With the first-ever 1-2 by a brother pairing, South Africans Sheldon and Kelvin van der Linde wrote DTM history at Nürburgring. Sheldon (23) scored his third win of the season with the Schubert BMW while his brother Kelvin (26) worked his way up to finish second with the ABT Audi. Swiss Ricardo Feller (ABT Audi) rounded out the podium. DTM Nürburgring powered by Mercedes-AMG staged a quite spectacular and exciting race in the Eifel for which the spectators had to wait for hours due to persistent fog until the action got underway at 5.15pm. “That was one of the best races with hard fights for every position,” former DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller commented.
It was none other than Italian Mirko Bortolotti, the leader in the drivers’ standings going into the second half of the season, who produced the decisive moment of the race. In the battle for the lead, the Lamborghini works driver lost his patience and tapped the race-leading Red Bull AF Corse Ferrari of Brazilian Felipe Fraga into a spin, leaving both drivers without any points. For the incident, Bortolotti incurred a grid penalty of five places for his next race. From third place, Sheldon van der Linde moved up into the lead from his brother Kelvin, who had been only 20th after the opening lap of the race. Sheldon then brought his third win of the season home in commanding fashion while Kelvin van der Linde secured his first podium result of the season. With 105 points, Sheldon van der Linde claimed back the lead in the drivers’ standings, now 16 points ahead of Bortolotti. René Rast (GER, 81), who finished only ninth with the ABT Audi after a turbulent race, remains third in the standings.
“I am absolutely speechless. That has always been our common goal, being together on the podium one day. Today, this dream came true,” an overjoyed Sheldon van der Linde said. “That is what dreams are made of. It is unbelievable,” said an equally happy Kelvin, and added with a smile: “Perhaps next time, the order should be reversed.” The two amicable DTM stars already get their next opportunity on Sunday.
Qualifying in the morning having been called off due to fog, the drivers’ standings determined the starting order. As a result, Bortolotti and Sheldon van der Linde lined up on the front row. On a partly damp track, the 28 DTM drivers made a disciplined start. Bortolotti initially led from van der Linde and Rast. However, it was Fraga who had the best getaway from sixth on the grid. The Brazilian moved past Bortolotti to take the lead while still on the opening lap. The action intensified soon, several drivers retired after incidents. Another one to write DTM history was 17-year-old Theo Oeverhaus, who finished 19th with the Walkenhorst BMW in his maiden race as the youngest driver in history of the series.
As an appreciation for staying out and waiting so long, DTM has invited all the holders of a Saturday one-day ticket to the Sunday race with free tickets including paddock access. On Sunday, with summerly weather having been forecast, a total of seven races is scheduled. The tenth race of the season, also the 90th DTM race at the ‘Ring, gets underway at 1.30 CEST