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Race report
DTM Zandvoort

DTM Zandvoort: Feller dominates as Audi scores first win of 2023

Abt driver Ricardo Feller made it four different winners from four races in the 2023 DTM season with a dominant performance on Sunday at Zandvoort.

With Audi having been handed a 20kg weight reduction overnight, Feller was able to take pole position in a red-flagged qualifying and then lead every lap en route to a second career win at the Dutch venue.

Manthey EMA’s Thomas Preining finished 2.7s behind Feller to score his second podium of the season, while HRT Mercedes driver Luca Stolz rounded out the rostrum spots after holding off Project 1 BMW rival Marco Wittmann.

At the start of the race, Feller pulled away cleanly from pole position in his Audi, while Saturday winner Maro Engel got the jump on Preining to move up to second.

By the end of lap 1, Feller’s advantage over Engel was already over a second, as he aimed to replicate the strategy that helped the Landgraf Mercedes driver claim victory in the opening race of the weekend.

In a repeat of Engel’s performance, Feller extended his advantage to well over three seconds by the time the pit windows opened after 20 minutes of racing, and finally took his mandatory stop at the end of lap 19 along with Engel.

Feller emerged on track with a reduced two-second lead over Preining, who had managed to undercut Engel, but was able to get his tyres quickly up to temperature and prevent his Porsche rival from closing up on him.

From there on, Feller enjoyed an untroubled run to the chequered flag, claiming his first victory in the DTM since the opening race at Imola last year.

Stolz jumped Wittmann in the pits and resisted the advances of the two-time champion in the battle for the final spot of the podium, finishing just 0.249 clear after 39 laps of racing.

Podium: Race winner Ricardo Feller, Team ABT Sportsline

Podium: Race winner Ricardo Feller, Team ABT Sportsline

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Engel’s decision to delay his stop until lap 19 backfired as he was not only overhauled in the pits by Preining, but also lost places to both Stolz and Wittmann on his out-lap on cold tyres.

With 20kg of success ballast on his car, the German driver was unable to take advantage of fresher tyres to close back on them, eventually finishing several seconds down in fifth.

Feller’s team-mate Kelvin van der Linde enjoyed a strong run to sixth from 12th on the grid, making some bold moves on both sides of his pitstop to secure a double top-10 finish for the Abt team.

Ayhancan Guven finished seventh for the Bernhard Porsche team, while Patric Niederhauser finished eighth in the Orange1 Audi after picking up a long-lap penalty for an unsafe release - Niederhauser’s car having been released to the fast lane in the path of van der Linde.

Dennis Olsen came home ninth for Manthey EMA, while reigning champion Sheldon van der Linde recovered from an underwhelming qualifying to complete the top 10 in the Schubert BMW.

There was also some consolation for Lamborghini after a woeful qualifying session for the Italian manufacturer, with SSR Performance’s Mirko Bortolotti climbing from 19th on the grid to finish 11th.

Christian Engelhart (Toksport WRT Porsche), Mattia Drudi (Orange1 Audi), Franck Perera (SSR Performance) and Luca Ensgtler (Engstler Audi) rounded out the points scorers.

Team Bernhard’s Luca Heinrich ran as high as fourth in the first stint but finished a lap down after spinning at the bottom of the banking after his pitstop.

Albert Costa, substituting for Jack Aitken at Emil Frey Ferrari, parked his car coming out of Turn 4 with what appeared to be a technical issue, while Winward’s Lucas Auer retired on the opening lap after his Mercedes was damaged in a startline incident with Sheldon van der Linde’s BMW.

DTM Zandvoort - Race 2 race results (39 laps):

Cla Driver Car Time
1 Switzerland Ricardo Feller Audi R8 LMS Evo II -
2 Austria Thomas Preining Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 2.719
3 Germany Luca Stolz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 3.821
4 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M4 GT3 0.249
5 Germany Maro Engel Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 4.055
6 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Evo II 0.883
7 Turkey Ayhancan Güven Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 3.865
8 Switzerland Patric Niederhauser Audi R8 LMS Evo II 0.570
9 Norway Dennis Olsen Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 0.825
10 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M4 GT3 1.435
11 Italy Mirko Bortolotti Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 7.402
12 Germany Christian Engelhart Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 0.731
13 Italy Mattia Drudi Audi R8 LMS Evo II 1.462
14 Frank Perera Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 1.808
15 Germany Luca Engstler Audi R8 LMS Evo II 1.038
16 Germany David Schumacher Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 7.903
17 Tim Heinemann Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 7.777
18 India Arjun Maini Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 0.605
  Austria Clemens Schmid Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 17 laps
  Austria Mick Wishofer Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 8.903
  Thierry Vermeulen Ferrari 296 GT3 3 laps
  Germany Laurin Heinrich Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 1 lap
  United Kingdom Jack Aitken Ferrari 296 GT3 1 lap
  Jusuf Owega Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1 lap
  Italy Alessio Deledda Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2 2 laps
  Germany René Rast BMW M4 GT3 11 laps
  Austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 2 laps

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