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Van der Linde Wins Rain-Hit, Red-Flagged Lausitzring Race 1

Heavy rain leads to two red flags for DTM race 1 at Lausitzring; ABT Audi victorious…

Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Kelvin van der Linde took his first DTM victory of the season by coming out on top in Race 1 at the Lausitzring in a contest that was red-flagged twice because of heavy rainfall.

The South African driver, who started from pole aboard the No. 3 ABT Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, crossed the line 2.547 seconds clear of Maro Engel.

Van der Linde maintained control of the race even as heavy rainfall resulted in the race being stopped twice.

After racing initially began in dry conditions, rain began to fall in the opening minutes after which the entire 20-car field came in to change to wet tires.

A decision to pit early paid particular dividends for Engel, whose No. 130 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo catapulted up the order and slotted into second place when the pitstop cycle was complete.

Minutes later, the safety car was called as increasing rainfall caused unsafe conditions, which was upgraded to a red flag just three minutes after that.

An initial attempt to restart behind the safety car was then called off with the emergence of a second red flag, with the race eventually resuming at 5:54 p.m. CEST (11:54 a.m. EDT).

This was after the race already started several hours later than the traditional 1:30 p.m. CEST start time as a result of a change in TV schedule for the German-language broadcast partner ProSieben.

After the race resumed, the pitstop window was delayed but the vast majority of the field opted to remain on wet tires when they eventually came in.

Out front, Van der Linde maintained his advantage over Engel to secure his first victory of the season, with reigning champion Thomas Preining completing the podium for Manthey EMA.

Engel’s Winward stablemate Lucas Auer finished fourth, ahead of Ricardo Feller, Sheldon van der Linde, Arjun Maini and Nicki Thiim.

The No. 63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 of Christian Engelhart and the No. 4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT machine of Luca Stolz completed the top ten.

Stolz secured a top-ten finish despite late penalty lap for spinning his wheels on the jacks during his pitstop.

Mirko Bortolotti, meanwhile, stormed up to eleventh after a late gamble to switch to slicks – the only driver to do so.

The Italian started in the top ten but fell back as a result of a late switch to wets when the rain first emerged.

The No. 92 Lamborghini was then one of the last cars to pit during the mandatory pitstop window and called for his team to install slick tires as the track dried up.

After struggling initially, Bortolotti quickly gained ground and passed multiple cars en route to eleventh place.

This included a late-race battle with Ayhancan Guven that saw the two cars make contact and result in a puncture for the No. 90 Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R on the final lap.


Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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