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Preining Wins as Only 11 Cars Finish at Norisring

Thomas Preining survives race of attrition to win as more than half the field retires…

Photo: DTM

Thomas Preining took his maiden DTM victory during Saturday’s race at Norisring in a chaotic race that saw less than half the field make the checkered flag after multiple incidents.

Preining took victory behind the wheel of the No. 24 KUS Team Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3 R, surviving a race of heavy attrition to score his first victory in the series after starting from second place.

The opening lap immediately saw drama as Franck Perera collided with Arjun Maini, with the resulting chaos eliminating championship leader Sheldon van der Linde, as well as Nico Mueller, David Schumacher, Marco Wittmann, Dev Gore and Maxi Buhk

Mirko Bortolotti, who started at the back after a post-qualifying penalty, was also involved but able to carry on.

After the safety car restart, Preining was able to surpass polesitter Kelvin van der Linde at turn one prior to another caution when a collision between Esteban Muth, Alessio Deledda and Perera took out all three cars.

During the ensuing pitstops under caution, Preining lost the lead to the No. 3 Abt Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II of Rene Rast, while a slower stop dropped Van der Linde to third position.

Once the race restarted once more, Preining swiftly recaptured the lead from Rast while Van der Linde dropped back further when Dennis Olsen captured third place.

This time, the race remained green less for less than a lap when contact between Bortolotti and Maro Engel left the latter to crash into the barrier hard on approach to turn six.

Yet another safety car came out not much later, as two separate incidents on lap 29 took out Ayhancan Guven, Lucas Auer and Kelvin van der Linde as well as Bortolotti.

With just 11 cars remaining, Preining was able to pull away from Rast, who himself sustained damage after multiple moments of contact with the SSR Performance Porsche of Dennis Olsen.

Olsen, with the nose of his car heavily damaged, was able to secure second place on the penultimate lap while Rast completed the podium.

Laurens Vanthoor finished fourth, ahead of Maro Engel, Maximilian Goetz and Luca Stolz.

Stolz passed Ricardo Feller in a late battle, with the Swiss driver finishing eighth ahead of Mikael Grenier and Clemens Schmid.

Marius Zug, who finished eleventh, was the last classified finisher.

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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