps of the race, Bortolotti picked up his pace and put up a fight against Preining, bringing the gap between the two down to under half a second.

But the factory Porsche driver managed to fend off the late attack from his Lamborghini counterpart, aided by Bortolotti running wide into the final corner on the penultimate lap, to take the chequered flag by 0.8s and end his title-winning season with a fine victory.

Three-time DTM champion Rast finished behind the leading duo in third to complete an incredible recovery from 23rd on the grid, after passing the Landgraf Mercedes of Maro Engel on the final lap.

Rast made up 10 positions on the opening lap alone and made further gains to run 11th when the safety car was deployed on lap three.

With two drivers running wide in front of him at the safety car restart, Rast broke inside the top 10 and then carved his way further up the pack, with his late pitstop later putting him in a position to finish on the podium.

Engel, who reported late technical problems on his Mercedes, eventually dropped to fifth, behind the other Schubert BMW of outgoing champion van der Linde.

Sixth place went to Benhard Porsche driver Laurin Heinrich, while HRT Mercedes’ Luca Stolz could only manage seventh after starting third on the grid.

He was followed by the Winward Mercedes of Lucas Auer and the top Abt Audi of Ricardo Feller. Wittmann dragged his hobbled Project 1 BMW to 10th.

Grasser’s Alessio Deledda and Toksport WRT’s Tim Heinemann joined Engelhart in the list of retirees.

Race results:

 
 
       
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Car Laps Time Interval Pits Points
1 Austria T. Preining Manthey EMA 91 Porsche 911 GT3 R 36

-

    25
2 Italy M. Bortolotti SSR Performance 92 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 36

+0.852

0.852

0.852   20
3 Germany R. Rast Schubert Motorsport 33 BMW M4 GT3 36

+6.766

6.766

5.914   16
4 South Africa S. Van Der Linde Schubert Motorsport 1 BMW M4 GT3 36

+1.594

1.594

    13
5 Germany M. Engel Mercedes-AMG Team Landgraf 48 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 36

+1.575

1.575

    11
6 Germany L. Heinrich KÜS Team Bernhard 75 Porsche 911 GT3 R 36

+0.569

0.569

    10
7 Germany L. Stolz Mercedes-AMG Team HRT 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 36

+2.714

2.714

2.145   9
8 Austria L. Auer Mercedes-AMG Team Winward 22 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 36

+0.618

0.618

    8
9 Switzerland R. Feller Abt Sportsline 7 Audi R8 LMS Evo II 36

+1.938

1.938

1.320   7
10 Germany M. Wittmann Project 1 Motorsport 11 BMW M4 GT3 36

+4.214

4.214

2.276   6
11 United Kingdom J. Aitken Emil Frey Racing 14 Ferrari 296 GT3 36

+2.656

2.656

    5
12 Turkey A. Güven KÜS Team Bernhard 24 Porsche 911 GT3 R 36

+6.655

6.655

3.999   4
13 Norway D. Olsen Manthey EMA 90 Porsche 911 GT3 R 36

+0.415

0.415

    3
14 India A. Maini Mercedes-AMG Team HRT 36 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 36

+0.868

0.868

0.453   2
15
F. Perera SSR Performance
94 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 36

+0.124

0.124

    1
16
J. Owega Mercedes-AMG Team Landgraf
84 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 36

+1.535

1.535

1.411    
17 Germany D. Schumacher Mercedes-AMG Team Winward 27 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 36

+0.803

0.803

     
18 Germany M. Dienst Toksport WRT 99 Porsche 911 GT3 R 36

+5.430

5.430

4.627    
19 Switzerland P. Niederhauser Tresor Orange1 83 Audi R8 LMS Evo II 36

+0.668

0.668

     
20 Italy M. Drudi Tresor Orange1 40 Audi R8 LMS Evo II 36

+2.537

2.537

1.869    
21
S. Holzem Project 1 Motorsport
56 BMW M4 GT3 36

+1.406

1.406

     
22 Germany L. Engstler Liqui Moly Team Engstler 8 Audi R8 LMS Evo II 36

+0.486

0.486

     
23
T. Vermeulen Emil Frey Racing
69 Ferrari 296 GT3 36

+1.149

1.149

0.663    
24 Austria C. Schmid GRT Grasser Racing Team 63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 36

+3.159

3.159

2.010    
25 South Africa K. van der Linde Abt Sportsline 3 Audi R8 LMS Evo II 36

+8.917

8.917

5.758    
26 Italy A. Deledda SSR Performance 6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 33

3 laps

     
27
T. Heinemann Toksport WRT
9 Porsche 911 GT3 R 20

13 laps

     
28 Germany C. Engelhart GRT Grasser Racing Team 19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 3

18 laps

     

 

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