Monza DTM: Lawson wins for Red Bull as GT3 era begins

Liam Lawson claimed victory for Red Bull ahead of Mercedes duo Vincent Abril and Maximilian Gotz, as the GT3 era of the DTM got underway at Monza with Race 1 on Saturday.

Lawson leapfrogged a quartet of Mercedes cars with a relatively early stop in his AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GT3, giving Red Bull a victory on its return to the series.

Ahead of the race, Audi, BMW and Ferrari were all handed a performance boost by DTM's BoP partner AVL Racing, with Mercedes having locked out the top four spots on the grid.

As the action got underway at the Italian Grand Prix venue, Vincent Abril led the field from pole position in the HRT AMG GT3 ahead of GruppeM's Daniel Juncadella, with Maximilian Gotz jumping Lucas Auer to move up to third.

Lawson made a brave getaway from seventh on the grid, clearing the T3 Lamborghini of Esteban Muth on the run to the first chicane before gaining another place due to a retirement for Winward driver Philip Ellis.

The order at the front then began to to stabilise, with much of the field running nose to tail at the 5.8km circuit.

Audi duo Nico Muller and Mike Rockenfeller, and Lamborghini driver Esmee Hawkey triggered the pitstop sequence at the end of lap 5 of what turned out to be a 28 lap race, with Lawson following them four laps later.

That allowed the Kiwi to come out in clean air, which proved to be decisive in the fight for victory.

So when Abril finally headed to the pits on lap 11, he was unable to fend off Lawson on cold tyres, the Red Bull protege passing him into Turn 2 to take the effective lead of the race.

From there on, the 19-year-old enjoyed a clear run to the finish, even though Abril was able to close the gap back up to 1.6s in the closing laps on fresher tyres.

Gotz made it two Mercedes-AMG GT3s on the podium in third, while Alex Albon charged his way from 14th on the grid to claim fourth in the AlphaTauri Ferrari.

The Anglo-Thai driver pitted a lap after his Red Bull stablemate Lawson but had to work his way through traffic, with both Muller and Kelvin van der Linde overtaking him on his out lap.

However, Albon was able to repass the Audi duo and then fend off the Mercedes of Juncadella to take fourth at the flag.

Gary Paffett's stand-in Maximilian Buhk was the last driver to make a pitstop, with a lengthy first stint elevating him to seventh behind Juncadella and van der Linde's Abt Sportsline-run R8 LMS GT3.

Team Rosberg driver Muller was nudged into a spin going into the second chicane by Juncadella, but the Swiss driver recovered well to finish eighth, less than two seconds behind Buhk's Mucke Mercedes.

BMWs enjoyed better pace in the race after qualifying near the rear of the grid, with two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann propelling the Walkenhorst M6 to ninth at the finish ahead of 2013 title winner and Abt driver Mike Rockenfeller.

Auer finished outside the points in 13th after a lengthy pitstop, with the Winward mechanics struggling to detach the rear-left wheel gun on his Mercedes.

There were only two DNFs at Monza, with Abt driver Dev Gore joining Ellis in the list of retirement after contact with Timo Glock's Rowe Racing BMW at Turn 1 on the second lap.

Cla Driver Car Gap
1 New Zealand Liam Lawson
Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020
2 France Vincent Abril
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1.630
3 Germany Maximilian Götz
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 2.636
4 Thailand Alex Albon
Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 7.076
5 Spain Daniel Juncadella
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1 Lap
6 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde
Audi R8 LMS Evo 16.378
7 Germany Maximilian Buhk
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 17.615
8 Switzerland Nico Müller
Audi R8 LMS Evo 19.402
9 Germany Marco Wittmann
BMW M6 GT3 20.517
10 Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Audi R8 LMS Evo 23.181
11 Belgium Esteban Muth
Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 24.955
12 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde
BMW M6 GT3 2 Laps
13 Austria Lucas Auer
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1 Lap
14 India Arjun Maini
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 29.162
15 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey
Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 38.640
16 Germany Sophia Flörsch
Audi R8 LMS Evo 40.821
17 Germany Timo Glock
BMW M6 GT3 45.789
18 United States Dev Gore
Audi R8 LMS Evo 26 Laps
19 United Kingdom Philip Ellis
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 27 Laps

 

 

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