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Marco Wittmann on the podium in the Imola heat – Sheldon van der Linde defends his lead in the overall standings.

The DTM’s debut at the iconic Imola (ITA) circuit on the third race weekend of the season was a success for the BMW M Motorsport teams. Marco Wittmann (GER) finished third on Sunday to claim the first podium in the DTM with the new BMW M4 GT3 for him and the Walkenhorst Motorsport team.

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Imola . The DTM’s debut at the iconic Imola (ITA) circuit on the third race weekend of the season was a success for the BMW M Motorsport teams. Marco Wittmann (GER) finished third on Sunday to claim the first podium in the DTM with the new BMW M4 GT3 for him and the Walkenhorst Motorsport team. Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) picked up points in both races and defended his championship lead in the process. Schubert Motorsport continues to lead the Team competition. BMW M works driver Timo Glock (GER) and Ceccato Racing, led by team principal Roberto Ravaglia (ITA), enjoyed a successful guest start.   

 

Marco Wittmann put on a great show on Sunday as he pulled off a spectacular last-lap manoeuvre to overtake Lucas Auer (AUT, Mercedes) and clinch a spot on the podium. He had previously secured his best qualifying result of the DTM season, landing his BMW M4 GT3 on third place on the grid. Wittmann was also the best-placed BMW M Motorsport driver on Saturday, when he finished seventh.

 

Sheldon van der Linde went into Saturday’s race with an extra 25 kilograms of success ballast following his two victories at the Lausitzring (GER), however, he did a good job of damage limitation in eighth place. Starting Sunday’s race from eleventh on the grid, he drove a strong race and fought his way into fifth place. His haul of 14 points this weekend was sufficient to maintain his lead in the Drivers’ Championship. Now with 80 points to his name, he leads the second-placed driver by 12 points. In the Team competition, Schubert Motorsport leads with 101 points. Philipp Eng (AUT) had a very strong drive on Sunday to finish sixth and add eight points to the cause at Imola. The Austrian impressed with multiple overtaking manoeuvres. Eng had narrowly missed out on the points in twelfth place on Saturday. Esteban Muth (BEL) finished 14th on Sunday in the second Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M4 GT3, having failed to finish on Saturday.

 

BMW M works driver Timo Glock was the centre of much attention in Italy and, after an impressive race on Sunday, enjoyed a successful guest appearance with the Ceccato Racing team, for whom he competes in the 2022 Italian GT Championship. Glock started race two from 18th on the grid, but battled his way into eleventh. Despite narrowly missing out on a top-ten result, that was still a great success given the very short amount of preparation time and the high-class opposition. On Saturday, he was forced out of the race following a collision on the opening lap. 

 

Quotes from the DTM weekend in Imola.

 

Marco Wittmann (#11 BMW M4 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport): “What a weekend! After the two disappointing events at the start of the season, we have taken a big step forward as a team. For this reason, the results here at Imola are really satisfying. It was very special to clinch the first podium of the season with a manoeuvre like that on the final lap on Sunday. You don’t pull off something like that every day. I am very pleased with the push that this weekend will give us. Just in time for my home event at the Norisring in two weeks.”

 

Sheldon van der Linde (#31 BMW M4 GT3, Schubert Motorsport): “The weekend went better than we had expected, particularly on Saturday when I did not expect to finish in the points given the success ballast. I was positively surprised with eighth place. Fifth place on Sunday was even better, although I did have an issue shortly after the start and thought for a moment that my race was over. After that, I had a few good overtaking manoeuvres and battles with my fellow BMW M Motorsport drivers. I defended my lead in the Drivers’ Championship, that is the main thing.”

 

Philipp Eng (#25 BMW M4 GT3, Schubert Motorsport): “On the whole it was a good weekend for us. Unfortunately, we made a mess of qualifying on Saturday. The race was much better,but I found myself stuck in the group behind Sheldon van der Linde. Qualifying was better on Sunday, although still not perfect. My pace was fantastic in the race, and I think I could even have pushed for the podium. Unfortunately, that was not quite to be in the end.”

 

Esteban Muth (#10 BMW M4 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport): “Unfortunately, that was another tough weekend for us. We are simply not managing to get the full potential out of the tyres in qualifying. That means I am having to start from well back and am then getting stuck in the pack. The race speed was very good, particularly today. The BMW M4 GT3 is very strong on the straights, however that does not help if I cannot start from further up the field. That is primarily what we must work on.”

 

Timo Glock (#50 BMW M4 GT3, Ceccato Racing): “I had an awful lot of fun this weekend and really enjoyed my mini comeback in the DTM. Our lack of experience was particularly apparent in the qualifying sessions in which we simply could not get the best out of the tyres, which were new to us. We would need more test time for that. My race was over quickly on Saturday. On Sunday, I had impressive pace and a good start. Unfortunately, it went a bit wrong during the pit stop, which cost me a lot of positions and ultimately a top-ten finish. That is a bit frustrating. However, for Ceccato Racing it was important to experience the standard in the DTM. A big thank you goes to the team, BMW M Motorsport, and the ITR and its boss Gerhard Berger for the fantastic support with this guest start. I would love to do it again.”

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