TWO PODIUMS AND CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD FOR ABT IN THE DTM
July 26, 2021  

Supplied by Motorsport SA Administrator from Motorsport SA
With a fourth and a third place at the Lausitzring, Kelvin van der Linde defended his lead in the DTM drivers’ standings with his ABT Audi R8 LMS.

 

Mike Rockenfeller finished third on  Saturday,  clinching  another  podium  for  Team  ABT  Sportsline  which  holds  the  second position  in  the  team  standings  after  four  races,  just  one  point  behind  the  leading  team. Nevertheless,  the  mood  was  somewhat  depressed,  especially  after  the  second  race  on Sunday.
 
The  reason:  Kelvin  van  der  Linde  was  clearly  on  course  for  victory  on  Sunday  when  the engine of his ABT Audi R8 LMS suddenly cut out on the 27th of 33 laps – at 250 kph and in the  banking  of  Turn  1.  Luckily  van  der  Linde  had  recently  retired from  a race  at Misano  for another team for a similar issue  and therefore knew exactly what to do: kill the main switch, do a complete reset of the electronics, wait five seconds and then restart the engine – all this at over 200 kph.
 
His  nerves  of  steel  were  rewarded:  The  young  South  African  lost  only  two  positions  and almost  managed  to  take  back  second  place  from  Ferrari  driver  Liam  Lawson.  However, because the risk was too high for him, he decided to drive home safely in third place. He thus defended his lead in the championship.
 
In the first race on Saturday, Kelvin van der Linde started from the front row together with his brother Sheldon. As he had 25 kilogrammes of extra weight on board after his victory at Monza,  he had to settle for fourth place in the end. At the start and during a safety car restart, it also became apparent that the Audi R8 LMS is currently at quite a disadvantage compared to its rivals  when  it  comes  to  acceleration.  In  addition,  the  Ferrari  and  Mercedes  teams  have  a technical time advantage at the pit stops.
 
Mike Rockenfeller showed a much improved performance after a difficult start to the season for him at Monza. The first podium on Saturday was followed by a spectacular comeback drive on Sunday that took him from 13th to eighth place. After a late tyre change, he overtook five rivals in the closing stages.
 
Sophia Flörsch was very unlucky: After a promising qualifying session, the 20-year-old retired from  the  first  race  shortly  after  the  start  without  fuel  pressure.  Troubleshooting  proved extremely  difficult  and  long.  It  was  only  shortly  before  the  start  of  the  second  race  that  a defective sensor was revealed as the reason. From last on the grid, the DTM rookie fought her way up to 15th place.  
 
The DTM season continues for Team ABT Sportsline in 14 days at Zolder in Belgium.

Quotes after the DTM races at the Lausitzring
 
Thomas Biermaier (Team Principal Team ABT Sportsline): “Of course it hurts when you lose  a  victory  you  thought  was  safe  so  close  to  the  end.  But  Kelvin  made  the  best  of  the situation and defended his championship lead. That was our goal for the Lausitzring. Overall, we’re satisfied with our performance on both days. Rocky improved significantly compared to Monza and Sophia was also doing well. Unfortunately, there was a broken sensor on her car.
Fortunately, our guys were able to solve the issue in time before the second race, also with the help of Audi Sport customer racing.”
 
Kelvin van der Linde (ABT Audi R8 LMS #3): “I don’t think I’ve ever been as disappointed after a podium as I was after Sunday’s race. I had a good start. The team made a perfect pit stop. I controlled the pace and took care of my tyres. We thought we had the race in the bag when the car suddenly stopped in Turn 1. I had to do a complete reset. Fortunately, I only lost two places and still managed to finish the race.”
 
Mike Rockenfeller (ABT Audi R8 LMS #9): “With a third place on Saturday and an eighth on Sunday, things went much better for me than at Monza. I learned a lot and now know much better how to drive the car. The team did a superb job. The podium on Saturday was great. But it was also fun to move up from 13th to eighth place on Sunday with the fresher tyres. I’m already looking forward to Zolder.”
 
Sophia  Flörsch  (ABT  Audi  R8  LMS  #99):  “I  definitely  made  a  step  in  the  right  direction. Compared to Monza and also to free practice on Friday, my pace in Qualifying 1 was really good. Then, unfortunately, we had some bad luck with technical problems in the first race and in  the  second  qualifying.  That  can  happen  in  racing.  Fortunately,  the  mechanics  found  the reason  before  the  second  race.  From  the  last  starting  position,  it  was  a  difficult  race.  But  I finished 15th and I’m happy if things keep going in the right direction.

Published by:  ABT Sportsline

Picture Caption:  "We thought we had the race in the bag when the car suddenly stopped in Turn 1," said Kelvin van der Linde, who nevertheless took third place

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