SOUTH African racing driver Kelvin Van Der Linde capped off his debut weekend in touring car racing with a win in the second DTM race in Monza.
Van Der Linde earned pole position in the second qualifying session of the weekend, finishing ahead of race one winner and Formula 1 reserve driver Liam Lawson. Lawson threatened Van Der Linde’s position at the start of the race with the ABT Motorsport driver pulling a fantastic, aggressive move exiting the first chicane to save first position.
Van Der Linde followed up a sensational qualifying by dominating the last race of the weekend from start to finish, giving up the lead to ABT teammate Sophia Floersch briefly.
The Nurburgring 24 hours endurance race winner’s maiden DTM win happened to fall on his 25th birthday. Van Der Linde was delighted with the win – especially after finishing in sixth place in race one.
“I’m so proud and I’m so happy, especially with what the team did overnight. We stayed behind and looked at the data last night until about 11,” the rookie DTM driver said.
“We managed to really time everything perfectly with the slipstream. That set up a perfect race and the team delivered in the pit stop. That [The pit stop] was their job today and they did that perfectly.
“Overall perfect job from the team,” he concluded.
Sheldon Van Der Linde, Kelvin’s brother, qualified his BMW in third but slipped to fourth over the course of the race. The GT3 class race saw competitors pile into the pit lane early for their first mandatory tyre change, in comparison to race one the day before where drivers went in around the 30-minute mark.
The four leading cars opted to stay out with Van Der Linde showing great pace and pushing the lead, in his ABT Audi R8 LMS, to just over four seconds. The margin would shrink to 3.3 seconds at the end of the race with last year’s DTM runner-up Nico Mueller taking second place in a 1-2 Audi race finish.
The next DTM event takes place on the 23-25 July at the Dekra Lausitzring GP in Germany.