Round three of the 2021 DTM season began with race one of the weekend on Saturday 7th August at the self-proclaimed “Home of DTM”, Zolder in Belgium. Being the venue for the first-ever DTM race back in 1984, the majority of drivers love the old school character of the track with it’s fast, demanding corners who’s gravel traps claim many a car.
The start of the race proved to be exciting as Daniel Juncadella’s GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG and the GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG of Arjun Maini collided. Liam Lawson’s AF Corse Red Bull Ferrari got punted into the gravel trap by Maini which resulted in the 19-year-old New Zealander’s retirement. “That is really disappointing, of course, there was nothing I could do,” said Lawson.
Following the restart fans got to witness more hard, close racing with Kelvin van der Linde driving his ABT Sportsline Audi well to defend the lead. A lot of the drivers decided to head to the pits for fresh rubber but Red Bull Formula 1 driver, Alexander Albon opted to stay out longer which led to an entertaining on-track fight with the ABT Sportsline Audi of the 2013 DTM Champion, Mike Rockenfeller.
South African, van der Linde remained out front to claim his second win of the season, followed by his teammate Rockenfeller as he fought off Albon with an entertaining duel who crossed the line in third place. Local hero Esteban Muth displayed some local expertise by overtaking Lausitzring race winner Philip Ellis’ Team WINWARD Mercedes-AMG with a strong move to secure sixth place in his T3 Motorsport Lamborghini.
Race two on Sunday 8th August proved to be just as exciting with even more thrilling duels which resulted in the first, and unexpected win for Walkenhorst BMW driver Marco Wittmann. Starting the race in pole position, Wittmann held the lead until a collision between Philip Ellis’ WINWARD Mercedes-AMG and the HRT Mercedes-AMG of Vincent Abril resulted in the safety car being deployed as Abril’s car was stranded. After the restart,
Lucas Auer really put Wittmann under pressure with his WINWARD Mercedes-AMG. Unfortunately for Auer, the Austrian incurred a five-second time penalty for a pit stop infringement which dropped him back to fifth by the end of the race.
Just as he did in Saturday’s race, local hero Muth put in some courageous overtaking manoeuvres and staged great duels, especially with the points’ leader van der Linde. Eventually, Muth’s efforts were rewarded with ninth place.
With all of these battles and collisions going on, Maximilian Götz and Lawson were the ones to benefit, not only finishing on the podium but also were able to close up to Kelvin van der Linde in the drivers’ standings. “We are in contention again, we are close,” Götz delighted. “I didn’t quite expect it, but today, we did it really well.” Lawson, too, has an eye on the title: “I am very happy with the points. Unfortunately, my overcut didn’t work out, so I was unable to overtake Marco and Maxi.”
Wittmann is happy with his victory “To be honest, I can’t fully believe it. Two years since my last win, that sounds like too long, really. We didn’t have any high expectations coming here as the track was said not to be suiting our car. However, we had a really good package.” With this victory, Wittmann is now in fourth place in the driver’s standings, just ahead of Albon. Kelvin van der Linde remains in the lead overall with 101 points, Lawson has 80 points whilst Götz is in third at 72 points.