Nurburgring DTM: Van der Linde extends lead with commanding win

Factory Audi driver Kelvin van der Linde extended his lead in the DTM drivers’ standings after converting pole position into a third victory of the 2021 season at the Nurburgring.

Nurburgring DTM: Van der Linde extends lead with commanding win

At the start, van der Linde had to work hard to fend off Philip Ellis and Marco Wittmann, the trio running three-wide on the run down to Turn 1.

The Abt Sportsline driver held onto the lead as Wittmann backed out of the battle and Ellis was forced wide into Turn 1, but he had to do it again after the safety car was deployed to recover the stranded Mucke Mercedes of Maximilian Buhk.

At the restart, Ellis was again the quicker of the two but the inside line played into the advantage of van der Linde, who again fended off the Winward Mercedes driver's advances to stay ahead.

Having dissipated the initial threat from Ellis, van der Linde had a trouble-free run to the chequered flag, taking the finish with a five-second advantage over the Toksport Mercedes of Luca Stolz and Ellis.

GT3 regular Stolz was the most impressive of the series newcomers at the Nurburgring, qualifying a strong fifth on the grid jumping to third early on, before finishing second ahead of Lausitzring winner Ellis.

Ellis ran second for much of the race but had to give back a place to an out-of-position Alex Albon after cutting the final chicane, also dropping behind Stolz in the process.

Mike Rockenfeller completed an impressive charge from 16th to fourth in the second Abt Audi, aided by a long first stint that allowed him to run in clear air until lap 32 of 40.

Philip Ellis, Mercedes AMG Team Winward Mercedes AMG GT3

Philip Ellis, Mercedes AMG Team Winward Mercedes AMG GT3

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

A fifth place finish for HRT Mercedes driver Maximilian Gotz moved him up to second in the DTM standings, as Wittmann wound up sixth in a Walkenhorst BMW saddled with 25kg of success ballast.

Sheldon van der Linde crossed the line in seventh in the Rowe Racing BMW, having started 18th on the grid.

Last year’s DTM runner-up Nico Muller delivered an impressive recovery drive after qualifying down in 17th place - one spot behind Rockenfeller - but two five-second penalties for separate infringements left the Team Rosberg driver eighth at the finish.

Completing the top 10 were Mercedes Daniel Juncadella (GruppeM) and Arjun Maini (GetSpeed), the latter bagging his first point in the DTM.

The Red Bull Ferrari team endured its worst outing in the DTM, with both Liam Lawson and Albon failing to finish in the points after being involved in separate collisions.

Lawson was running inside the top 10 when he was pitched into a spin by DTM returnee Markus Winkelhock at Turn 2, dropping to the rear of the pack.

Lawson could only recover to 13th after the incident while Winkelhock was hit with a drive-through penalty for causing the collision.

Albon, meanwhile, was also forced into a spin after being tapped by Maini at the same corner earlier in the race, and was later forced into retirement with what appeared to be a technical problem.

Liam Lawson, AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Liam Lawson, AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Porsche’s DTM debut ended in retirement after Michael Ammermuller suffered terminal damage to the front splitter of his 911 GT3 R in the opening laps.

Several other DTM newcomers or returnees also had a difficult time at the Nurburgring, with Christopher Haase - replacing Dev Gore at Team Rosberg - also suffering a DNF due to accidental damage.

Winkelhock was only 16th after serving his drive-through, denying the Abt team a chance of a triple points finish, while Christian Klien could only finish 15th in the JP Motorsport McLaren after having to run wide to avoid the stranded Ferrari of Albon.

Race results:

Cla # Driver Car Gap
1 3 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Evo  
2 7 Germany Luca Stolz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 4.749
3 57 United Kingdom Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 13.503
4 9 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS Evo 14.050
5 4 Germany Maximilian Götz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 23.676
6 11 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M6 GT3 29.262
7 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M6 GT3 33.058
8 51 Switzerland Nico Müller Audi R8 LMS Evo 34.495
9 8 Spain Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 34.723
10 36 India Arjun Maini Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 39.935
11 22 Austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 44.411
12 5 France Vincent Abril Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 45.788
13 30 New Zealand Liam Lawson Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 46.588
14 10 Belgium Esteban Muth Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 49.722
15 15 Austria Christian Klien McLaren 720S GT3 50.162
16 99 Germany Markus Winkelhock Audi R8 LMS Evo 50.449
17 26 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 56.459
18 6 Germany Hubert Haupt Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 57.599
19 16 Germany Timo Glock BMW M6 GT3 1'09.126
20 23 Thailand Alex Albon Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 8 Laps
21 92 Michael Ammermüller Porsche 911 GT3 R 34 Laps
22 12 Germany Christopher Haase Audi R8 LMS Evo 39 Laps
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Nurburgring DTM: Van der Linde storms to third pole of 2021

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