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Sheldon van der Linde wins for BMW to become first South African to win a DTM race.

Sheldon van der Linde (RSA, Shell BMW M4 DTM) took the first DTM win of his career and the first DTM victory for a South African in Sunday’s race at Assen (NED). The BMW Team RBM driver made perfect use of the rain and the difficult track conditions and, thanks to a flawless drive and a perfect team strategy, moved up from 14th on the grid to P1.

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Assen. Sheldon van der Linde ( RSA, Shell BMW M4 DTM) took the first DTM win of his career and the first DTM victory for a South African in Sunday’s race at Assen (NED). The BMW Team RBM driver made perfect use of the rain and the difficult track conditions and, thanks to a flawless drive and a perfect team strategy, moved up from 14th on the grid to P1. Timo Glock (GER, iQOO BMW M4 DTM), Marco Wittmann (GER, Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM), Philipp Eng (AUT, ZF BMW M4 DTM) and Lucas Auer (AUT, BMW Bank M4 DTM) also did well in the conditions and finished in the top ten.

 

After a dry qualifying session, heavy rain set in shortly before the race got underway. The rain eased off gradually in the first half of the race and Glock in particular set off on an extraordinary race to gain positions with strong overtaking manoeuvres in that initial stage which saw him move up into second place. Van der Linde made his compulsory pit stop early and afterwards had a clear run which saw him move up into the lead after his rivals made later pit stops.

 

An accident and heavy rain setting in again interrupted the race temporarily. On the restart, van der Linde held on to his top-spot commandingly and brought the win home. Jonathan Aberdein (RSA, CATL BMW M4 DTM) was the highest qualifying BMW driver in sixth, but was unable to keep up with the pace at the front in the rain and ended up finishing in 13th place.

 

The fifth race weekend of the DTM season is this coming weekend, at the Nürburgring (GER).

 

Reactions to the eighth DTM race of the 2020 season in Assen.

 

Rudolf Dittrich (General Manager BMW Motorsport Vehicle Development):

“What a fantastic win for Sheldon van der Linde! Congratulations to him and BMW Team RBM on a brilliant performance in these difficult conditions. The early pit stop combined with Sheldon’s flawless drive paid off perfectly. He had a free run so was able to make up a lot of time and positions. He also mastered the restart extremely well as the leader and more than deserved the first victory in his DTM career. Timo Glock also had a fantastic race. Watching him as he ploughed through the field in the rain was a real pleasure. Generally, our cars, teams and drivers did well in today’s conditions and made use of them almost flawlessly. All in all, it was great to drive in front of fans again at Assen, with whom we will celebrate this win briefly before heading straight on to next weekend.”

 

Bart Mampaey (Team Principal BMW Team RBM):

“First, I’d like to thank the whole team for their hard work. We were close at the Lausitzring and now it really was enough for the very top. We opted for an alternative strategy, but with something in mind. We expected the whole race to be wet. Then it dried up during the race, but we saw that the bad weather would make a comeback. We were way down the grid with two of our cars. They had the pace but couldn’t move up the field. Then, after his early tyre change, Sheldon van der Linde drove fast laps and overtook the others who didn’t react to our strategy. Then the rain came back, and it was very tense again at the restart. I think we did a really good job. The stops were good, the tyre pressure too, and Sheldon was fantastic. I’m really pleased.”

 

Marco Wittmann (#11 Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG, Grid: 11th, Race: 8th, Drivers’ standings: 9th, 44 points):

“The conditions today were difficult. We had to fight a bit in the first stint, the second was much better. Then the safety car was deployed and we ended up in eighth place. Obviously, that isn’t quite what we had hoped for, since we thought we might have moved further up the field in the changeable conditions, but ultimately I was lacking a little pace and performance this weekend. Now we need to make sure we do better at the Nürburgring next week. Congratulations to Sheldon on his first win. Everything went well for him today. He had great pace in the second stint and definitely deserved to win.”

 

Timo Glock (#16 iQOO BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG, Grid: 8th, Race: 6th, Driver’s standings: 5th, 62 points):

“Things went really well in the rain. I had a good feeling for the car and only had to wait a little bit for the tyres to get to the right temperature. Then I was able to race at a really good speed and move up into second place. Up until the red flag I was really happy. I didn’t really know what was going on around me and who had already pitted. Perhaps we can discuss whether we should have stopped at a different point but we didn’t really know what the weather was going to do so I understand why we split the strategy. At the restart I had the problem that there was too much water on the track and I had too much spray. I lost a few places in that phase. Congratulations to Sheldon. I’m really happy that we were able to bring home the win for BMW.”

 

Lucas Auer (#22 BMW Bank M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR, Grid: 16th, Race: 10th, Drivers’ standings: 10th, 36 points):

“Qualifying wasn’t ideal. The changes that we made between yesterday and today didn’t pay off. We need to look at that in more detail but it’s definitely not bad to come away with another point. We need to look at what we could have done better. It was a difficult race overall, and we can be really pleased with the result.”

 

Philipp Eng (#25 ZF BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM, Grid: 13th, Race: 9th, Drivers’ standings: 11th, 22 points):

“First of all, it was so much fun being in the car on the track in these conditions. We were a little bit unlucky because we stopped relatively late. It was an alternative strategy because we thought it might have dried up even more. Then things would have been very different. Then the rain came on again, which didn’t help us. Despite that, I’m really happy for Sheldon, for BMW Team RBM and for BMW. It was an important win today.”

 

Jonathan Aberdein (#27 CATL BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR, Grid: 6th, Race: 13th, Drivers’ standings: 13th, 19 points):

“We had a good starting position with sixth on the grid. It was very clear that I didn’t have the pace in the first stint. I’m not sure why that was. Then there was the red flag and I wasn’t really able to make up any ground after that. It was a tough race overall. But I’m over the moon for my fellow South African Sheldon, who celebrated his first DTM victory today.”

 

Sheldon van der Linde (#31 Shell BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM, Grid: 14th, Race: 1st, Drivers’ standings: 6th, 60 points):

“It’s incredible. We started from 14th on the grid and moved up into P1. To be honest, a dream came true today. We never would have expected it at the start. This shows that anything really can happen. The weather was really strange the whole weekend. We were able to get the maximum out of the race and my team had a fantastic strategy today. The car was amazing in the wet. I’m just really happy to have got my first DTM win. I think everyone at BMW more than deserves this. My team worked so hard for this. Thanks to everyone for this.”

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