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A collision through no fault of his own cost Kelvin van der Linde the lead in the overall DTM standings at ABT Sportsline’s home race at the Norisring. At the halfway point of the 2024 season, the ABT driver is now five points behind Mirko Bortolotti in second place.

Van der Linde shone on both days with a strong qualifying performance. On Saturday, he was just 0.042 seconds off first place in his group, on Sunday he was only eight thousandths off the pace. And this despite the fact the Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II was not the fastest car at the Norisring either.

In the first race on Saturday, van der Linde initially defended his championship lead with sixth place. When heavy rain started to fall on some parts of the track 20 minutes before the end of the race, his team played it safe and, like most of his direct rivals in the title fight, switched to wet tyres.

On Sunday, the ABT driver started from row two and maintained fourth until his pit stop on lap 24, which was the fastest of the entire race at 6.586 seconds. He came within a whisker of overtaking the Mercedes of Marco Engel, who ultimately finished second. However, van der Linde had to slow down in the pit lane to avoid crashing into the Mercedes.

The situation was much more annoying on lap 27, when Jack Aitken came out of the pits on cold tyres and touched van der Linde at the rear entering the chicane, forcing him into a spin. A comeback drive brought van der Linde up to ninth. Nevertheless, the disappointment at losing the championship lead and the potential podium was huge.

Van der Linde’s team-mate Ricardo Feller had a difficult weekend at the Norisring. The Swiss driver failed to make it into the top ten on either day, dropping from third to seventh in the standings. In the team standings, ABT Sportsline is 16 points behind Schubert Motorsport, the only team to compete with three cars.

After a five-week summer break, the second half of the DTM season begins on 17/18 August at the Nürburgring. ABT Sportsline will use one of the test days permitted by the regulations at this circuit in the run-up to the event.

Martin Tomczyk (ABT Motorsport Director): “We didn’t have the fastest car here either, as you could see quite clearly in both races. The result on Saturday was still okay, Kelvin got the maximum out of it with sixth place and did damage limitation. More would have been possible on Sunday. Unfortunately, there was the incident with the Ferrari, which was extremely annoying. There was a subsequent time penalty for that, but the impact on our side in terms of the championship was obviously bigger. We’ll be chasing these points for a long time to come. Ricardo struggled a bit here, especially under braking. Our pit stops were extremely strong – and that in conditions that are always particularly difficult for the team at the Norisring.”

Kelvin van der Linde (Saturday 6th/Sunday 9th, 17 points): “Of course, that wasn’t the result we had hoped for overall. It just does not work out with the Norisring podium! The race on Saturday was rather boring before it really got going 20 minutes before the end and a tyre gamble began. I think we made the right decision to stay on the safe side. On Sunday, it was extremely frustrating to be spun around by a car that had just come out of the pits on cold tyres. I’m glad that we were at least able to continue after hitting the wall and score points.”

Ricardo Feller (Saturday 13/Sunday 12, 7 points): “That was a difficult weekend. We didn’t have the pace to be at the front. But the car basically felt good. We were also able to improve a little over the three days, so I’m satisfied with the work of my crew. Many thanks to the whole team! But on my side of the garage, unfortunately, we just can’t fight at the front at the moment. We have to find out what the problem is and then go into the second half of the season at the Nürburgring fully motivated.”

Published by: Abt Sportsline

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