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Race report
DTM Nurburgring

DTM Nurburgring: Lamborghini junior Paul takes shock win in wet Race 2

Lamborghini junior Maximilian Paul claimed a shock win in a one-off DTM outing after passing long-time leader Lucas Auer at a wet Nurburgring.

Mercedes star Auer had looked set to score a first victory of the 2023 season after taking the lead from polesitter Ricardo Feller on lap 7, but Grasser Racing driver Paul showed rapid speed after putting on a new set of wet tyres late in the race, snatching the top spot from his Winward rival with 15 minutes to run.

The result made Paul the eighth different driver to win a race in as many races this season, and secured a clean sweep of victories for Lamborghini at the Nurburgring following Mirko Bortolotti’s success on Saturday.

At the start of the race, Abt Audi’s Feller led the field from pole position, while reigning Sheldon van der Linde dropped down the order to promote Winward duo David Schumacher and Auer to second and third positions.

Feller then went on to establish a comfortable lead up front on a track that was mostly dry, save for some damp patches at sector 1.

But as rain began to hit the track, Feller started to fall into the clutches of the chasing pack because of high pressure on his wet tyres, with Auer charging past the Swiss driver on lap 7 for the lead having already overtaken his team-mate Schumacher for second.

Feller and other drivers who were on slicks waited until the pit window opened after 20 minutes of racing to switch to wet compounds, elevating those who had started on rain tyres to the front.

One of the biggest gainers was Grasser driver Paul, who had been drafted in to replace Mick Wishofer on a one-off basis at the Lamborghini team.

Starting 13th, Paul quickly made his way up the field before passing the similarly wet-shod cars of Heinrich and Schumacher to settle into second position behind Auer.

Auer, Paul and Heinrich elected to go long in the first stint and their strategy paid dividends when a FCY was deployed to recover the stranded Lamborghini of Alessio Deledda, who spun at Turn 1 after being caught out by the Emil Frey Ferrari of Jack Aitken that had just exited the pits.

This brought the trio firmly ahead of their rivals, seting up a three-way fight for victory.

Auer initially appeared to have done enough to secure a win, but Paul began to rapidly close in on him, even though the Mercedes driver’s 10kg success ballast wasn’t much of a handicap in wet conditions.

After a duel that lasted for several laps, Paul was able to get his Lamborghini past Auer heading into the hairpin, moving into the lead for the first time of the race.

With a clean track now ahead of him, Paul was able to pull away and take a first victory in the DTM in only his fifth race start.

Heinrich also managed to overtake Auer to take second in the Bernhard Porsche, scoring his first DTM podium in the process.

Auer held on to third place ahead of the fellow Mercedes of Maro Engel, while championship leader Thomas Preining finished fifth in the Manthey EMA Porsche.

Feller eventually came home in sixth place, while Luca Ensgtler finished seventh in his family-run Audi after completing his pitstop just before the Deledda-induced FCY.

Emil Frey’s Thierry Vermeulen, another driver to stop late in the race, scored his best DTM result in eighth, while Schumacher and SSR Performance’s Franck Perera rounded out the top 10.

It was a tough race for BMW’s van der Linde, with the decision to start on slick tyres backfiring and leaving him 17th at the finish, one place behind the fellow M4 of Project 1 driver Marco Wittmann.

Results:

 Cla   Nº   Driver   Car / Engine  Gap
1 19  Maximilian Paul Lamborghini  
2 75  Laurin Heinrich Porsche 0.600
3 22  Lucas Auer Mercedes 1.320
4 48  Maro Engel Mercedes 1.954
5 91  Thomas Preining Porsche 3.248
6 Ricardo Feller Audi 4.419
7 Luca Engstler Audi 4.680
8 69  T.Vermeulen Ferrari 7.159
9 27  David Schumacher Mercedes 7.617
10 94  Franck Perera Lamborghini 8.008
11 40  Mattia Drudi Audi 8.971
12 Tim Heinemann Porsche 10.327
13 Luca Stolz Mercedes 15.934
14 84  Jusuf Owega Mercedes 19.919
15 56  Sandro Holzem BMW 20.384
16 11  Marco Wittmann BMW 20.839
17 S.van der Linde BMW 21.257
18 14  Jack Aitken Ferrari 39.177
19 33  René Rast BMW 1 lap /2.849
20 K.van der Linde Audi 1 lap /6.574
  36  Arjun Maini Mercedes Retirement
  63  Clemens Schmid Lamborghini Retirement
  83  P.Niederhauser Audi Retirement
  Alessio Deledda Lamborghini Retirement
  90  Dennis Olsen Porsche Retirement
  92  Mirko Bortolotti Lamborghini Not started

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