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Race report
DTM Norisring

DTM Norisring: Van der Linde leads BMW 1-2 in chaotic Saturday race

BMW star Sheldon van der Linde survived a typically-chaotic DTM race at the Norisring to score his first victory of 2023, leading team-mate Rene Rast to the chequered flag.

Sheldon van der Linde, Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 GT3

Having qualified on pole position in his Schubert Motorsport BMW, van der Linde was unfazed by two safety cars as he led virtually every lap of the race en route to a fifth career win in the DTM.

Rast secured his first podium as a BMW driver in second following a rapid start, while Dennis Olsen completed the podium spots after late troubles for Abt Audi's Kelvin van der Linde.

As the race got underway, Sheldon van der Linde led the field into the tight Turn 1 hairpin, while Team Bernhard's Ayhancan Guven dived down the inside of fellow Porsche driver Thomas Preining to take second.

Manthey EMA driver Preining dropped further to eighth by the end of the opening lap, while Rast went in the opposite direction, jumping from seventh to third ahead of Kelvin van der Linde's Audi.

At the front, Sheldon van der Linde began pulling away from the rest of the field, building a gap of close to one second ahead of Guven.

However, his lead was wiped out after just 10 minutes of racing when an incident between David Schumacher and Luca Engstler brought out the safety car for the first time.

Engstler's stricken Audi was rapidly recovered by the Norisring marshals and the racing resumed shortly afterwards, with van der Linde holding the lead in the BMW ahead of Guven's Porsche, as Kelvin van der Linde tried to pass Rast for third.

Not long after the track had green the safety car was out again, this time for debris left on track after contact between Jack Aitken and Clemens Schmid at the exit of Turn 1.

But as was the case at the previous occasion, the track was cleared soon for racing, with the Cupra safety car returning back to the pits in little time.

Van der Linde made a perfect restart from the lead, leaving Guven a long way behind as he braked for the Turn 1 hairpin, while team-mate Rast also held station in third.

The order at the front remained the same until the pitstop sequence, with van der Linde pitting two laps ahead of Guven.

Some quick work from Team Bernhard surprisingly allowed Guven to emerge in first position, but the Turkish driver struggled for traction on cold tyres, allowing not only van der Linde - but a whole host of cars - to pass him on his out-lap.

With chances of a second-stint challenge from Guven all but over, van der Linde was able to cruise to the finish line to take his first victory since the Nurburgring round last year, his winning margin 1.520s after 69 laps of racing.

Rast benefitted from Guven's sluggish out-lap to take second and complete a 1-2 result for Schubert, securing his first podium since his switch from Audi.

Kelvin van der Linde looked set to join his brother Sheldon on the podium but he slowed down with what appeared to be a technical issue in the final five minutes of the race, forcing him into a painful retirement.

This elevated Manthey EMA's Dennis Olsen onto the final spot on the podium, the Porsche ace having made his way up the pack from 11th on the grid with a rapid opening stint and an early pitstop.

Fourth place went to the Winward Mercedes of Lucas Auer, who had a relatively uneventful race after starting from seventh, while Guven eventually crossed the finish line in fifth having been van der Linde's closest challenger for all of the first stint.

Guven led the top Lamborghini of SSR Performance driver Mirko Bortolotti, Landgraf Mercedes driver Maro Engel and the sole surviving Abt Audi of Ricardo Feller to the chequered flag.

Two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann had a topsy-turvy race in the Project 1 BMW, the German driver rising as high as 10th from 16th in the early laps of the race before an incident after the first safety car period dropped him back to 17th.

He recovered from the setback to finish ninth, just ahead of Bernhard Porsche's Laurin Heinrich.

Franck Perera finished 11th for SSR Performance, while Preining bounced back from a poor opening lap and a botched pitstop - where his car was released without the front-left tyre bolted properly - to take 12th.

HRT Mercedes' Arjun Maini, Winward Mercedes driver Schumacher and Grasser Lamborghini rookie Mick Wishofer rounded out the points scorers.

DTM Norisring - Race 1 results:

 Cla   Nº   Driver   Car / Engine  Gap
1 S.van der Linde BMW  
2 33  René Rast BMW 1.520
3 90  Dennis Olsen Porsche 2.547
4 22  Lucas Auer Mercedes 4.142
5 24  Ayhancan Guven Porsche 5.042
6 92  Mirko Bortolotti Lamborghini 7.657
7 48  Maro Engel Mercedes 8.347
8 Ricardo Feller Audi 11.979
9 11  Marco Wittmann BMW 12.849
10 75  Laurin Heinrich Porsche 13.251
11 94  Franck Perera Lamborghini 19.730
12 91  Thomas Preining Porsche 21.138
13 36  Arjun Maini Mercedes 22.668
14 27  David Schumacher Mercedes 23.614
15 19  Mick Wishofer Lamborghini 25.938
16 40  Mattia Drudi Audi 26.578
17 83  P.Niederhauser Audi 28.391
18 14  Jack Aitken Ferrari 48.900
19 63  Clemens Schmid Lamborghini 50.102
20 Alessio Deledda Lamborghini 1 lap /9.667
21 69  T.Vermeulen Ferrari 1 lap /15.529
22 K.van der Linde Audi 6 laps
  Tim Heinemann Porsche Retirement
  Luca Stolz Mercedes Retirement
  84  Jusuf Owega Mercedes Retirement
  Luca Engstler Audi Retirement
  99  C.Engelhart Porsche Retirement

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