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Van der Linde Wins Delayed Saturday Race

Sheldon van der Linde beats brother to win delayed Saturday race as Bortolotti, Fraga clash…

Photo: Hoch Zwei

Sheldon van der Linde won a long-delayed Saturday DTM race at the Nürburgring, capturing the race lead after a lead battle between Felipe Fraga and Mirko Bortolotti ended in contact.

The South African took victory ahead of his brother Kelvin in a race that started nearly four hours after the intended start time.

Cars sat on the grid for a lengthy period as the Nürburgring sat covered in fog with the race suspended indefinitely before race control deemed it safe to start after 5:15 p.m. local time.

Once the race started, pole sitter Mirko Bortolotti lost the lead on the opening lap to the No. 74 Red Bull AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of Felipe Fraga.

Fraga maintained the lead until the stops, where he briefly fell behind Bortolotti’s No. 63 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo when the Italian pitted a lap later and came back on track ahead of the Ferrari.

However, Fraga was able to regain the race lead on the same lap before Bortolotti closed the gap back down.

The Lamborghini then lunged up the inside of Fraga’s Ferrari into the final corner with 11 minutes to go, spinning out both cars and allowing Van der Linde to move by and take the lead of the race.

The No. 31 Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 then held off the No. 3 Abt Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, taking his third victory of the season and the championship lead in the process.

Behind them, Ricardo Feller won a late battle for third place and completing the podium, finishing ahead of Maximilian Goetz in fourth.

Lucas Auer completed the top five, ahead of Philipp Eng in sixth and Nick Cassidy in seventh.

Eng secured sixth place after a contact-heavy battle with both Cassidy and Rene Rast in the closing minutes, leaving the latter with damage to his Audi and dropping back to ninth behind Marco Wittmann.

Rast endured a challenging race and made contact multiple times, coming to blows with Nico Mueller, Dennis Olsen and Laurens Vanthoor in various incidents throughout the course of the race.

He remained clear of Mikael Grenier, who beat Maxi Buhk, Clemens Schmid and Esteban Muth to the last championship point in tenth position.

RESULTS: Race 1

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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