Luca Stolz took his first DTM race win on Sunday at the Nürburgring. The #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 driver was sent out of the pits in front of his rivals after which he drove off to victory.
DTM NÜRBURGRING | LIVESTREAM | PRACTICE REPORT | QUALIFYING 1 CANCELLED | RACE 1 START ON HOLD | RACE 1 REPORT | SATURDAY GALLERY | QUALIFYING 2 REPORT | RACE 2 REPORT | INTERVIEW LUCA STOLZ
A tight but clean start saw Sheldon van der Linde keep the lead, while his brother starting in second place dropped back to fourth behind Philipp Eng and Dennis Olsen. The #3 Team Abt Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3 driver lost a few more position going into the next lap when Thomas Preining dove down the inside at the first corner, shoving the South African aside and taking fourth, followed by Luca Stolz making the move for fifth place and demoting Van der Linde to sixth.
Chaos followed shortly after when David Schumacher and René Rast came together in the last corner in what looked like a mirror image of the Bortolotti-Fraga accident from the day before. With a frustrated and angry Rast stuck in the gravel, the safety car came out.
Under caution, nearly the whole field opted to make their mandatory pitstop at the first opportunity. Philipp Eng and Laurens Vanthoor, however, had to let their better-placed teammates go first and were forced to wait another lap which dropped them out of contention for the win.
Having not made his pitstop yet, 17-year-old debutant Theo Oeverhaus led the field back to green but was swallowed up in the AMG Arena by the much more experienced competitors.
The restart saw drama for Philipp Eng and Clemens Schmid as they came together after Schmid was hit from behind by Felipe Fraga going into the Goodyear-Spange. Both cars went off-track and were forced to retire while Fraga was given a five-second time penalty.
Mercedes-AMG Team HRT’s brilliantly fast pitstop for the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 allowed Luca Stolz to pick up the lead at the restart and slowly begin to build the gap to Dennis Olsen who in turn was moving away from Lucas Auer.
Sheldon van der Linde at that point was no longer in the hunt for the win. Having fallen behind Stolz after the pitstops, the #31 Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 driver suffered a poor restart, costing him a handful of places. Halfway into the race he was running in tenth place, having slowly dropped down the order.
Behind Auer in third, Kelvin van der Linde was defending from Mirko Bortolotti who seemed eager to make up for his mistake in the first race. Despite Bortolotti’s best efforts from restart to finish, the Lamborghini found no way around the Audi. With three laps to go, Bortolotti made a late move exiting the AMG Arena. Hitting the Audi, Bortolotti damaged the left rear of his Lambo ending his weekend with zero points while Van der Linde continued to finish fourth.
Stolz, meanwhile, held steady in the lead, and without opposition raced to the finish for his first win in the DTM championship. The German crossed the line ahead of the #94 SSR Performance Porsche 991.2 GT3R of Dennis Olsen with Auer in the #22 Mercedes-AMG Team Winward completing the podium.
Kelvin van der Linde finished in fourth place. Maximilian Götz took fifth, in front of Nico Müller, Thomas Preining, Mikael Grenier, Sheldon van der Linde and Marco Wittmann.
The DTM moves to the race track next doors in two weeks, visiting Spa-Francorchamps on 9 to 11 September for the sixth round of the championship.
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