As expected, the DTM presented itself with an extremely high level of performance at the start of the season. In the first qualifying session of the year, the fastest ten drivers were within 269 thousandths of a second. The time gaps on Sunday were just as close. Noticeable: The new GT3 sports cars from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche had a clear advantage at Oschersleben and fought among themselves for the podium places in both races.
Nevertheless, Ricardo Feller only narrowly missed the podium on Saturday in fourth place, after a spectacular race. The Swiss fought his way up from fifth on the grid to third at times, but lost several positions due to a late pit stop. On a circuit where overtaking is considered extremely difficult, the ABT driver fought his way back and, shortly before the end of the race, also overtook his teammate from last year, three-time DTM champion René Rast, after a spectacular fight.
Ricardo Feller: “Basically a good weekend”
On Sunday, Ricardo Feller stormed forward from 14th on the grid to seventh place, also thanks to a perfectly timed pit stop, and was thus once again the best Audi driver. After the first two DTM races of the season, Feller is fifth in the drivers’ standings. “It was basically a good weekend,” said the ABT driver. “We scored good points for the championship and worked well in the team. If we continue like this, it should get even better in the next races.”
Kelvin van der Linde: “Still room for improvement”
Kelvin van der Linde experienced two frustrating qualifying sessions at Oschersleben in which he repeatedly ran into slower cars – even four times on Sunday. As a result, he secured 10th and 14th on the grid – positions that are disappointing for himself. On Saturday, the South African fought his way up to sixth place in the race. On Sunday, he was also on course for points after hard battles before he had to park his ABT Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II with a broken drive shaft. “We’ve collected ten important points, but we still have room for improvement and some work ahead of us to move further forward – especially in qualifying. When you start at the back, it’s extremely difficult.”
Martin Tomczyk: “Satisfied with the result on Saturday”
ABT Motorsport Director Martin Tomczyk also had a mostly positive view after the start of the season: “As a team, we can at least be quite satisfied with the results on Saturday. Of course, it was annoying that Kelvin retired on Sunday with a technical issue, because otherwise we would have had both cars in the points on both days. For me, both drivers showed a convincing performance. The team also worked well, even if there are still issues that we need to improve internally. There were a lot of new things here for everyone: the ADAC as the promoter, some rules, competitors, cars and drivers. After many days with lots of work, everyone in the team is happy that the season opener is behind us. Thanks to everyone for the effort! Now we’ll take a breath and then do our homework for Zandvoort.”