Team ABT Sportsline celebrates 1-2 victory at Zolder

ABT Sportsline has become the first team to achieve a 1-2 victory in the 2021 DTM. In Zolder, Belgium, South African Kelvin van der Linde won Saturday’s race in his ABT Audi R8 LMS ahead of his team-mate Mike Rockenfeller. Van der Linde extended his lead in the DTM drivers’ championship to 21 points. ABT Sportsline also took the lead in the team standings for the first time this season.


For the team from Kempten, it was the 69th victory in the DTM and the 19th 1-2 in the racing series.

Kelvin van der Linde secured the first three points on Saturday by setting the fastest time in qualifying. Mike Rockenfeller, on the other hand, had to abort his fastest lap because another driver spun directly in front of him. “Rocky” made up two positions on the first lap and gained another place in the pits. From then on, the ABT duo controlled the pace at the front and was able to fend off attacks from former Formula 1 driver Alex Albon in the Ferrari in the closing stages.

By starting third and fourth on the grid, Mike Rockenfeller and Kelvin van der Linde also secured good starting positions for the second race on Sunday. However, after their pit stops, both got stuck behind the Mercedes of Philip Ellis, who, after a drive-through penalty, actually had nothing more to do with the race at the front. Because the Swiss only completed his mandatory pit stop shortly before the end of the race and overtaking is almost impossible at Zolder, both ABT drivers lost a lot of time behind him. In the end, van der Linde and Rockenfeller had to settle for eighth and tenth places.

Sophia Flörsch competed at Zolder despite a painful bladder infection. The 20-year-old finished the first race in 15th place. In the second race, she parked her ABT Audi R8 LMS shortly before the end of the race for safety reasons after reporting “the brake pedal getting longer” over the radio.

After six of 16 races, Kelvin van der Linde leads the DTM drivers’ standings with 101 points ahead of Ferrari driver Liam Lawson (80). Mike Rockenfeller improved to seventh place in the standings with a total of 46 points. Both ABT drivers have scored points in all races so far. In the teams’ standings, ABT Sportsline has a 13-point lead over second-placed Ferrari team Red Bull Alphatauri AF Corse.


Quotes after the DTM races at Zolder

Thomas Biermaier (Team Principal Team ABT Sportsline): “When you celebrate a 1-2 in the DTM, extend the lead in the drivers’ standings and take the lead in the teams’ standings, then it was definitely a good weekend. Saturday was advertising par excellence for ABT Sportsline. On Sunday, our first problem was to get all the extra weight into the cars. Nevertheless, we had very good starting positions after qualifying. It’s a shame that games like the ones we used to see in the DTM start so early in the season. That cost us a lot of points.”

Kelvin van der Linde (ABT Audi R8 LMS #3): “Saturday was a dream day with the 1-2 victory for ABT, a good strategy and a quick pit stop. I can only thank my guys: that was mega! Sunday didn’t go so perfectly, but we will analyse that in detail. In motorsport there are always highs and lows. Our goal for this weekend was to defend or even extend our championship lead. We managed to do that.”

Mike Rockenfeller (ABT Audi R8 LMS #9): “It was a positive weekend. The pace was good on both days. Kelvin and I were fast in both qualifying sessions. On Saturday I improved from fifth to second in the race – that’s something to be proud of. The most important thing for me is to have a better and better feeling for the car. On Sunday we lacked a bit of luck. What Philip Ellis did on the track was not very sportsman-like from my point of view. But you always see each other twice in life.”

Sophia Flörsch (ABT Audi R8 LMS #99): “We need to forget about Zolder, it was anything but good. The track is difficult and we were not fast enough. It can only get better. In any case, I wish the team all the best for the Nürburgring. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and follow it from Le Mans – and then we will see us again at the Red Bull Ring.”