Hockenheim DTM: Van der Linde wins to draw level with Lawson

Audi driver Kelvin van der Linde converted pole to victory over Alex Albon in the first DTM race at Hockenheim, drawing himself level with pre-event championship leader Liam Lawson.

Hockenheim DTM: Van der Linde wins to draw level with Lawson

Van der Linde was largely untroubled on his way to a fourth win of the year in his Abt Sportsline R8 LMS GT3 and wiped out his 15-point deficit to Red Bull junior Lawson, who could only finish fourth in his AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3.

South African ace Van der Linde's cause was helped on the first lap when GetSpeed Mercedes driver Arjun Maini misjudged his braking point into the Turn 6 hairpin and clattered into second-placed Lucas Auer's identical Winward example, which brought out the safety car.

Lawson, who had lost out to Maini by banging wheels with Maximilian Gotz as they exited Turn 2 on the opening tour, took the restart in third behind Gotz's HRT Mercedes and both cars pitted immediately when the window opened at the end of lap five.

But their hopes of undercutting van der Linde - who had built a small gap for himself at the restart - were short-lived and the Audi emerged well clear of the chasing duo when he came in one lap later.

As Gotz slipped back to fifth, complaining of brake problems, Albon was on a charge from his lowly ninth position on the grid.

The 2022 Williams Formula 1 signing made a relatively late pitstop on lap 12, but eight laps later muscled past the early-stopping Lawson into Turn 6 for his fourth podium of the season.

Despite starting only 17th, 2013 DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller completed the podium by passing Lawson on the final lap to further aid team-mate van der Linde’s title bid.

Alex Albon, AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Alex Albon, AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Photo by: DTM

Stopping for new tyres just 11 laps from the finish, Rockenfeller picked up drivers one by one in the final stages of the race and Lawson was unable to repel his challenge into Turn 8.

Behind Gotz, Esteban Muth finished an excellent sixth in the lead T3 Lamborghini ahead of the Mercedes cars of Dani Juncadella (GruppeM), Philip Ellis (Winward) and Vincent Abril (HRT).

The top 10 was rounded out by Rowe Racing’s Timo Glock, the BMW driver bagging the final point following a long tussle with the Mucke Motorsport of debutant Marvin Dienst.

Making his maiden appearance in the DTM in a fourth Abt-run Audi, Lucas di Grassi finished in 15th place behind another guest driver - HRT Mercedes team boss Hubert Haupt.

Having entered the weekend second in points, two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann’s title hopes took a big hit after he was forced to retire his Walkenhorst BMW with accidental damage.

He had slipped from 13th to 17th after damaging his car in the opening lap incident between Auer and Maini and could never recover thereafter, bringing his car into the pits on lap 24 while running outside the points.

Race results:

Cla Driver Car Gap
1 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Evo  
2 Thailand Alex Albon Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 5.886
3 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS Evo 15.601
4 New Zealand Liam Lawson Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 17.233
5 Germany Maximilian Götz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 17.940
6 Belgium Esteban Muth BMW M6 GT3 18.779
7 Spain Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 19.966
8 United Kingdom Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 21.119
9 France Vincent Abril Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 28.817
10 Germany Timo Glock BMW M6 GT3 36.432
11 Germany Marvin Dienst Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 39.674
12 Germany Sophia Flörsch Audi R8 LMS Evo 40.662
13 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 44.633
14 Germany Hubert Haupt Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 46.641
15 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'02.029
16 United States Dev Gore Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'03.246
  Switzerland Nico Müller Audi R8 LMS Evo 9 Laps
  South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M6 GT3 10 Laps
  Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M6 GT3 12 Laps
  Austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 31 Laps
  India Arjun Maini Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo  
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