With 75 victories, 251 podiums, five drivers’ and five teams’ titles, ABT Sportsline is the most successful active DTM team, while ABT driver Ricardo Feller is one of only four drivers who still have a chance of winning the drivers’ title at the DTM finale at Hockenheim next weekend (both races live on ProSieben from 1 PM CEST on Saturday and Sunday).
Realistically, with leader Thomas Preining (Porsche/190 points) leading, Mirko Bortolotti (Lamborghini/180) in second place and Ricardo Feller (ABT Audi/159) in third, three drivers are fighting for Germany’s most important motorsport championship title. Sheldon van der Linde’s chances are more theoretical (BMW/138).
Ricardo Feller: “Anything is possible in a DTM finale”
“With a 31-point deficit, I’m probably more of an outsider at the finale,” says the ABT driver. “But anything is possible in a DTM finale. We will focus on ourselves, get the maximum out of our car and be there in case something unexpected happens. As we saw at the Red Bull Ring, the weather can have a big influence. Hockenheim is kind of my home track and I’ve always liked it. My car felt good at the test last week. We were able to test a few important things for the finale and are well prepared. However, we were brutally slow on the straights at the test when compared to the competition.”
Kelvin van der Linde: “For me, it’s all about the teams’ title”
Feller’s teammate Kelvin van der Linde, despite his victory at the Red Bull Ring, no longer has a chance of winning the drivers’ title after a difficult first half of the season. “My goal is to be in the top six at the end of the season,” says the South African-born driver, who now has German citizenship. “But of course, for me and for us, the first priority is to win the teams’ title. If we manage to finish in the top five with both cars in the two races, we should have every chance of winning this thing. I like racing at Hockenheim, I was on pole twice there in 2021 and was actually always successful there. If everything goes right with the BoP, we will definitely be in the mix.”
Martin Tomczyk: “We still want both titles”
Martin Tomczyk is also confident of this. “We still want both titles, even though we are 31 points behind in both championships and all the brands will be strong at Hockenheim,” says the ABT Motorsport Director. “Without the tiresome BoP issue, we would now be in a better starting position. But I know from my own experience that a DTM finale has its own laws and things can look very different again on Saturday evening. We have nothing to lose and will try to turn up the pressure. The fans can look forward to an exciting weekend.”
ABT Sportsline has already achieved its minimum goal for the season, namely to keep the title fight open until the finale and to fight for both championship titles at Hockenheim. But of course, the expectations in Kempten are higher. During 16 of the 23 years in DTM, at least one ABT driver finished in the top three of the drivers’ championship – most recently Nico Müller (2019/2020), Robin Frijns (2020), Kelvin van der Linde (2021) and René Rast (2022). The next could now be a young 23-year-old Swiss who has scored points in all 14 races of the 2023 season so far.
ABT driver Ricardo Feller about ...
... the special requirements of the Hockenheimring: “You need a very good mix for the set-up. You have long straights and very slow corners, including a hairpin. Braking and traction are very important there, but there are also fast corners where the high-speed balance has to be right. The car has to be well balanced.”
... the coolest section: “The third sector. It’s great fun to drive through the Motodrom. It has a nice flow.”
... the best overtaking opportunities: “With slipstreaming at the end of the Parabolika, but it actually starts in the second corner. At Hockenheim we can look forward to duels that last for more than one corner. It’s quite possible to drive half a lap side by side.”
... the best place to watch: “As a fan, I would probably sit in the Sachs corner.”
Download video: A lap of the Hockenheimring with ABT driver Ricardo Feller
Did you know that ...
... ABT Sportsline competed in the DTM for the first time at Hockenheim on 28 May 2000 and that a certain Ricardo Feller was born just four days later – on 1 June 2000?
... ABT Sportsline won the drivers’ championship three times in a row in 2007, 2008 and 2009 at the last race at Hockenheim?
... ABT Sportsline will present their drivers, car and partners for the 2024 DTM season in the Hockenheim paddock on Friday at 6:30 PM?
... ABT Sportsline has invited its employees to the DTM finale and almost 100 of them will come to Hockenheim on Saturday to keep their fingers crossed for the DTM team?
... of course also Hans-Jürgen Abt, CEO of the ABT Group, and ABT Sportsline CEO Thomas Biermaier will be on site at Hockenheim?
... Kelvin van der Linde is a big padel fan and was delighted to receive an invitation from ABT partner CUPRA to experience the finale of the Padel World Tour in Düsseldorf after his victory in the DTM race at the Red Bull Ring?
... the ABT driver was also able to play a round of padel with Jonas Messerschmidt, captain of the German national team and brand ambassador for CUPRA?
... goalkeeping legend Raimond Aumann (among other things, six times German champion with FC Bayern) will be a guest of ABT Sportsline at the DTM finale?
... Harold Kreis, coach of the German national ice hockey team, will be visiting ABT Sportsline in Hockenheim on Saturday for a garage tour?
... Harold Kreis and Raimond Aumann will both experience the Hockenheimring as co-drivers in the DTM innovation taxi from ABT partner Schaeffler?
... Ricardo Feller won a race in the GT World Challenge Europe at the Hockenheimring in the summer?
... last weekend the Swiss, together with Mattia Drudi, secured the GT World Challenge Sprint Cup drivers’ title with two victories in the season finale at Zandvoort?
... Kelvin van der Linde visited his racing driver friend and Nürburgring 24 Hours teammate Jordan Pepper for an extended weekend in London between the two DTM races at the Red Bull Ring and Hockenheim?
... Kelvin van der Linde will also set a time in the simulator of ABT partner Schaeffler at Hockenheim for DTM fans to measure themselves against?
... The Ski World Cup will be a guest in Gurgl in the Ötztal for the first time on 18 November and the ABT partner will promote the event with an original mountain cable car gondola at the finale in Hockenheim?
... the two ABT drivers Ricardo Feller and Kelvin van der Linde will be signing autographs at the gondola of Ötztal-Gurgl on Saturday afternoon after the DTM race?
... Roland Scheucher wants to reduce his workload after the DTM finale? Sunday’s race at Hockenheim will be his last DTM race as the team’s technical coordinator for the time being.
... Scheucher has not missed a single DTM race in 24 years?
... Jochen Graf and Günter Röck, two of Martin Tomczyk’s long-time mechanics, will support the team at the finale at Hockenheim?