Sheldon van der Linde bounced back from a disappointing 2021 DTM campaign with a dominant victory in race 1 of the DTM at the Lausitzring  Turn 1 Powered By Autohero. A start to finish victory which included claiming the fastest lap saw the South African up to P3 in the championship standings. Having started from pole last year but only able to finish in P5, Van der Linde in the #31 Schubert Motorsport, BMW was hoping for a better result in 2022 where he didn’t claim a single victory.

Pole position went to Lucas Auer who scored his debut DTM win at the Lausitzring back in 2016 but the Austrian, driving the #22 Mercedes-AMG Team Winward Mercedes, had a poor start that saw him lose first place to Van der Linde.

The South African had promised Auer prior to the race that he would be filling his mirrors at turn 2 but instead he took the lead into turn 1 powering around the outside of Auer who dropped to second and Luca Stolz in the #4 Team HRT Mercedes taking P3. Maro Engel having started from third place had the worst start and dropped down the field to P7.

There were no such problems at the front for Van der Linde in the #31 Schubert Motorsport BMW and he quickly pulled out a lead of over 2 seconds to Auer.

At the pit window race leader Van der Linde stayed out for an extra lap whilst the four cars behind him chose to stop immediately.  Luca Stolz was the big winner benefitting from a quick pit stop from the HRT team which got his Mercedes turned around and out allowing him to leapfrog Lucas Auer in the stop and up the leader board to P2.

With 30 minutes to go an unexpected rain shower hit the track and with it the promise of mixing up the field with still a number of cars due to stop. However the rain failed to make any impact with the heaviest shower coming after the chequered flag.

With the leaders now further down the field following their pit stops, the battle on the road at the front was between Marco Wittman and Nick Cassidy. Cassidy’s Ferrari was leading but Wittman in a Mercedes was pushing him hard and for several laps the pair were nose to tail but Cassidy was up to the challenge from Wittman. Following the pit stops Wittman dropped down the field and was another who was eventually forced to retire with mechanical issues.

For Van der Linde at the front, who despite exiting the pits only just ahead of second placed Luca Stolz, was able to defend his position in the first corners before getting his tyres up to temperature and pulling out a lead of several seconds which he held to the end.

Stolz followed him home in second place with Auer finishing third. Arjun Maini took P4 ahead of Maro Engel. Championship leader Mirko Bortolotti finished in sixth place having started the race in P9 having  apparently been more distracted by AC Milan’s upcoming title hopes.

The result jumped Auer to the top of the championship points table giving him 44 points and placing him 1 point ahead of this morning’s leader, Bortolotti. Sheldon van der Linde also leapt up the standings to third place on 38 points with Luca Stolz close behind on 37 points. There followed a nine point gap back to Nico Müller who failed to finish the race so stays on 28 points but still well ahead of Felipe Fraga on 20 points. Joint with Fraga also on 20 points is 2021 champion Kelvin van der Linde who had a miserable race which saw him take a trip through the gravel on lap two before finally retiring in the second half.

Race 2 of the DTM weekend takes place on Sunday at 13:30 CET (12:30 BST) with qualifying taking place at 10:05 CET (09:05 BST).


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