Thomas Preining won a chaotic Norisring race that saw less than half of the drivers reach the checkered flag, including a seven car pile-up into the first hairpin.
A new qualifying format was introduced for the Norisring round. Due to the huge starting grid of 27 cars, the drivers were split into two qualifying groups, A and B. This was done to ensure everyone had the same chance to fight for the pole.
Kelvin Van Der Linde took advantage of the new format and grabbed pole position, followed by Thomas Preining and Ayhancan Güven.
The Norisring is a small 1.4-mile track with only four corners. Incidents are expected at the Nuremberg street circuit. However, no one could have expected only eleven cars to finish the race.
Chaos ensued from the first corner. A seven car pile-up was started when DTM newcomer Franck Perera was tipped around into the first hairpin. Local boy Marco Wittmann, the two Team Rosberg drivers, and Championship leader Sheldon Van der Linde couldn’t avoid the carnage. Forcing them all to retire with damage.
At the restart, Thomas Preining completed an opportunist move to take the lead from Kelvin Van der Linde, a lead he would not relinquish. DTM veteran René Rast was the beneficiary of some smart strategic moves by his team, moving up into second place.
Although, Rast couldn’t hold off fast-moving Dennis Olsen in his SSR Performance Porsche due to a slow puncture. Franck Perera’s disappointing opening race was finished as he was rear-ended in a high-speed crash entering turn 1.
The chaos continued on the second restart, as Maro Engel and his Mercedes were spun around into the barriers, forcing another safety car.
Mirko Bortolotti was in the wars throughout the race, causing a multitude of spins. The stewards gave him a 15-second time penalty as a result. However, the Italian was forced into retirement anyway following an incident.
The race winner, Thomas Preining told Verena Wreidt post-race: “I can’t even start to describe how it feels. We really had to earn it, not just in this race but the whole season. The race was a complete mess and I hope everyone involved in the accidents is alright”.
Porsche’s first win in DTM was overshadowed by the chaos seen in the race. With drivers suffering significant damage, some teams could be forced to withdraw cars from race 2 tomorrow.