Maximillian Götz took his second DTM victory of the season at the Norisring taking the win in his home town 7 seconds in front of Arjun Maini who becomes the first Indian to make it to the podium in DTM. Championship leader Liam Lawson finished in third just ahead of Kelvin van der Linde.
At the start, Lawson got away well in the Red Bull AF Corse Ferrari GT3 and kept Van der Linde behind him, but with the championship still to play for, the South African gambled everything into the first corner. Diving up the inside of Liam Lawson into the hairpin, Van der Linde struggled to stop the car and going too deep he was squeezed into the wall on the exit. losing all of his momentum, he dropped to seventh place whilst it was Philip Ellis starting from sixth who exited the corner in first place with Lawson following him out in second place and his Ferrari team-mate Nick Cassidy in third.
In the first corner melee, Van der Linde’s team-mate Mike Rockenfeller came away with a puncture and had to pit before the pit window opened, losing a lap to the pack. With his mandatory stop still to be taken the team chose to retire the car on the following lap. This meant the German would be in no position to help Van der Linde leaving the South African having to fight for the championship on his own.
Götz meanwhile was on a charge, starting from P5 and surviving the first corner carnage, he was making places in the field. Driving the Team HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3, he cleared Lawson who with the championship in his sights and Van der Linde down the field, was in no mood to make things unnecessarily difficult. Philip Ellis followed a couple of laps later and once in clear air Götz started to stretch his lead at the front.
With Lawson taking things easy and managing his race, things settled down up to the half way point when Ellis made a mistake at the Schöller-S. Entering the turn offline and leaving the door open that a racer like Lawson couldn’t ignore, Ellis was forced to defend on the exit and a touch between the two span Ellis out and down through the pack benefitting Van der Linde who was able to take P4.
It was now that the leaders chose to pit with Lucas Auer’s Winward Team quickly turning the Mercedes-AMG around and coming out in a net second place ahead of Liam Lawson. Lawson having pitted a lap earlier attempted to make the most of his warmer tyres and pushed Auer hard to retake the position. Van der Linde benefitted from the battle and was able to close right up to the pair and cleared Auer a lap after Lawson giving him third place on the road.
A further surprise came from Arjun Maini who, following a late pit stop, joined the fight in second place just ahead of Lawson and Van der Linde. Unfortunately Van der Linde had Nick Cassidy behind him who had yet to pit. Driving in place of Alex Albon in the Alpha Tauri Ferrari 488 GT3 and having been at the sharp end of the field through qualifying, Cassidy was not going to have any problem keeping with the leaders.
Knowing he had to keep the Ferrari behind him, Van der Linde started to lose time to Lawson who was happy to sit in third place behind Maini. In the final minutes Van der Linde upped his pace enough to put himself closer to the Lawson’s Ferrari. It wasn’t to be enough and when Cassidy finally pitted he’d done enough to come out in front of Van der Linde who had to risk everything for a second time with another lunge into the hairpin which earned a tap on the rear from Cassidy but it was enough to give fourth to Van der Linde.
The result puts Liam Lawson on 224 points, just 18 ahead of Kelvin van der Linde with Max Götz still in with a chance just one point further back. With 28 points still available the there will be a three way fight for the championship title in tomorrow’s race.
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