Nicki Thiim celebrates first DTM victory at the Norisring

The Viking conquers the Norisring! Nicki Thiim (SSR-Lamborghini) has clinched his first victory at the fourth race weekend of the 2024 DTM season. The Danish racing driver’s son remained confident from the start from pole position and was not unsettled by a late safety car phase (parts on the track).

For Thiim, it was his first win in his twelfth DTM race and also his first podium finish. His father Kurt Thiim, champion in 1986, can look back on 20 victories and was successful twice on the Nuremberg street circuit (1989, 1991).

Nicki Thiim: From Spa victory to first DTM triumph

An incredible week for Thiim Junior: The first DTM pole and the first win just a few days after his victory at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps! The 35-year-old also set a new GT3 lap record on the 2.162-kilometer street circuit.

There was also great jubilation from Thiim’s SSR Performance team, led by owner Stefan Schlund: The racing team from Munich is returning home with a triumph at its home race. A small disappointment for the Lamborghini team: Mirko Bortolotti was unable to hold on to second place on the grid in the race and had to ‘settle’ for third place on the podium.

Bortolotti takes over overall lead from van der Linde

Bortolotti takes the lead in the DTM table with 104 points. The previous leader Kelvin van der Linde (Abt-Audi, 98 points) was in a very promising position after the mandatory pit stops until he spun after a collision with Jack Aitken’s Emil Frey Ferrari and finished in tenth place after 69 laps.

Maro Engel (Winward-Mercedes) finished second on the podium, 0.7 seconds behind Thiim – and this was the AMG veteran’s 100th DTM start. During the pit stop, Engel managed to overtake Bortolotti, who had been in second place up to that point, with a well-timed undercut. For Engel, it was his third podium finish of the current season.

Arjun Maini (HRT-Mercedes) showed a strong performance in a race with few overtaking maneuvers at the front: The Indian narrowly missed his second Norisring podium after 2021, finishing fourth. The HRT driver had started the race from seventh place on the grid.

Rene Rast with the comeback of the weekend at the Norisring

Speaking of catching up: Rene Rast (Schubert-BMW) was almost unstoppable and crossed the finish line in fifth place – after starting from 19th place! And with 20 kilos of success ballast on board. The winner of Saturday’s race gained eight positions in the first few laps and continued to push forward after the pit stops. A more than successful way of limiting the damage after the poor qualifying and an additional grid penalty.

The reigning DTM champion Thomas Preining (Manthey-Porsche) fought his way through the field from twelfth place on the grid in a similarly impressive manner and collected a few points with sixth place. Overall, however, it was a difficult weekend for the reigning team champions from Manthey-Porsche, where Can Güven (ninth place) also largely remained pale. Luca Stolz (HRT-Mercedes) and Sheldon van der Linde (Schubert-BMW) completed the top eight, while local hero Marco Wittmann in the third Schubert-BMW only managed P13.

DTM Norisring: This is how the race went on Sunday

The starting line-up: Nicki Thiim achieved his first pole position in the DTM and narrowly won the long-distance duel in the split group qualifying ahead of SSR team-mate Mirko Bortolotti. Maro Engel started his 100th DTM race from third place after a late qualifying attack, with Kelvin van der Linde joining him. Rene Rast suffered a bitter setback after his victory on Saturday: the Schubert-BMW driver did not make it past the second-to-last row and was also given a subsequent one-place grid penalty.

The start: Uneventful start and no position changes at the front: Nicki Thiim defended pole confidently ahead of SSR team-mate Mirko Bortolotti, followed by Maro Engel, Kelvin van der Linde and Luca Stolz. Only Maximilian Paul from fifth place lost a few positions and was investigated for a false start (penalty lap). Thierry Vermeulen and Marco Wittmann also each received a penalty lap, as did Franck Perera following a collision at the start with Ricardo Feller.

The first half of the race: One of the winners of the first 10 laps after around 10 minutes was Rene Rast, who fought his way up from 19th place on the grid to 11th place. Thomas Preining managed to improve his position from 12th to 8th place. On lap 14, Maximilian Paul suffered a puncture on the left rear tire and had to head for the pit lane. Not much happened on the track until the pit stop window opened after 20 minutes.

On lap 23, Luca Stolz, Thomas Preining, Sheldon van der Linde and Luca Engstler opened the pit stop series. One lap later, Maro Engel from P3 and fourth-placed Kelvin van der Linde followed. On the way out of the pits, things got tight between the two podium contenders. SSR Lamborghini reacted and ordered Mirko Bortolotti to make the mandatory tire change on lap 26. On lap 27, it was the turn of the front runners Nicki Thiim and Rene Rast, while on the track Engel overtook Bortolotti for P2.

After returning to the track, Rast was virtually in fourth place behind Thiim, Engel and Bortolotti. However, the Schubert driver had to put up a strong fight against the pressing driver behind him, Luca Stolz, in his HRT Mercedes. Kelvin van der Linde fell from the leading group to P14 due to a collision with Jack Aitken and impact with the wall.

The rest of the race: Marco Wittmann’s BMW front end suffered damage after contact with Ricardo Feller in the duel for 15th place and was hanging loose. On lap 43, 2 minutes before the pit stop window closed, Ricardo Feller came in as the second to last driver to change tires. At this point, only Thierry Vermeulen was still driving on his starting tires. The Dutchman followed into the pits on lap 44, while Feller rejoined the field in P15.

On the track, the positions settled down a bit until Thomas Preining overtook Lucas Auer on lap 52 and took over 8th place. The Mercedes Mamba driver lost three more positions in direct succession and fell back to 11th place. “No brakes, no tires left,” Auer radioed to his Winward team.

On lap 56 – around 10 minutes before the finish – the race management sent out the safety car because of parts lying around on the track, including a headlight from Marco Wittmann’s BMW. The two McLarens of Clemens Schmid and Ben Dörr were allowed to lap back.

At the restart on lap 63 with four and a half minutes remaining, Thiim remained ahead of Engel, Bortolotti and Maini. Preining took over P7 from Sheldon van der Linde (under observation for blocking), Kelvin van der Linde improved to P10. Preining continued cheerfully, overtook Luca Stolz’s HRT Mercedes (under observation for blocking – warning) and moved up to 6th place. Thiim didn’t let anything go wrong until he crossed the finish line on lap 69.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *