ABT Sportsline starts DTM anniversary season with a podium finish

ABT Sportsline started its 25th DTM season with a podium result. The team from Kempten thus continues its impressive track record in Germany’s most important racing series: ABT Sportsline has achieved at least one podium result in every DTM season since 2001.

Ricardo Feller’s third place at the season opener at Oschersleben was the 252nd podium finish for ABT Sportsline in the DTM. The Swiss driver started Race 1 on Saturday from fourth on the grid. He made up one position each at the start and pit stop and was in second place when a full course yellow followed by a safety car shook up the standings. After fierce battles with Jack Aitken (Ferrari) and Mirko Bortolotti (Lamborghini), Feller crossed the finish line in third place.

On Sunday, the ABT driver was running in a secure fifth place when the engine of his Audi suddenly started cutting on the final lap and died off just a few metres from the finish line. Fortunately, Feller was able to restart the engine and crossed the finish line in ninth place. However, instead of second in the standings, the Swiss driver left Oschersleben in sixth place overall.

Kelvin van der Linde had a difficult weekend, complaining of unusual handling from the first practice session on Friday. Despite his crew working late into the night and replacing every conceivable part on his car, the problems remained largely unchanged. Van der Linde had to settle for twelfth on the grid on both days. He also finished twelfth in the first race. Fifth place on Sunday was unexpected and caused a lot of pats on the back in the team.

The DTM continues at the Lausitzring on 25 and 26 May. Last year, Ricardo Feller and Kelvin van der Linde secured a podium finish for ABT Sportsline there.

Martin Tomczyk (ABT Motorsport Director): “I look back on the start of the season with mixed feelings, because after very successful tests we had unexpected problems with Kelvin’s car. We had to completely rebuild the car twice. Sunday’s performance was a little better, but he was still not happy with the car. We need to work on that over the next four weeks so that we can attack also with Kelvin at the Lausitzring. Ricky made an even better start to the season with a podium on Saturday. That was great for the whole team, who worked very hard for it. Of course, the electronics problem on Sunday so close to the finish was extremely annoying. But that’s unfortunately part of racing.”

Ricardo Feller (Saturday 3rd place/Sunday 9th place, 23 points): “Basically I’m happy with the weekend. We want to fight for the championship and we showed that we are a force to be reckoned with. It was great to start the new season with a podium. The technical problem on Sunday could have happened a bit later...”

Kelvin van der Linde (Saturday 12th/Sunday 5th, 15 points): “I struggled all weekend with a problem with the car that we couldn’t solve. Compared to the tests, we lacked downforce on the front axle and the car didn’t turn in properly. Nevertheless, we take home a very happy fifth place and important points.”