Firstly wide awake, then fully focussed and in commanding fashion at the end: Sheldon van der Linde has won the DTM race at DEKRA Lausitzring Turn 1 powered by Autohero. For the South African, racing for the Schubert Motorsport team, it was his second victory in DTM and the first for the new BMW M4 in the anniversary year of the Bavarian manufacturer, celebrating 50 years of BMW M in 2022. Luca Stolz (GER) came second with the HRT Mercedes-AMG from Lucas Auer (AUT) with the WINWARD Mercedes-AMG and Indian Arjun Maini with the second HRT Mercedes-AMG. Maro Engel (GER, GruppeM Mercedes-AMG) finished fifth.
As a result, Austrian Auer moves up into the lead in the drivers’ standings with 44 points from Mirko Bortolotti (ITA/GRT Lamborghini), who has one point less on his tally. With 38 points, Sheldon van der Linde follows in third, the driver also having secured the Autohero Fastest Lap Award and therefore an additional championship point on Saturday.
For van der Linde, whose elder brother Kelvin (ABT Audi) was one of nine drivers not to make it to the finish of the race, an absolute rocket start was the key to victory. In the acceleration duel towards Turn 1, the BMW driver pipped Auer, who started from pole position and went on to defend his first place until the finish in a commanding way. “I could do nothing against Sheldon. Unfortunately, our pit stop wasn’t perfect either,” Auer summed up. Van der Linde, meanwhile, was overjoyed: “Last year was very tough for me, I often not even made it to the finish. Winning again now, two years after my maiden DTM race win, is outstanding, of course.”
The numerous spectators at the track got to see a lot of racing action with exciting duels particularly behind the leader, the packed field battling wheel to wheel again and again. Especially the banked corner Turn 1, through which the DTM stars are roaring at almost 250 km/h, frequently provided spectacular images. The championship leader after the season opening weekend at Portimão, Mirko Bortolotti, ended up scoring valuable points by finishing sixth. Behind him, Laurens Vanthoor (BEL) was classified with the best-placed Porsche (SSR Performance) from René Rast (GER) with the best ABT Sportsline Audi and AlphaTauri AF Corse Ferrari driver Nick Cassidy (NZL). Last year’s champion Maximilian Götz (GER/WINWARD Mercedes-AMG) still scored one point for finishing tenth.
Second-placed Luca Stolz is already looking forward to the next race at Lausitzring Turn 1 powered by Autohero on Sunday: “There were stil two AMG drivers who were faster than me in qualifying, that is something I would like to change on Sunday.” Good for the fans: the other 28 drivers want to improve compared to Saturday, too, so action remains guaranteed in DTM on Sunday (start at 1.30pm CEST, live on ProSieben from 1pm) as well.