Sheldon Van Der Linde Wins In The Rain At Assen

Heavy rain showers caused difficult conditions on Sunday at Assen for the DTM drivers, but Sheldon van der Linde secured the first DTM race victory for a South African. The only 21-year-old BMW driver won the race thanks to clever tactics by his RBM team and courtesy of his driving skills on the soaked asphalt that gave many of his opponents a hard time.

After a disappointing qualifying, van der Linde had only started the race from 14th on the grid, emphasizing the young driver’s outstanding performance even more. In a turbulent race, Frijns came home as the best-placed Audi driver.

Points’ leader Nico Müller (SUI, Audi) rounded out the podium and remains in the lead of the drivers’ standings. The spectators who had made the trip got to see a highly entertaining race marked by numerous position changes, a temporary stoppage of the race and a new start behind the safety car.

Qualifying having still been held in dry conditions, heavy downpours fell on the TT Circuit that completely soaked the track. All drivers opted for rain tires as a result. Due to the weather conditions, race control had imposed two formation laps behind the safety car. For the standing start at the dry asphalt, pole sitter René Rast (GER, Audi) lacked the necessary grip to remain in front. Loïc Duval (FRA, Audi) handled it considerably better and immediately took the lead. Robin Frijns went past as well and claimed second place.

Heavy rain – Audi Sport RS 5 DTM #33 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg), René Rast

Early stop and fast laps key to victory

Out in front, however, things were soon getting close for Duval. Robin Frijns was the first to get past and later on, the Frenchman lost further ground to Rast, Müller and Timo Glock (GER, BMW). The latter, having started eighth, did very well with his BMW M4 DTM in the wet. While Frijns was able to extend his lead, Duval dropped back further. Van der Linde’s RBM team, meanwhile, opted for an early stop to put fresh rain tires on. That eventually turned out to be the key to victory as the opposition from Audi, led by Frijns, Müller and Rast, made its pit stops considerably later. In the meantime, van der Linde pushed with fast laps so that he could just stay ahead of Frijns as the latter rejoined the race.

Race stopped after Scherer’s accident

Soon after that, there was a heart-stopping moment for the fans in the grandstands as rookie driver Fabio Scherer (SUI, Audi) had a massive shunt in the fast Ramshoek section. His WRT team had put on slick tires, a risk that proved to be too high in the conditions. Debris on track and damaged tire stacks were the reason the race had to be stopped. Scherer escaped unscathed from his Audi RS 5 DTM, but the race was over for the young Swiss. Out in front, van der Linde made no mistakes at the rolling restart and defended his lead until the finish. Frijns and Müller tried everything but posed no threat to the BMW driver as the rain set in again. Van der Linde’s victory goes down into DTM history as the first-ever win by a South African. For the RBM team, it was the tenth victory in the touring car race series.

Sheldon Van der Linde

Prior to the ninth race of the season at the Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit (12-13 September), Nico Müller remains in the lead of the drivers’ standings at 164 points. After his win on Saturday, Robin Frijns remains second at 138 points and is 18 points ahead of third-placed René Rast.

DTM Assen Race 2 Result

1 31 Sheldon Van der Linde (RSA) BMW Team RBM Shell BMW M4 DTM 31 0.0000
2 4 Robin Frijns (NLD) Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Aral Ultimate Audi RS 5 DTM 31 2.621
3 51 Nico Müller (CHE) Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Castrol EDGE Audi RS 5 DTM 31 3.658
4 28 Loic Duval (FRA) Audi Sport Team Phoenix BMC Air Filter Audi RS 5 DTM 31 9.414
5 33 René Rast (DEU) Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi Sport RS 5 DTM 31 9.455
6 16 Timo Glock (DEU) BMW Team RMG iQOO BMW M4 DTM 31 9.870
7 62 Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT) WRT Team Audi Sport WRT Audi RS 5 DTM 31 11.048
8 11 Marco Wittmann (DEU) BMW Team RMG Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM 31 11.666
9 25 Philipp Eng (AUT) BMW Team RBM ZF BMW M4 DTM 31 12.436
10 22 Lucas Auer (AUT) BMW Team RMR BMW Bank M4 DTM 31 13.033
11 99 Mike Rockenfeller (DEU) Audi Sport Team Phoenix Twin Busch Audi RS5 DTM 31 14.015
12 53 Jamie Green (GBR) Audi Sport Team Rosberg Akrapovic Audi RS 5 DTM 31 14.396
13 27 Jonathan Aberdein (RSA) BMW Team RMR CATL BMW M4 DTM 31 17.018
14 8 Robert Kubica (POL) ORLEN Team ART (ART Grand Pr BMW M4 CLASS1 31 17.863
15 10 Harrison Newey (GBR) WRT Audi RS 5 DTM WRT Audi RS 5 DTM 30 1 Lap