First victory of the season for Maximilian Götz in the DTM which comes thanks to a capital performance on the home track of the Haupt Racing Team rider.
At the Norisring the first round gave a lot of spectacle, partly due to the nature of the Nuremberg city track – very short and therefore with cars that finished as ‘lapped’ in the middle of the group once the pit stop was made – and a bit for the stakes.
From this point of view, Götz was impeccable, climbing from fourth to first place in a dozen laps, then lengthening and comfortably managing the situation at the wheel of his Mercedes-AMG, leaving behind the tussle between rivals.
In this way Götz reduces the margin in the championship standings from the leader Liam Lawson, combative and at the same time intelligent in not taking excessive risks, also given the half ‘omelette’ made at the start by the staunch enemy Kelvin Van Der Linde.
While the Red Bull boy kept the first place from Pole Position, the South African of Team ABT Sportsline immediately tried to slip him into the first corner, but going very long and being sucked by the pursuers sinking seventh.
Lawson was overtaken by Ellis, then Götz passed both and on lap 12 the AF Corse Ferrari 488 entered Team Winward’s Mercedes-AMG at the 4-5 chicane. Ellis closed the door and despite being pinned, Lawson touched him on the rear, sending him into a spin; the episode was judged as normal match contact by the commissioners.
In the whirlwind of stops, Götz had no problem maintaining the lead, but behind him Arjun Maini was unexpectedly hoisted in the Mercedes of the GetSpeed Performance team. The Indian kept his nerve even when in the last three laps Lawson made up for it, then finishing on a very precious third step of the podium that is worth the points for the team title at AF Corse.
Maximilian Götz, Haupt Racing Team Mercedes AMG GT3
Photo by: Alexander Trienitz
K.Van Der Linde did not have an easy life, also because in AF Corse they tried to delay the stop of the other Ferrari, the AlphaTauri branded one driven by Nick Cassidy. The New Zealander came out in front of his opponent’s black Audi R8 LMS, but ‘VDL’ took advantage of the warmer tires to overtake him by force (and also took a spin), finishing fourth and contributing to the triumph of the Amato Ferrari team.
Lucas Auer gets only a sixth place on the Mercedes of Team Winward, preceding that of Daniel Juncadella (GruppeM Racing) and the Audi of Nico Müller (Team Rosberg).
In the points area we also find Maximilian Buhk’s Mercedes (Mücke Motorsport) and the very disappointed Ellis.
Esteban Muth remains empty-handed with the Lamborghini Huracán of T3 Motorsport and, above all, the other local idol, Marco Wittmann, who does not go beyond 12th place armed with the BMW M6 of Walkenhorst Motorsport saying goodbye to title hopes.
Even for Sophia Flörsch the postponed tire change does not allow the girl from Team Rosberg to do better than a 13th place with her Audi, followed by Vincent Abril’s Mercedes (Team HRT) – involved in the start doors – and Lucas’s Audi. Di Grassi (Team ABT Sportsline) and Dev Gore (Team Rosberg).
Retired Esmee Hawkey (Lamborghini-T3 Motorsport), Timo Glock and Sheldon Van Der Linde (BMW-Rowe Racing) for technical problems, and Mike Rockenfeller (ABT Sportsline), whose Audi came out battered from the first corner.
In the drivers’ standings, Lawson remains first with 224 points, 18 more than K. Van Der Linde who now finds himself right behind Götz at -1. Tomorrow between Qualifying and Race 2 we will see which of these will win, becoming the 2021 DTM Champion.
Among the teams, AF Corse / Red Bull AlphaTauri becomes Champion with 364 lengths, as Team ABT Sportsline is at 282, with Mercedes-AMG Team Winward third at 262.