Team boss Timo Bernhard was also on the podium, beamed with Preining and let his joy run free, because it is also the first win of the debut season for the team. “I was nervous all the time, we made history. I have to thank so many people who made this possible. This is a milestone for us,” said Bernhard.
“That was a thrill”
“That was world class, the car was so strong,” said Preining happily. “We were strong on the brakes, that brought us victory. That was a thrill, luckily the race was over at some point. It’s been a long, hard road and now we’re finally here.”
No question: The seventh race of the season was memorable. Because more than half of the cars retired after numerous accidents, eleven of the 27 GT3 cars made it to the finish line. There were three safety car periods plus a full course yellow period.
The DTM has never seen a crash festival like this at the Norisring. It went well for a few hundred meters, then chaos broke out for the first time. In the Grundig hairpin bend, Arjun Maini, who shot forward, was shot by Franck Perera, which triggered a chain reaction or a mass crash behind him. Seven cars subsequently retired, including overall leader Sheldon van der Linde.
It stayed messy
It remained chaotic, and a little later it banged again. Esteban Muth and Alessio Deledda collided on the way into the Grundig bend, causing Muth to shoot Franck Perera out of the race. The race had only just been released when it crashed again: Bortolotti turned Maro Engel, who crashed into the crash barrier in his Mercedes.
The crazy result after 25 minutes of racing: Eleven cars were eliminated. After various changes at the front due to the restarts, Preining was in the lead ahead of Olsen, Rast and van der Linde.
And of course: it only lasted a few minutes before the next cars smashed into each other. First, newcomer Ayhancan Güven finished Lucas Auer’s race before Bortolotti spun van der Linde. “It was all a bit too much now,” said Grasser team boss Manuel Reuter and advocated that the race director should sit down with the drivers before the race on Sunday.
1st race: result
2. Dennis Olsen (Norway) – Porsche 911 GT3 R +3.675s
3. Rene Rast (Minden) – Audi R8 GT3 +4.154
4. Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) – Porsche 911 GT3 R +7.030
5. Philipp Eng (Austria) – BMW M4 GT3 +8.066
6. Maximilian Goetz (Uffenheim) – Mercedes-AMG GT3 +8.975
7. Luca Stolz (Brachbach) – Mercedes-AMG GT3 +9.859
8. Ricardo Feller (Switzerland) – Audi R8 GT3 +10.979
9. Mika„l Grenier (Canada) – Mercedes-AMG GT3 +12.013
10. Clemens Schmid (Austria) – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 +13.119
Standing after 7 out of 16 races
2. Mirko Bortolotti (Italy) – Lamborghini 68
3. René Rast (Minden) – Audi 64
4. Nico Muller (Switzerland) – Audi 62
5. Lucas Auer (Austria) – Mercedes 60
6. Ricardo Feller (Switzerland) – Audi 48
7. Luca Stolz (Brachbach) – Mercedes-Benz 43
8. Thomas Preining (Austria) – Porsche 41
9. Maro Engel (Munich) – Mercedes 40
10. Marco Wittmann (Fuerth) – BMW 35