Christian Engelhart led a Porsche top four in the second race of the DTM at Oschersleben. The win for the #99 Toksport WRT Porsche 992 GT3R came towards the German after he made a late pitstop to slot into second place, followed by a penalty for #91 Manthey EMA Porsche 992 GT3R pilot Thomas Preining who up to that point seemed unbeatable.
DTM OSCHERSLEBEN | RACE 1 REPORT | RACE 2 REPORT
A full Porsche front row stormed to the green for the second race of the weekend with Thomas Preining coming out of the first corner leading the #63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Clemens Schmid – the Austrian beating the #9 Toksport WRT Porsche 992 GT3R of Tim Heinemann at the start. Preining’s #90 Manthey EMA Porsche teammate Dennis Olsen slotted in in fourth place, taking the position from Mirko Bortolotti in the #92 SSR Performance Lamborghini Huracán GT3 who started alongside Schmid.
Some pushing and shoving marked the opening phase, most notably between Sheldon van der Linde and Ricardo Feller brawling over twelfth place, however, the racing remained hard but fair.
In similar fashion to Franck Perera the day before – the Frenchman now starting from eighteenth after struggling in Qualifying 2 and never being a competitor for the top positions today – Preining immediately began to open a slight gap to second place.
The first retirement came ten minutes into the race in spectacular fashion when René Rast in tenth place had his #33 Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 GT3’s right rear wheel rim broke in the fast Triple lefthander. Stranded in the gravel, the Safety Car was called to bunch up the field.
Preining showed himself unfazed at the restart, timing his getaway perfectly and leaving Schmid to unsuccessfully fend off Heinemann who reclaimed second place when the Austrian missed the apex in the first turn.
With 33 minutes to go, Preining and Schmid made their mandatory stop, leaving Heinemann to lead the race for a single lap until he, too, stopped.
The little time gained launched Heinemann out of the pits ahead of Preining, but on cold tyres could hold Preining behind for only a few turners. Olsen, close on Heinemann’s rear bumper, need a little more to get through: a small tap to the #9 Porsche’s rear gave the Norwegian the position, but only momentarily as Heinemann quickly retook it.
A late stop by the #99 Toksport WRT Porsche 992 GT3R of Christian Engelhart proved to be a master stroke: returning on track between the Porsches of Preining and Heinemann, Engelhart took second place to complete a full Porsche top four. Luca Stolz at that moment was still leading the race with a pitstop to be made, but an engine failure forced the #4 Mercedes-AMG HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 into the pits to never come back out.
The closing of the pit window meant race control could bring out the Safety Car for the second time to recover the #3 Abt Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Kelvin van der Linde who had come to a halt earlier with a broken transmission.
Again, Preining was away quickest at the green, but it would not be his lucky day: a pitstop infringement – one of the Manthey pit crew members illegally rested the tyre on the ground as he entered the pit box – cost him a drive through the penalty box. Despite pushing hard following the restart, the time lost threw him back to third place behind new race leader Engelhart and second-placed Heinemann. From there, the race settled into a sprint to the finish with Christian Engelhart scoring his first DTM victory.
Rising star Tim Heinemann finished second for the second time this weekend, taking the lead in the championship with ten points over Perera while a disillusioned Preining was left with third.
Dennis Olsen rounded out the Porsche top four ahead of Clemens Schmid, followed by Mirko Bortolotti in sixth.
Feller, who had anything but a clean race getting into several door-to-door fights – and bashes – with Sheldon van der Linde and Ayhancan Güven, finished seventh.
The top ten was rounded out by Jusuf Owega, Laurin Heinrich and Lucas Auer.
DTM’s next visit is in the weekend of 24-25 June when Circuit Zandvoort returns to the schedule for the first time since 2018.
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