Switched from slicks to slicks

In the GT3-DTM, with its always controversial balance of performance, the following applies: Consistent points yields at a high level decide the outcome of the championship. In this respect, Sheldon van der Linde (Schubert-BMW) suffered a setback through no fault of his own in Sunday’s race at the Norisring.

The 2022 DTM champion subsequently lost eighth place and was classified in 14th place in the final result. In concrete terms, this means only two instead of eight points for the overall standings, in which van der Linde is in fifth place at the halfway point of the season. The South African has collected 78 points so far, 26 points behind ‘half-time champion’ Mirko Bortolotti (SSR-Lamborghini).

DTM Norisring 2024: Summary and highlights of the race (05:21 min.)

Sheldon van der Linde penalized for tire change

The reason for van der Linde’s punishment after the end of the race was of a rather rare nature: he was given a 5-second replacement penalty instead of a penalty lap because his Schubert team had violated the regulations in their choice of tires. Doubly bitter: Because the field was tightly packed after a late safety car phase, the 5 seconds cost van der Linde a full six positions.

The Schubert team took another look at the starting grid on Sunday afternoon and changed the tires on van der Linde’s BMW M4 GT3. The Pirelli tires that the BMW works driver had used in the morning’s qualifying were quickly fitted. Since this season, the DTM has had the following rule: the top 10 in qualifying must start the race on their qualifying tires. Van der Linde qualified in ninth place.

The only problem is that, according to Article 38.1 of the Sporting Regulations, tire changes are prohibited after leaving the pit lane until the start of the race. The only exceptions are exchanging damaged tires and changing from slicks to rain tires or vice versa. There was no reason to do this on a dry Sunday. Race management said that the first set of tires on the BMW had been correctly marked – but had not been used in qualifying beforehand.

Rain costs van der Linde possible Saturday victory

For van der Linde, the weekend was one of ups and downs. On Saturday he had his BMW to second place on the grid and hoped for a second victory at the Norisring in a row. But because he switched to rain tires like most of the field after the rain began, Schubert’s team-mate Rene Rast ultimately prevailed with his brave slick strategy. Van der Linde had to settle for P7 after a tough final battle.

“It was a weekend of ‘ifs, could haves, and ifs’,” van der Linde was quoted as saying in a BMW press release. “On Saturday, victory slipped through our fingers due to the difficult conditions. This would have done me a lot of good in the championship, of course, but it wasn’t meant to be. On Sunday, there was nothing more to be done in qualifying, and the race was tough at the end. But that’s how it is sometimes.”

DTM, Norisring, Sheldon van der Linde, Schubert Motorsport, BMW
Sheldon van der Linde in conversation with Torsten Schubert, Photo: BMW M Motorsport

Van der Linde complains about Preining: “That was unfair”

Van der Linde also described how tough things were from his point of view on the ran microphone, and there he found clearer words about his contact with Thomas Preining (Manthey-Porsche) four minutes before the end of the race: “After the safety car phase, I had no grip. Then Thomas came from behind. What he did was unfair. Last year he did exactly the same thing to Rene, but we’ll sort that out later.”

Sixth-placed Preining first caught up with van der Linde and then, on the penultimate lap, also overtook Luca Stolz (HRT-Mercedes) for sixth place. From the point of view of the reigning DTM champion, everything was correct, as he assured ran: “In the end, I benefited from both of them pulling to the inside when braking. Then I drove into them, but there’s nothing else I can do. Once you’re committed, it’s too late.”

Preining continued: “As a result, they had worse results and I was able to sit next to them. But in the long term, we cannot rely on being given something for free like today. We have to make sure that we get faster and, above all, better in qualifying.”

Things weren’t just going smoothly for Sheldon van der Linde at the Norisring. His brother Kelvin also found himself in two stressful situations on Sunday. You can read all about the Ferrari collision and the pit lane incident in this article:

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