DTM Nurburgring: Stolz scores maiden win, more drama for Bortolotti

Mercedes driver Luca Stolz took a dominant first DTM victory at the Nurburgring after leaping to the front at a safety car restart and controlling the rest of the race. 

DTM Nurburgring: Stolz scores maiden win, more drama for Bortolotti
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The Haupt Racing team driver started seventh and ran fifth in the early stages before a safety car was called when David Schumacher tipped three-time champion Rene Rast into the gravel at the final corner. 

This coincided with the pit window opening on lap seven, and a quick turnaround from his team when the pack poured into the pits meant Stolz rejoined in the net lead over poleman Sheldon van der Linde. 

He then made no mistake at the restart to cleanly negotiate the only driver who didn’t pit under safety car – 17-year-old debutante Theo Oeverhaus in the Walkenhorst BMW – around the outside at Turn 1 before bolting into a lead he’d never lose over Dennis Olsen’s SSR Porsche. 

Lucas Auer (Winward Mercedes) completed the podium in third, as Kelvin van der Linde finished fourth after contact with his brother’s main title rival Mirko Bortolotti. 

At the race start, Sheldon van der Linde’s Schubert BMW held the lead from fast-starting teammate Philipp Eng, with Olsen third ahead of front-row starter Kelvin van der Linde, Thomas Preining (Bernhard Porsche) and Stolz.  

Preining and Stolz passed Kelvin van der Linde in quick succession on lap two in the arena section, and had joined the rear of a queue of cars behind leader Sheldon van der Linde who was carrying 25kg in success ballast and running fractionally less boost pressure than in qualifying after a late Balance of Performance tweak. 

Eng appeared the faster of the two BMWs, but the Austrian’s race was ruined by the arrival of the safety car, with DTM rules prohibiting double-stacking in the pits.  

He had to continue at slow speed for a further lap and rejoined deep in the field, before being eliminated at the restart when Felipe Fraga punted Clemens Schmid into his path. 

Behind Oeverhaus and Stolz, Sheldon van der Linde took the restart in third, but was swamped by the pack on the run to Turn 1 as Auer, Kelvin van der Linde, Preining, Maro Wittmann (Walkenhorst BMW), Maximilian Gotz (Winward Mercedes), Bortolotti and Nico Muller (Rosberg Audi) moved ahead, with Mikael Grenier (Gruppe M Mercedes) also shuffling the South African back a spot.  

Wittmann was then edged off the track by Preining, dropping a hatful of positions and falling out of the top 10 at that stage, as Preining’s loss of momentum allowed Bortolotti and Gotz through. Muller also passed Preining at the final corner shortly afterwards.  

As the top three checked out, Kelvin van der Linde steadfastly defended his fourth place from Bortolotti, who had been given a five-place grid penalty for contact with Fraga in race one and started back in ninth. 

The Grasser Lamborghini driver pressured his Abt Audi rival for several laps before making his move at Turn 4. The pair made contact, puncturing Bortolotti’s right-rear wheel and forcing him to retire, scoring no points for the second consecutive race. 

Defending champion Gotz was therefore promoted to fifth ahead of Muller, Preining and Grenier. 

Sheldon van der Linde and the recovering Wittmann completed the points after Fraga, who had finished tenth on the road, was penalised five seconds for his earlier clash with Schmid. 

Mirko Bortolotti, Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan EVO GT3

Mirko Bortolotti, Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan EVO GT3

Photo by: DTM

DTM Nurburgring - Race results:

 Cla   Nº   Driver   Car / Engine  Gap
1 Luca Stolz Mercedes  
2 94  Dennis Olsen Porsche 4.507
3 22  Lucas Auer Mercedes 11.354
4 Kelvin van der Linde Audi 15.024
5 Maximilian Götz Mercedes 15.711
6 51  Nico Müller Audi 16.457
7 24  Thomas Preining Porsche 19.523
8 55  Mikaël Grenier Mercedes 20.518
9 31  Sheldon van der Linde BMW 23.811
10 11  Marco Wittmann BMW 28.393
11 92  Laurens Vanthoor Porsche 28.912
12 74  Felipe Fraga Ferrari 30.600
13 66  Marius Zug Audi 37.575
14 18  Maximilian Buhk Mercedes 44.224
15 36  Arjun Maini Mercedes 44.871
16 10  Esteban Muth BMW 46.228
17 Alessio Deledda Lamborghini 48.906
18 19  Rolf Ineichen Lamborghini 52.565
19 34  Theo Oeverhaus BMW 1'10.720
20 63  Mirko Bortolotti Lamborghini 3 laps
  37  Nick Cassidy Ferrari Retirement
  12  Dev Gore Audi Retirement
  Ricardo Feller Audi Retirement
  25  Philipp Eng BMW Retirement
  85  Clemens Schmid Lamborghini Retirement
  27  David Schumacher Mercedes Retirement
  88  Maro Engel Mercedes Retirement
  33  René Rast Audi Retirement
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