Sheldon van der Linde scored a double victory in the DTM at the Lausitzring bringing his #31 Schubert Motorsport BMW home just three tenths of a second ahead of Maro Engel in the #88 Gruppe M Mercedes who pushed the South African in the closing stages. René Rast finished third, his #33 Team ABT Audi just behind the leading pair.
Van der Linde got away cleanly at the start however behind him Maro Engel had a better start than yesterday and was up to second ahead of René Rast. Mirko Bortolotti in the #63 GRT Lamborghini also fancied a go at second place so as they approached turn 2 it was a contest between the three drivers.
Engel was squeezed and slight contact with Bortolotti took him onto the grass but as the next right hander approached he was forced to cut the corner and rejoin. He was still infront of the pack but the manoeuvre caused Bortolotti to hit the brakes hard to avoid a second contact. Rast was able to keep his Audi out of trouble and bided his time to get back in front of Bortolotti as they went through turn 1 for the second time.
At the pit stop window Engel was the first of the leaders to stop with the remaining top 4 continuing until a couple of laps later. As they exited Rast was able to jump Engel but with his tyres not up to temperature it was easy for the #88 Mercedes to drive around Rast’s Audi at turn 2.
Philipp Eng in the second Schubert Motorsport BMW was another winner in the pit stops coming in from P7 and jumping two places to P5 before fighting his way up to fourth place. Behind him Nico Müller in the #51 Team Rosberg Audi had also got ahead of Bortolotti and the pair were closing in on Eng’s #25 BMW. As the pair squabbled, Eng was able to pull away a little and before long the fight between Müller and Bortolotti was joined by Nick Cassidy in the Red Bull Alpha Tauri AF Corse Ferrari. Cassidy sat at the tail of the four car train until the final 4 minutes when a mechanical issue forced his retirement.
Elsewhere Laurens Vanthoor in the #92 SSR Performance Porsche and Marco Wittmann in the #11 Walkenhorst BMW were having a battle of their own. A late lunge from Wittmann saw the pair off the track and Lucas Auer gaining two places at their expense. Vanthoor took his revenge several laps later with a much cleaner move at the same spot up the inside of Wittmann who had no answer to the Belgian.
At the front carrying extra success ballast, Van der Linde was finding it harder to run away and hide as he did yesterday. As the race went on Engel started to reel in the red BMW but he was pushing hard and admitted after the race to nearly losing the car on the second to last lap. It wasn’t enough and Van der Linde held on to take the win by 3 tenths of a second giving him his second win of the weekend and securing the lead in the championship.
With 66 points in the bank after four races, Van der Linde is 15 points ahead of Mirko Bortolotti with Lucas Auer in third place on 48 points.
Schubert Motorsport hold the lead in the team’s championship with a 79 point lead ahead of GRT on 51. The Mercedes teams are fighting it out for P3 with Team Winward and HRT level on 48 points.
The next race in the DTM Championship will be at Imola on the 17th to the 19th June.
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