Hockenheim DTM: Auer dominates, disaster for van der Linde

Mercedes driver Lucas Auer romped to a dominant victory in the second DTM race at Hockenheim, as Liam Lawson snatched the championship lead from Kelvin van der Linde following a disastrous outing for the South African.

Starting second on the grid, Auer wasted little time to pass the heavy-ballasted Audi of polesitter van der Linde, diving down the inside of the Abt Sportsline driver into Turn 2 to take the lead of the race.

Once in front there was no catching Auer, the Winward Mercedes driver leading all laps outside the pitstop cycle to clinch a seventh career win in the DTM - and second in as many weekends.

The Austrian driver’s run to victory was made easy by title contenders van der Linde and Lawson squabbling for second in the opening laps of the race, with the South African having to aggressively defend his position with 25kg of extra weight on his car.

Lawson managed to overtake van der Linde into the Turn 7 right-hander on the opening lap, only for the Audi driver to strike back at the following turn.

Both stepped up their aggression on the next lap, banging wheels as they exited the hairpin at Turn 6. There was more contact under braking for the Turn 8 left-hander, van der Linde tagging the back of Lawson and unsettling his Ferrari - before overtaking him into the apex of the corner.

The stewards took note of the incident and handed van der Linde a five-second time penalty, effectively leaving him out of the second-place fight.

Lawson wouldn’t need the penalty to pass van der Linde, however, as a slow pitstop for the Abt Sportsline driver would allow him to jump back ahead of him.

Once in clear air, the AF Corse Ferrari driver couldn’t do much about Auer's lead up front, but the second-place finish allows him to take a significant 14-point lead in the final round of the season at the Norisring next week.

Lawson’s title hopes were boosted by van der Linde hitting more trouble later in the race, eventually slipping to 10th at the flag.

With the extra weight on his Audi, van der Linde was passed by Mercedes cars of Maximilian Gotz, Daniel Juncadella and Philip Ellis, leaving him sixth on the road. But it was a five-second penalty for not serving his previous sanction in the pits that struck more damage, dropping him a further four places in the final classification.

Meanwhile, Gotz finished third behind Lawson to keep his faint title hopes alive heading into the final round of the season, while Auer’s teammate Ellis passed Juncadella on the final lap to finish fourth.

Alex Albon finished a respectable sixth in the AF Corse Ferrari despite carrying 18kg of ballast, beating DTM debutant Michael Dienst, who picked up his first championship points as a substitute for Mucke Motorsport regular Maximilian Buhk

The top 10 was rounded out by GetSpeed’s Arjun Maini, HRT driver Vincent Abril and van der Linde.

Marco Wittmann’s hopes of winning the DTM title are all but over after the Walkenhorst BMW driver finished outside of the points for a second race in a row, not helped by a five-second penalty for a pitstop infringement.

After engine issues left him near the bottom of the grid, 2016/17 Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi retired from the race with yet more technical gremlins.

Race results:

Cla # Driver Car Gap
1 22 Austria Lucas Auer
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo
2 30 New Zealand Liam Lawson
Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 6.388
3 4 Germany Maximilian Götz
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 12.080
4 57 United Kingdom Philip Ellis
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 12.748
5 8 Spain Daniel Juncadella
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 13.361
6 23 Thailand Alex Albon
Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 15.243
7 18 Germany Marvin Dienst
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 17.457
8 36 India Arjun Maini
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 19.418
9 5 France Vincent Abril
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 22.115
10 3 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde
Audi R8 LMS Evo 24.161
11 9 Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Audi R8 LMS Evo 27.116
12 11 Germany Marco Wittmann
BMW M6 GT3 27.260
13 51 Switzerland Nico Müller
Audi R8 LMS Evo 28.110
14 6 Germany Hubert Haupt
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 46.727
15 16 Germany Timo Glock
BMW M6 GT3 50.958
16 26 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey
Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 58.142
17 12 United States Dev Gore
Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'01.886
18 37 Brazil Lucas di Grassi
Audi R8 LMS Evo 8 Laps
19 10 Belgium Esteban Muth
BMW M6 GT3 18 Laps
20 99 Germany Sophia Flörsch
Audi R8 LMS Evo 30 Laps
21 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde
BMW M6 GT3 32 Laps

 

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Hockenheim DTM: Van der Linde retakes points lead with pole

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