South African ABT Sportsline Audi driver, Kelvin van der Linde not only claimed pole position for his second ever race in the DTM but he then went on to win and what a way to celebrate his birthday.
Sunday 20th June 2021 race two at Monza, Italy started as fiercely as day one did, showing how the changes in DTM with moving over to GT3 cars has made the championship even more competitive. Van der Linde, who has followed his brother Sheldon into the DTM, placed his foot down hard to get away from the pack at the start, after the tight first bend, leaving a battle for second to hold up the rest of the field.
This battle was a thrilling one as four cars, sometimes racing three abreast, was such a close fight that it was difficult to predict who would come out on top. Those battling were Nico Müller in his Team Rosberg Audi, Liam Lawson in his AF Corse Ferrari, Sheldon van der Linde in the Rowe Racing BWM and the T3 Motorsport Lamborghini of Esteban Muth. By the end of the second lap van der Linde had claimed second place for himself, following his brother who by now had a four second lead over everyone. Day one winner, Lawson had a big moment with the Lamborghini of Muth as they went through a chicane resulting in Lawson being spun round and ending up at the back of the field.
The high-speed track of Monza is a traditionally difficult track to overtake on leading to a wealth of fascinating position fights. The ex-DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller and Muth showed us some great examples of how to fight for position at this track with some very high speed jostling for road space over eighth place. Rockenfeller finally got past Muth with a spectacular manoeuvre on the outside on the penultimate lap.
Kelvin van der Linde held control over the entire race, even when the field got mixed up in the mandatory pit stops, he remained focused and retook the lead as others pitted. His four second lead that he took in lap two came back to him as he took the checkered flag ahead of Müller and the Team Winward Mercedes-AMG of Lucas Auer. The other van der Linde brother came fourth giving BMW thier best result to date.
“This is a proud moment for me,” DTM rookie Kelvin van der Linde said. “I have been working hard to get into DTM for such a long time. Now, both my brother Sheldon and myself have scored DTM race wins. Surely, our parents are over the moon.” His brother Sheldon, three years younger, had arrived in DTM with BMW in 2019 and had scored his maiden win last year. Müller was also visibly happy, showing together with third-placed Lucas Auer that the seasoned DTM stars are also able to keep up with the GT specialists. “This is a very good start of the new season for us,” Müller said. “I had some hard fights and I am already looking forward to the next duels. That was a really good DTM season opener.”
Following this successful season opener at Monza, the second race weekend for the DTM will be at DEKRA Lausitzring, Germany on 23-25 July 2021