Connect with us


Van der Linde Ready to “Hit the Ground Running” at Title Decider

DTM leader Sheldon van der Linde says Schubert found “good baseline” for Hockenheim in recent test…

Photo: Hoch Zwei

DTM leader Sheldon van der Linde says he and the Schubert Motorsport BMW team are ready to “hit the ground running” at Hockenheim for this weekend’s title decider.

Van der Linde holds an 11-point advantage at the top of the DTM standings, with his nearest challenger Lucas Auer closely followed by Rene Rast, Thomas Preining and Mirko Bortolotti.

However, the South African had only his second non-points scoring event of the year in the previous round at the Red Bull Ring, where he finished 11th in both races. The wet second race saw van der Linde receive a grid penalty before spinning on the third lap.

Speaking ahead of the deciding round of the season, van der Linde said that the Red Bull Ring outcome has had “no impact” on his approach to Hockenheim, despite the points lead being reduced.

Van der Linde was one of several DTM drivers to test at Hockenheim last week in preparation for the championship showdown.

“This year we’ve had to live race to race, because of the strengths [being] different on every car,” he told Sportscar365.

“Things have been constantly changing. So for me, it doesn’t change anything at all. I’m just as motivated as before, if not even more, to really turn things around again this weekend.

“We’ve addressed a good car in Hockenheim. I think we made some good steps in the test and found a good baseline setup, so we can really hit the ground running on Friday, which is the most important thing for us.

“It means that on Friday we can just focus on the most important things.”

Van der Linde’s season with Schubert has been a complete reversal in fortunes compared to last year when he finished 11th in the table and encountered seven retirements in his ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3.

He pinpointed the second round of this year’s campaign at the Lausitzring as the moment when he realized that he could go on to become a title contender in his fourth DTM term.

“The second event was amazing for me, with the double win,” said van der Linde.

“We scored maximum points and from that moment on, it just hit us on a good path forward. We knew that we were in contention, just because we scored so many points in one weekend.

“I think, for me, that was the strongest weekend and is a factor for us today being in the mix.

“Norisring was our off-weekend. Just pretty simple: we didn’t get it right [and] the car wasn’t suited to the track.

“As a team, we didn’t get our baseline setup right. There was very limited running; it was raining. We were limited in getting the car in the right direction, so that was our weakness

“I think Red Bull Ring was not our weekend for different reasons.”

Putting the tougher events of the year behind him, van der Linde added that he is trying not to place extra mental weight on the increased pressure of the season finale.

Van der Linde’s previous-best finish in a DTM season was sixth in 2020, during the turbocharged Class 1 era.

“It’s great to head into race week with a very big motivation this weekend,” he said.

“I’ve been trying to really reset and take my time, approaching this like any other weekend.

“That is what’s made us so strong this year. We’ve approached every weekend as a separate one, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

Click to comment

More in DTM