Van der Linde confident Lausitz DTM struggles are resolved

DTM race-winner Kelvin van der Linde says he understands the problems that blighted his Lausitzring weekend and believes his Nurburgring 24 Hours victory was "perfect to get my confidence back".

Van der Linde confident Lausitz DTM struggles are resolved
Listen to this article

The Abt Audi driver took the title to the wire in 2021 and made a good start to the 2022 campaign with a fourth and sixth from the two Portimao races that put him fifth in the standings heading to the Lausitzring.

But while his brother Sheldon romped to victory in both races aboard his Schubert Motorsport BMW, Kelvin van der Linde could manage no better than 15th on the grid for either race and came away empty-handed after a disastrous weekend.

The South African recently tested at Hockenheim with Abt and says he uncovered "a knot" in the Lausitzring set-up that has given him belief that his problems won't be repeated this weekend at Imola, where he has won twice in GT World Challenge Europe.

"The Lausitzring has made us even stronger," he said. "As a team, we didn’t start doubting each other, but looked at the facts and tried to find a solution. That was strong and positive.

"We sat down together in the company first thing on Monday morning and discussed how to find out what the problem was. The first suggestion was that we go testing, which is extremely difficult at the moment because there are no tyres.

"But we did it anyway and went to Hockenheim with four mechanics. We did it super-small, but at the end of the day, good things came out of it.

"We found out that there was a knot in the Lausitzring set-up. We found that out first thing in the morning and I went into the pits with a grin on my face.

"From that moment on, I was sure that things would go forward again at Imola. We now know what things we have to pay attention to, especially with the new evo package and hope that something like what occurred at the Lausitzring won’t happen to us again."

The 25-year-old says his second victory in the Nurburgring 24 Hours last month in the Phoenix Audi he shared with Dries Vanthoor, Frederic Vervisch and Robin Frijns has come as a timely boost prior to Imola.

"After the low at the Lausitzring, the victory was of course perfect to get my confidence back and to know that I haven’t forgotten how to drive," said van der Linde, who previously won the Nordschleife enduro in 2017.

"Sometimes you need that kind of motivation in this rollercoaster ride through the motorsport world."

Van der Linde added that "details that might bring three tenths of a second" are more important than they were last year, due to the renewed competitiveness of the DTM in 2022.

"These three tenths of a second that I was missing compared to [Abt team-mates] Ricardo [Feller] and Rene [Rast] make up ten, twelve places.

"Last year, you might still have been able to finish in the top ten or even in the top five. This year, everything really has to be perfect on both sides: the driver, as well as the car.

"If you start farther in front, you enjoy a certain priority in pit stop planning. It’s good to start at the front, because overtaking is not easy.

"If you start as far back as I did at the Lausitzring, chaos is inevitable. Then you’re suddenly in the gravel or you’re missing something on the car."

The Abt team has logged pre-season testing miles at Imola, which is new to the DTM this year.

After scoring its first podium of the year last time out with Rast, Abt boss Thomas Biermaier said a first win of the season is the team's only goal.

"It was important to build Kelvin up again after the Lausitzring," he said.

"I think we managed to do that together and of course his victory at the 24-hour race was good for him.

"Imola suits him and I also expect strong performances from Rene and Ricardo there again."

shares
comments
DTM Imola - The spectacle goes into the next round
Previous article

DTM Imola - The spectacle goes into the next round

Next article

Lamborghini DTM squad pulls out of Imola round

Lamborghini DTM squad pulls out of Imola round
The longest-serving Red Bull driver revealing F1’s true brutality Prime

The longest-serving Red Bull driver revealing F1’s true brutality

His day of days in Formula 1 came at Indianapolis in 2005, a day grand prix racing strives to forget. But Patrick Friesacher, the long-serving Red Bull lieutenant, remains active today driving a two-seater that provides ordinary people with a glimpse of an F1 car’s savage potential, including this writer...

Formula 1
Jun 2, 2022
How the DTM has come back stronger from its Norisring nadir Prime

How the DTM has come back stronger from its Norisring nadir

OPINION: Questionable driving standards and farcical team orders meant the DTM's first season under GT3 regulations ended under a cloud. But the organisation has responded firmly by banning team orders and welcomed new manufacturers, making for an intriguing season ahead as new and returning names prepare for battle.

DTM
Mar 30, 2022
The remarkable career of 'classy' champion Martin Tomczyk Prime

The remarkable career of 'classy' champion Martin Tomczyk

Over two decades as a factory driver with Audi and BMW, Martin Tomczyk earned the respect of teammates and rivals as a hard but fair racer. After calling time on his racing career, the 2011 DTM champion sat down with Motorsport.com to look back.

GT
Mar 5, 2022
Jamie Green: The other Hamilton conqueror seeking career revival Prime

Jamie Green: The other Hamilton conqueror seeking career revival

On his rise through the ranks before reaching Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton was usually a cut above the rest. But he never truly asserted himself over a Mercedes-backed fellow Briton who traded single-seaters for touring cars and is now seeking new opportunities after a year largely spent on the sidelines.

DTM
Dec 18, 2021
How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions Prime

How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions

OPINION: The scenes at the Norisring as Mercedes used blatant team orders to secure the first DTM title of the new GT3 era totally undermined the credibility of the championship. But as well as overshadowing the season, it also presents uncomfortable questions to series bosses about the direction it is headed in.

DTM
Oct 12, 2021
How Audi's new DTM flagbearer is closing on his "childhood dream" Prime

How Audi's new DTM flagbearer is closing on his "childhood dream"

Having learned the ropes in GT3 alongside Rene Rast, Kelvin van der Linde is in line to take up the three-time champion's baton as Audi's new DTM king. From humble origins in South Africa, it's been a remarkable journey so far for the current series leader, but he knows that the 2021 title is a long way from settled just yet.

DTM
Sep 18, 2021
The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive Prime

The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive

Switching to GT3 regulations marked a fresh start for the DTM in 2021, but it has also drawn a line in the sand against other series using similar cars by engaging AVL Racing to develop a bespoke Balance of Performance system. Here’s how it works.

DTM
Jul 23, 2021
The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars Prime

The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars

OPINION: Facing collapse last year, the DTM has shifted its philosophy from a championship for silhouette-based touring cars to GT machines not too dissimilar to those racing across multiple series worldwide. But despite some initial BoP-based teething troubles, there were some pleasant findings as the 'new DTM' got underway at Monza

DTM
Jun 22, 2021