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DTM Lausitzring: Aitken scores first win as Preining handed penalty

One-time Formula 1 race starter Jack Aitken clinched his maiden DTM win at the Lausitzring on Saturday, as a penalty wrecked the race of championship leader Thomas Preining.

Jack Aitken, Emil Frey Racing Ferrari Ferrari 296 GT3

Jack Aitken, Emil Frey Racing Ferrari Ferrari 296 GT3

Alexander Trienitz

Emil Frey Ferrari driver Aitken led nearly the entire race from pole position, save for the pitstop phase, beating the SSR Performance Lamborghini of Mirko Bortolotti by 2.3s after one hour of racing at the 4.35km circuit.

Kelvin van der Linde finished third for Abt Audi, making it three different manufacturers on the podium.

When the first of the two races at the Lausitzring this weekend got underway, Aitken held the top spot going into the opening left-hander, while Winward Mercedes driver Lucas Auer attempted a move on Bortolotti for second before backing down and settling for third.

Further down the field, Preining was in a three-way battle for the final-points scoring positions when he hit the side of Franck Perera into Turn 2, who in turn collided with the Audi of Luca Engstler that was already on the edge of the track. 

The contact left Engstler's Audi beached in the gravel, prompting the deployment of the safety car, while Perera also suffered terminal damage that forced him to pit and retire his Lamborghini from the race.

The stewards held Preining responsible for the collision and slapped him with three separate long-lap penalties, which he served after the SC period, sending him tumbling down the order.

Back at the front, Aitken perfected the restart to hold the top spot from Bortolotti, extending his lead gradually to one second by the time the pitstop window opened at the 20-minute mark.

Aitken waited until the third lap of the pit window to complete his mandatory pitstop, which allowed Bortolotti to undercut him, but the British driver was able to repass the Lamborghini on his outlap.

From there on, Aitken wasn’t challenged for the top spot of the podium, the 27-year-old becoming the ninth different driver to score a win in 2023 in as many races

It also marked the first victory for the new Ferrari 296 GT3 in the DTM, as well as the first for the Emil Frey squad that entered the championship this season.

Although Bortolotti was no match to Aitken, the runner-up result moved him up to second in the championship on a day when points leader Preining finished down in 15th place.

Abt driver van der Linde finished half a second behind Bortolotti in third after passing the Mercedes of Auer right after the latter’s pitstop. 

Fifth place went to van der Linde’s younger brother and defending champion Sheldon, who was again the top finisher for BMW and Schubert Motorsport.

The South African passed the second Abt Audi of Ricardo Feller for fifth just before their pitstops, with Feller also losing a place to the HRT Mercedes of Luca Stolz when he ran wide at Turn 7 on his outlap. He eventually finished seventh.

Three-time DTM champion Rene Rast (Schubert BMW) bagged some solid points in eighth after starting from 11th, while the top 10 was completed by Aitken’s team-mate Thierry Vermeulen and Project 1 BMW’s Marco Wittmann.

After dropping outside the top 20 following his triple long-lap penalty, Preining was able to salvage a solitary point in 15th place, passing the Grasser Lamborghini of Maximilian Paul with just 10 minutes to go in the race.

DTM Laustizring - race one result

 Cla   Nº   Driver   Car / Engine  Gap
1 14  Jack Aitken Ferrari  
2 92  Mirko Bortolotti Lamborghini 2.394
3 K.van der Linde Audi 5.272
4 22  Lucas Auer Mercedes 6.973
5 S.van der Linde BMW 7.917
6 Luca Stolz Mercedes 8.899
7 Ricardo Feller Audi 11.078
8 33  René Rast BMW 12.252
9 69  T.Vermeulen Ferrari 12.505
10 11  Marco Wittmann BMW 14.968
11 63  Clemens Schmid Lamborghini 17.204
12 90  Dennis Olsen Porsche 20.279
13 48  Maro Engel Mercedes 21.295
14 84  Jusuf Owega Mercedes 26.320
15 91  Thomas Preining Porsche 39.529
16 24  Ayhancan Guven Porsche 44.549
17 56  Sandro Holzem BMW 46.626
18 99  Marvin Dienst Porsche 48.924
19 19  Maximilian Paul Lamborghini 2 laps
(20) Alessio Deledda Lamborghini Retirement
(3) 36  Arjun Maini Mercedes Retirement
(4) 27  David Schumacher Mercedes Retirement
(16) 83  P.Niederhauser Audi Retirement
(23) 75  Laurin Heinrich Porsche Retirement
(16) 40  Mattia Drudi Audi Retirement
(25) Tim Heinemann Porsche Retirement
(27) 94  Franck Perera Lamborghini Retirement
  Luca Engstler Audi Retirement

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