Sheldon Van der Linde surprises the Mercedes ‘army’ and wins at the Lausitzring

Sheldon Van der Linde surprises the Mercedes ‘army’ and wins at the Lausitzring

South African Sheldon Van der Linde has achieved victory in the first race of the DTM at the Lausitzring circuit. The Team Schnitzer rider was the smartest at the start, placing himself first and taking the first step to win the final victory. Luca Stolz has been second, while poleman Lucas Auer had to settle for third place at the controls of Team Winward’s Mercedes. With this victory for Van der Linde, the new BMW M4 GT3 opens its victories box in the DTM.

Lucas Auer could not assert his pole and Sheldon Van der Linde overtook him before reaching the banked first corner on the outside. The BMW driver was thus at the head of the group ahead of Lucas Auer himself, Luca Stolz and Arjun Maini. A race situation derived from the bad start of Maro Engel, since the German fell to sixth place after being overtaken by Felipe Fraga, although the Brazilian remained fifth in this exchange of positions. Behind, René Rast edged out Nick Cassidy to place ninth after the bad start of the leader Mirko Bortolotti.

Luca Stolz finished in second position with the #4 Mercedes of Team HRT.

In fact, the bad start of the Lamborghini driver left a curious race scenario with the DTM leader, the winner of the last race and the current champion fighting side by side for twelfth place. After the chaos of the first five laps, the positions stabilized. Although the calm was short-lived, since saves by Lucas Auer, Luca Stolz, Felipe Fraga, Ricardo Feller and Philipp Eng stirred up the hornet’s nest. Sheldon Van der Linde, Arjun Maini, Maro Engel and René Rast, among others, responded on the following lap.

Although Team Schnitzer’s stop was not very good, Sheldon Van der Linde managed to retain the virtual lead ahead of Luca Stolz, Arjun Maini, Lucas Auer and Maro Engelsomething to which Auer’s poor arrest also contributed. Nor was it a successful passage through the pitlane for Felipe Fragaalthough the Brazilian managed to recover one of the two lost positions by beating Ricardo Feller, afflicted in the end by a puncture that left him out of the race. In order not to lower the tension, the rain made an appearance at the Lausitzring.

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Sheldon Van der Linde surprises the Mercedes 'army' and wins at the Lausitzring
Lucas Auer was barely able to save third position after starting on pole with the #22 Mercedes.

With 30 minutes of racing ahead, Nick Cassidy, Marco Wittmann, Nico Müller, Dennis Olsen, David Schumacher, Nicki Thiim and Mikaël Grenier decided to delay their pit stops in search of a more intense rain that would allow the placement of wet tires, thus saving a stop. Although the rain did not stop falling, it was not intense enough to draw this scenario, so little by little the stops of all these pilots returned the race to its original position.

Despite subtracting 15 minutes, there was no room for changes in the lead in a nondescript end of the race. Sheldon Van der Linde achieved the first victory of the BMW M4 GT3 in the DTM after keeping the Mercedes ‘army’ under control, with Luca Stolz and Lucas Auer, since the poleman was aware of Arjun Maini. Maro Engel completed the quartet of the Stuttgart firm behind the winner. Mirko Bortolotti achieved a valuable sixth place ahead of Laurens Vanthoor, René Rast, Nick Cassidy and Maximilian Götzamong other things due to the final abandonment of Felipe Fraga.

2022 DTM race 1 results at Lausitzring

Photos: DTM