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A FIERY WEEKEND IN THE NETHERLANDS: DTM ZANDVOORT RACE REVIEW.

DTM made it’s first flyaway stop of the season at Circuit Zandvoort for Round 3 of the championship.

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It is a beautiful morning in The Netherlands. Little birds chirping around, the sun glistening in the sky, flowers blooming in every corner. It’s one of those days where you feel grateful for being born. As you soak in these blessings god bestowed upon you, you hear a roaring sound. The next thing you know, you are sitting at Circuit Zandvoort with German Touring Cars whizzing past you because it’s the DTM weekend in the Netherlands.

The daunting 4 km track has put the greatest names in motorsports in a twist. Even Formula One drivers call this track a challenging weekend. But regardless of it’s challenging nature, the drivers are more than ready to face it.

Kelvin van der Linde is fully motivated and wants to turn his last win in Race 1 at Lausitzring into a double streak of wins. Thomas Preining had a poor start to the season at Oschersleben, finishing a low P10 & P13 in Race 1 & Race 2 respectively . He redeemed himself at the Lausitzring with a win in Race 2 but he has high hopes to perform better this weekend. Last year’s Race 1 winner Maro Engel aims to be back on the podium and continue his podium campaign as he has finished in the top 3 twice this season. Mercedes AMG Team HRT driver and Indian Arjun Maini has been on a phenomenal run this year, scoring a P8 and P4 at Oschersleben and a P7 & P12 at Lausitzring. The has waved the tricolor high, scoring points in every race this championship campaign.

The weekend lasted from the 7th of June till the 9th of June. With a lot of action and storylines continuing from Lausitzring, let’s get into how to weekend went by.

FREE PRACTICE

The fastest man in FP1 in the morning was Nicki Thiim from SSR Performance.

“It is a few years since my last race weekend in Zandvoort.”

Nicki thiim on his stints at the dutch race track.
Nicki Thiim – Photo: Gruppe C Photography

FP2 saw three different drivers, Lucas Auer; Clemens Schmid & Kelvin van der Linde top the time sheets. All three drivers separated by just 0.7 seconds. Auer set one flyer of a lap which was then topped by the others. The main reason for such quick lap times is Track Evolution. More rubber on the track means more grip leading to better and quicker lap times.

“We made good progress from the first to the second free practice session. However, people keep their cards to their chest right to the end in the DTM. As such, I am intrigued to see how we get on in qualifying. Grid position is very important in Zandvoort, as it is difficult to overtake here,”

Auer gives his insights on zandvoort

QUALIFYING

Qualifying 1 saw an electrifying performance from Jack Aitken as he set his Ferrari on pole for Race 1. The Brit set a blistering lap of 1:31.762, which let his team at Emil Frey Racing celebrate. Clemens Schmid placed second with his McLaren, setting a 1:32.136. Arjun Maini took a brilliant P3 with 1:32.209.

Jack Aitken at Zandvoort- Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Maini was very pleased to be placed P3 for Race 1. The Indian has finished in the top five in all but one of the qualifying sessions so far this season. Aitken secured his third pole position of his DTM career with his Ferrari 296.

“I have the best starting position and am looking forward to the race. The goal is obviously to win, in order to move back towards the top of the championship,”

Jack aitken on his pole position for Race 1

Qualifying 2 had Maximillian Paul take his maiden Pole for Paul Motorsports, placing his #71 Lamborghini on the front row of the grid with a 1:32.780 . Fellow Lamborghini driver Mirko Bortolotti placed his car alongside Paul to lock out the front row. Both Emil Frey driver Thierry Vermuelen and Jack Aitken locked out the second row for their team. Arjun Maini performed spectacularly once again and placed fifth, setting a 1:33.053.

 “As a new team, to start from pole in our third weekend in the DTM is really impressive and the reward for our hard work. However, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels now, as the field is very strong and includes many works drivers. The key to the race is to stay cool and put our foot down,”

Max Paul on his maiden Pole Position at Zandvoort.
Maximillian Paul after taking pole for Race 2 at Zandvoort – Photo: Gruppe C Photography

RACE

Race 1 had Jack Aitken storm off of Pole Position and into the lead with Schmid close behind in his McLaren. The order followed as Maini, Feller & Auer. Rene Rast made swift moves up the pack in his BMW to move up to 4th from 7th. Quick pitstops helped Aitken maintain his lead and Rast shaved seconds off of Schmid who was running in 2nd. Rast kept up the blinding speed to pass Maini and Schmid to take 2nd place. Schmid meanwhile kept losing pace and was eventually overthrown by Maini and had to settle for fourth place. The chequered flag fell and Aitken took home the victory with Rast in second and Maini finished up the podium. Ben Dorr bagged the Fastest lap for Dorr Motorsports in his McLaren 750S GT3 EVO.

 “Three race weekends in and I already have two wins to my name, that is awesome. The key was that I managed to open a bit of a gap immediately after the start. After that, I could control the race from the front. I could often see René Rast in my mirror in the closing stages, but I did not let that distract me,”

Aitken after his win in Race 1.
Aitken wins Race 1 at Zandvoort – Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Rene Rast seemed very thrilled to be on the podium as he did not believe he’d be up there after his performance on Friday.

 “After our performance on Friday, it really did not look as though we would be on the podium…. The race was really great fun.”

Rast on his performance in Race 1.
Rast finishes in 2nd. Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Arjun Maini felt that he could have pushed harder for a better result and he knew his Mercedes could have helped him score higher than he did.

 “I am finally back on the DTM podium. That feels super……I was hoping there may possibly be more in it for me. However, Jack Aitken and René Rast were faster than me at the end.”

Maini on his p3 finish
Arjun Maini scored his first podium of the season – Photo: Gruppe C Photography
Race 2

Race 2 saw Polesitter Maximillian Paul shoot off at the start but falling short at Turn 2 as Mirko Bortolotti overtook him to take the lead of the race. A couple laps later, Auer and Schmid partook in a skirmish leading to a crash, bringing out the Safety Car. Home hero Thierry Vermuelen and Kelvin van der Linde occupied P4 and P5 respectively.

Race 2 start – Photo: Gruppe C Photography

As the race progressed, Bortolotti kept the lead. BMW’s Marco Wittmann led an electrifying charge through the field and got lucky with his pitstops. He found himself leading the pack. Bortolotti hit Wittmann but the BMW driver kept pushing and won in spectacular fashion. He took the chequered flag after 38 laps. From 14th to 1st. He was followed close behind by Bortolotti and Kelvin van der Linde. Arjun Maini and his Mercedes finished a strong P6 and bagged valuable points after his podium campaign in Race 1. The Fastest Lap was clocked in by Nicki Thiim with a 1:34.609s.

“I never thought I would come from so far back to win…..I am just overjoyed that I was able to bring home the win,”

Wittmann after his win in Race 2.
Marko Wittman wins race 2 – Photo: Gruppe C Photography

“When you take the lead in turn one and are out in front for so many laps, you obviously want to win. In the end, I have to settle for second place. The rear axle felt strange in the closing laps, and the drivers behind me put me under an awful lot of pressure.”

Mirko Bortelotti after hi p2 finish.

“I am particularly pleased with third place for our crew, who have been very busy recently, with two DTM events and the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring.”

Kelvin van der linde thanking his team after his p3 finish
Bortolotti finishes in P2 ahead of Kelvin van der Linde- Photo: Gruppe C Photography

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Top 5 in the championship standings

Zandvoort proved to be a ground for tough battles, redemptions, and surprises for the drivers. DTM next heads to the Norisring from the 5th of July to the 7th of July.

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DTM

DTM Norisring: Heading to Germany’s only Street Circuit

An absolute highlight in the DTM calendar, the fourth tour stop will be at the Norisring from July 5th to 7th.

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The only street circuit in Germany will play host to Round 4 of the DTM Championship. Audi driver Kelvin van der Linde arrives in Norisring as the championship leader. But the lead is only 8 points to Mirko Bortoloti in second. A race winner scores 25 points, and that is the gap between first and ninth in the championship standings.

Read the Zandvoort race weekend review here

Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Championship leader looking to keep his lead

The six races of the championship till now have seen 5 different winners. Kelvin van der Linde would love to change that and become the only other two-time winner this season after Jack Aitken. A strong weekend can see him leave Norisring as the championship leader.

 “I always had the pace there to be at the front, but so far not the necessary luck.”

The Audi driver has done well in Norisring, he has had 3 podium finishes in 4 races. This time around, he’d want to be on the top step of the podium.

#3 Kelvin van der Linde (Photo: Gruppe C Photography)

Home Race for Marco Wittmann

The BMW Factory driver, Marco Wittmann arrives at his home race weekend and there couldn’t be a better time for him. Wittmann scored his first win of the season in Zandvoort last round.

With 10 DTM race weekends under his belt, no one knows Norisring as well as Wittmann.

“The challenge is special because you drive extremely close to the guard rails, there are no run-off areas and you therefore cannot afford to make a single mistake,” explains Wittmann.

His game plan: “You have to be extremely focused and concentrated. The Norisring may only have four corners, but that is exactly what makes the track so difficult. Because the lap times are very close together. That is what makes the Norisring special, as is the unique flair and atmosphere.”

#11 BMW M4 GT3: Marco Wittmann (Photo: Gruppe C Photography)

The unique challenge of Norisring

The only street circuit has only 4 corners, just two sharp bends, and almost the entire straight ahead at full speed. But the track comes with its own set of challenges. Instead of run-off areas or gravel beds, the road is mostly limited by walls or crash barriers. Before the hairpin bend at Dutzendteich and the Grundig bend, the drivers have to brake hard, and in between the spectators experience full-throttle racing with slipstream duels. In addition, the Norisring is by far the shortest track on the calendar at 2.162 kilometers.

Norisring Track Layout (Image: DTM)

Arjun Maini looking to continue his strong season.

Arjun Maini is having his strongest season in DTM yet. The Indian driver has been constantly putting in performances that see him at the top end of the grid. Recently in Zandvoort, Maini scored his first podium of the season. Just 20 points off the top of the standings, Maini can mount a serious championship challenge if he keeps making such consistent performances. The Mercedes driver would also be looking to score his first win in the championship at a track where he got his first podium in his debut season.

#36 Arjun Maini (Photo: Gruppe C Photography)

Timings and Where to Watch

You can watch all the DTM action live on Fancode in India. Full timings in IST are given below:

Follow Desi Racing Co for regular updates from the world of motorsports.

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DTM LAUSITZRING REVIEW: Kelvin van der Linde enjoys a good weekend to take the championship lead

Kelvin van der Linde took pole and the win in Race 1 along with a second place position in Race 2 to take the championship lead while reigning champion Thomas Preining got his first win of the season

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Kelvin van der Linde and Thomas Preining take top honours in Lausitzring

The DEKRA Laustzring played host to DTM for round 2 of the championship. Luca Engstler was the championship leader after Round 1, the Lamborghini driver won the season opener in Oschersleben in the Huracán GT3 Evo2. But as DTM leaves Lausitzring, there’s a new championship leader. Here’s how the weekend unfolded

Kelvin van der Linde after his Race 1 win – Photo: Gruppe C Photography

FRIDAY PRACTICE

Porsche started the weekend impressively, with the 911s from the Manthey EMA team dominating free practice on Friday in both dry and wet conditions. Thomas Preining set the pace in the midday session, clocking the fastest time of the day at 1:20.782 minutes, the only driver to dip below the 1:21.000 mark. This marked a significant improvement for the defending champion following a less-than-stellar start to the season in Oschersleben.  

“The free practice is not very informative. But after Oschersleben it was important for our team to be among the fastest again. The car ran like it was on rails and it is great to drive such a vehicle on such a technically demanding track with these hard bumps,” explained Preining.

#91 Thomas Preining (Porsche 911 GT3 R / Manthey EMA), Dekra Lausitzring – Photo: Gruppe C Photography

In slightly cooler conditions around 23 degrees Celsius, Maro Engel secured the second fastest time with 1:21.061 minutes in the Mercedes-AMG GT3, followed by Kelvin van der Linde from Abt Sportsline in third place with Audi. Mirko Bortolotti in the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo2 claimed fourth, while Ayhancan Güven piloted the second Porsche 911 GT3 R from Manthey EMA to fifth place.

The afternoon’s second free practice session saw heavy rain in parts of Lausitz, allowing drivers to test Pirelli’s newly developed Cinturato WHB rain tires. Güven seized the opportunity, setting the fastest time at 1:35.573 minutes in wet conditions. Van der Linde followed closely in second place with Jack Aitken finishing third in the Ferrari 296 GT3.

Ayhancan Güven achieved the fastest lap in the rain – Photo: Gruppe C Photography

SATURDAY

Saturday started with qualifying for Race 1 and it was Kelvin van der Linde who took pole position for ABT Sportsline. Arjun Maini qualified an impressive 5th, and was also the highest placed Mercedes driver in qualifying.


RACE 1

Despite torrential rain and two race interruptions, Kelvin van der Linde of Abt Sportsline emerged victorious at the Dekra Lausitzring on Saturday.

Audi driver Kelvin van der Linde remained error-free in the rain – Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Maro Engel of Mercedes-AMG Team Winward cleverly secured second place, leveraging strategic tactics in the adverse weather. Thomas Preining from the Manthey EMA team clinched third in the Porsche 911 GT3 R.

The race saw van der Linde defend his pole position successfully at the start, with Ricardo Feller overtaking Preining to claim second. However, heavy rain led to significant water accumulation on the track, prompting a switch to rain tires and two race interruptions. Engel capitalized on this, rising from 13th to second place after the restart.

The race start took place on a dry track – Photo: Gruppe C Photography

 “What a chaotic race. The key to success was that I was able to defend the lead in the hectic opening phase. Because at the front I had much better visibility. Nevertheless, it was racing at the limit because there was an extremely large amount of water on the track at the beginning,” explained van der Linde

Mandatory pit stops further shuffled the standings, with Preining advancing to third and Lucas Auer from Mercedes-AMG Team Mann-Filter finishing fourth amidst the challenging conditions. Feller rounded out the top five finishers.

Sheldon van der Linde of Schubert Motorsport was the top BMW driver in sixth place, followed by Arjun Maini of Mercedes-AMG Team HRT and Lamborghini driver Nicki Thiim from SSR Performance in seventh and eighth, respectively. Christian Engelhart of Lamborghini Team TGI by GRT secured ninth place, with Luca Stolz driving the Mercedes-AMG GT3 from HRT to complete the top ten.

SUNDAY

Qualifying for Race 2 kicked things off on Sunday and it was the reigning champion Thomas Preining who took pole position ahead of Ricardo Feller and Marko Bortolotti.

RACE 2

In the fourth DTM race of the season on Sunday afternoon, pole-sitter Thomas Preining initially held the lead, followed by Ricardo Feller and Kelvin van der Linde, who managed to overtake Mirko Bortolotti in the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo2. By the fourth lap, Feller’s pace in the Audi enabled him to overtake Preining and take the lead. After a safety car phase and the subsequent restart, Feller extended his lead to nearly a second.

Start of race 2, Dekra Lausitzring – Photo: Gruppe C Photography

During the mandatory pit stops, Preining was the first to switch to new Pirelli tires, which he quickly brought to optimal temperature. This allowed him to overtake Feller and Kelvin van der Linde, who were on colder tires due to later stops. Feller managed to pass van der Linde but made contact, prompting race officials to order a position swap. Regardless, Preining controlled the race and finished first after 42 laps, followed by van der Linde in second and Feller in third. Bortolotti secured fourth place, with his Lamborghini teammate Luca Engstler in fifth.

Podium Race 2, Dekra Lausitzring – Photo: Gruppe C Photography

René Rast from Schubert Motorsport finished sixth, making him the best BMW driver of the race. Maro Engel of Mercedes-AMG Team Winward executed a brilliant strategy, climbing from 20th on the grid to seventh place with a late pit stop. Rast’s BMW teammates, Sheldon van der Linde and Marco Wittmann, finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Lucas Auer rounded out the top ten in his Mercedes-AMG GT3.

“That was one of the best DTM races I have ever experienced as a driver. Our strategy with an early pit stop was crucial for the win. After the tire change, I couldn’t take the lead straight away, but I was able to get myself into a good position. I attacked straight away and took a bit of a risk. That’s racing in the DTM,” said Preining

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Kelvin van der Linde leads the championship standings with 63 points. Thomas Preining is in second with 55 points.

“Leaving the Lausitzring as leader of the table feels great. It is a great achievement by our team to make such a turnaround in such a short time after the weak start in Oschersleben. Unfortunately, I made a small mistake directly after the pit stop on cold tires, which Thomas Preining immediately took advantage of.” – Kelvin van der Linde

Up Next

DTM heads to Zandvoort for Round 3 of the championship from 7-9 June.

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DTM

DTM Lausitzring preview: Luca Engstler looks to get back to back wins.

The Lamborghini driver won the first round of DTM and will look to build on that this weekend in Lausitzring

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Luca Engstler leads the championship after Round 1, the Lamborghini driver won the season opener in Oschersleben unexpectedly in the Huracán GT3 Evo2. If round 1 taught us anything, it’s that any driver in the on the grid can contend for victory, promising unpredictable races and surprising results at the Lausitzring.

Engstler achieved his first DTM victory in Oschersleben, fulfilling his season’s goal early. Now, he aims to understand his Lamborghini better, maintain his lead, and score consistently at upcoming races like the Lausitzring. Aitken, the Oschersleben Race 1 winner and second in the standings, has high ambitions for the Lausitzring after his first DTM victory there last year. Bortolotti, also with good memories from the circuit, seeks to repeat his past success.

On the other hand, defending champion Preining faces pressure after a slow start to the season. He needs significant improvement, especially in qualifying, to stay competitive and not fall behind the leaders early in the championship.

Thomas Preining in Oschersleben (Image credits DTM media)


Arjun Maini’s performance in round 1 was remarkable, drawing praise as a “man reborn” by commentators, displaying impressive pace throughout the weekend. Despite narrowly missing out on the podium in the first round, Maini will look to secure a place on the podium in Lausitzring. His consistent and promising performance suggests that he is a strong contender for achieving success and bringing home some silverware from this race weekend.

Arjun Maini in action in Oschersleben (Image credits DTM media)

The Circuit

The Lausitzring presents a significant technical challenge with its twelve curves and limited straight sections, all navigated in an anti-clockwise direction. The circuit’s design emphasizes the importance of good traction to achieve maximum acceleration, especially in narrow passages, using vehicles with up to 600 hp. Another characteristic of the track is its bumps, requiring precise vehicle setup to minimize car bouncing. Spectators can enjoy watching the action from the expansive main stand, with a view that covers the entire circuit and the pit lane.

Key facts, Dekra Lausitzring

  • Track length: 3,478 meters
  • Layout: 12 turns (five right-handers, seven left-handers), driven counterclockwise
  • Winner 2023, Race 1: Jack Aitken (Emil Frey Racing, Ferrari 296 GT3)
  • Winner 2023, Race 2: Mirko Bortolotti (SSR Performance, Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo2)

Where to Watch

You can watch all the sessions live on Fancode. The time table for the weekend is given below:

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