After the first half of the DTM season, ABT Sportsline is still in the title race in Germany’s most popular racing series. At the Nürburgring, Ricardo Feller collected a total of 27 points with his ABT Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II by finishing fourth and sixth, and scoring four additional points in qualifying. At the halfway mark, the Swiss is ranked in fourth place in the DTM drivers’ standings, tied on points with the third-placed driver. Kelvin van der Linde was also among the main protagonists in the Eifel, but, as early as at the first corner in both races, he lost his chances for top results.
In dry conditions, ABT Sportsline secured the second row of the grid on Saturday. While Ricardo Feller was able to defend his third place at the start, Kelvin van der Linde was hit hard from behind by a competitor in the first corner and spun around. From last place, the South African showed an impressive recovery that brought him up to eighth place and made him the “man of the race” in the eyes of many. “My car was fantastic, and the many overtaking manoeuvres were a lot of fun,” said van der Linde. “But unfortunately, we lost a lot of points again through no fault of our own. That hurts.”
The same driver who hit Kelvin van der Linde on the rear in the first corner also deprived Ricardo Feller of a possible podium result. After a safety car period, he drove very slowly as a lapped driver behind his leading teammate, which hindered the drivers directly behind him at the restart. Ricardo Feller was hit hardest, dropping from third to fourth place. “To miss the podium in this way is of course very annoying,” said Feller.
On Sunday, rain showers made for a turbulent race day. Despite the damp track, Ricardo Feller opted for slicks right from the start in qualifying and it turned out to be the right decision. By quite a margin, he secured the three additional points for pole position for the second time this year. “When you are on pole, of course you want to win the race,” said the ABT driver. “Unfortunately, we lost a lot of positions at the beginning because we expected the rain earlier. With the right tyre pressures, we were able to make up some ground after the pit stop, but unfortunately not as much as we had lost before. But we have to live with that. My crew did a great job again this weekend and it’s still very close in the championship, especially the fight for second and third place.”
Kelvin van der Linde, on the other hand, had to deal with another setback on Sunday. The South African was again the victim of a collision in the first corner and a subsequent tyre gamble also did not work in the end. “It was a difficult weekend, that’s all there is to say,” the South African was understandably unusually tight-lipped.
“We didn’t get the results we were hoping for here, especially on Sunday,” said ABT Motorsport Director Martin Tomczyk. “With Ricardo, we had a great starting position. Unfortunately, the pressure in the tyres at the start was a bit too high. It was virtually impossible to estimate how the weather would develop. It was a gamble that unfortunately didn’t work out. Not with Kelvin either. But that’s how it often is at the Nürburgring. On a positive note, we were once again able to show that our cars and our drivers are top notch and that we can compete at the front. That makes me confident for the second half of the season, which begins at the Lausitzring in a fortnight.”