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Race report
DTM Lausitzring

DTM Lausitzring: Van der Linde wins for Audi in twice red-flagged opener

Abt Audi driver Kelvin van der Linde survived treacherous conditions to take his maiden victory of the 2024 DTM season at the Lausitzring on Saturday.

Heavy rain prompted two red flag periods and led to a start/stop race, but van der Linde kept his calm and converted pole position into a dominant win over the Winward Mercedes of Maro Engel

Defending champion Thomas Preining ended up third in the Manthey EMA Porsche, making it three different manufacturers on the podium.

The race got underway at 5pm local time with the sun shining brightly on the track, as Ricardo Feller got the jump on front-row starter Preining to establish an Abt 1-2 behind team-mate van der Linde.

Although the first raindrops were spotted as early as lap two, it wasn’t until the fourth tour that it started pouring down properly, completely changing the complexion of the race.

The first batch of cars headed to the pitlane at the end of lap five, with Arjun Maini in the HRT Mercedes the leading driver to make the switch to wet tyres. Roughly half the field decided to stay out at this point, partly because of the expected time loss from double-stacking in the pits.

As the rain continued to get heavier, the remainder of the field entered the pits over the next two laps, with van der Linde managing to stay ahead of Mercedes duo Engel and Maini, both of whom had pitted at the first opportunity.

SSR Performance’s Nicki Thiim and Porsche ace Preining ran fourth and fifth at this stage, with Thiim later overtaking Maini for third.

With rain showing no signs of abating and drivers complaining about standing water, the safety car was deployed before the red flag was waved after just 14 minutes of running.

Safety car on track

Safety car on track

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

A 15-minute delay followed before the race resumed behind the safety car, although it didn’t take long for the race control to bring proceedings to a halt again.

It wasn’t until 6pm local time that the race resumed in earnest after another three laps behind the safety car, with van der Linde fending off Engel to hold the lead.

The South African continued to extend his advantage with every passing lap, building a buffer of four seconds by lap 22 before returning to the pits to complete his mandatory stop.

As the track began to dry out, van der Linde was unchallenged at the front, taking the chequered with a 2.5s lead to celebrate his first DTM win since last year’s Red Bull Ring round.

Engel finished another four seconds clear of Preining, who benefitted from a botched pitstop for Thiim that dropped the Dane to eighth at the finish.

Engel’s team-mate Lucas Auer finished a solid fourth, having made up several places thanks to some rapid Winward pitwork, while Feller took fifth despite losing a chunk of time in the initial round of pitstops.

Sheldon van der Linde dragged his Schubert BMW from 12th on the grid to finish sixth, overcoming a long-lap penalty for an unsafe release that demoted him to 13th.

Maini ended up seventh at the finish, despite being the first of the frontrunners to pit when the rain first hit the track, as Thiim likewise took a disappointing eighth-place finish after running strongly early on.

Podium: Race winner Kelvin van der Linde, Team ABT Sportsline, second place Marco Wittmann, Schubert Motorsport, third place Thomas Preining, Manthey EMA,  Leon Wippersteg, ABT Sportsline

Podium: Race winner Kelvin van der Linde, Team ABT Sportsline, second place Marco Wittmann, Schubert Motorsport, third place Thomas Preining, Manthey EMA, Leon Wippersteg, ABT Sportsline

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

The top 10 was completed by GRT Lamborghini’s Christian Engelhart and Luca Stolz, both recovering from penalties related to pitstop infringements.

Factory Lamborghini driver Mirko Bortolotti gambled on slick tyres in an inspired call as the track began to rapidly dry out in the closing stages of the race, with the extra grip from the non-grooved rubber allowing him to rise from last with less than 20 minutes remaining to 11th at the finish.

Maximilian Paul (Paul Lamborghini), Marco Wittmann (Schubert BMW), Luca Engstler (GRT Lamborghini) and Ayhancan Guven (Manthey EMA Porsche) completed the points-scorers, the last-named crossing the finishing line with a left-rear puncture on his 911 GT3 R.

DTM Lausitzring Race 1 Result

   
1
 - 
4
   
   
1
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2
   
Cla Driver # Car Laps Time Interval Pits Points
1 South Africa K. van der Linde Abt Sportsline 3 Audi R8 LMS Evo II 38

1:34'55.081

    25
2 Germany M. Engel Mercedes-AMG Team Winward 130 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 38

+2.547

1:34'57.628

2.547   20
3 Austria T. Preining Manthey EMA 91 Porsche 911 GT3 R 38

+11.140

1:35'06.221

8.593   16
4 Austria L. Auer Mercedes-AMG Team Mann-Filter 22 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 38

+12.344

1:35'07.425

1.204   13
5 Switzerland R. Feller Abt Sportsline 7 Audi R8 LMS Evo II 38

+14.590

1:35'09.671

2.246   11
6 South Africa S. Van Der Linde Schubert Motorsport 31 BMW M4 GT3 38

+23.396

1:35'18.477

8.806   10
7 India A. Maini Mercedes-AMG Team HRT 36 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 38

+23.849

1:35'18.930

0.453   9
8 Denmark N. Thiim SSR Performance 94 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 38

+28.080

1:35'23.161

4.231   8
9 Germany C. Engelhart GRT Grasser Racing Team 63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 38

+28.422

1:35'23.503

0.342   7
10 Germany L. Stolz Mercedes-AMG Team HRT 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 38

+28.462

1:35'23.543

0.040   6
11 Italy M. Bortolotti SSR Performance 92 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 38

+34.155

1:35'29.236

5.693   5
12 Germany P. Maximilian Paul Motorsport 71 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 38

+39.967

1:35'35.048

5.812   4
13 Germany M. Wittmann Schubert Motorsport 11 BMW M4 GT3 38

+42.542

1:35'37.623

2.575   3
14 Germany L. Engstler GRT Grasser Racing Team 19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 38

+46.066

1:35'41.147

3.524   2
15 Turkey A. Güven Manthey EMA 90 Porsche 911 GT3 R 38

+52.849

1:35'47.930

6.783   1
16 United Kingdom J. Aitken Emil Frey Racing 14 Ferrari 296 GT3 38

+54.203

1:35'49.284

1.354    
17
T. Vermeulen Emil Frey Racing
69 Ferrari 296 GT3 38

+57.433

1:35'52.514

3.230    
18
B. Dörr Dörr Motorsport
25 McLaren 720S GT3 Evo 38

+1'13.449

1:36'08.530

16.016    
19 Austria C. Schmid Dörr Motorsport 85 McLaren 720S GT3 Evo 38

+1'14.535

1:36'09.616

1.086    
dnf Germany R. Rast Schubert Motorsport 33 BMW M4 GT3 23

+15 Laps

1:22'11.685

15 Laps    

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