For the first time, an Austrian has won a DTM race at Red Bull Ring. Porsche driver Thomas Preining from KÜS Team Bernhard scored a commanding home win in the Sunday race of DTM Red Bull Ring powered by REMUS. The 24-year-old from Linz won from the two Germans Luca Stolz (Mercedes-AMG Team HRT) and Maro Engel (Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing). Engel had started the race from pole position, Preining was eighth on the grid. The Porsche works driver, who raced with a special helmet design in memory of motorsport legend Walter Lechner, Preining’s former team principal and friend, was able to make up positions by virtue of a good strategy and entertaining overtaking manoeuvres and racked up his second DTM race win after 35 laps, already having secured the maiden DTM victory for Porsche at Norisring back in July. “I am super happy with my performance! I was already confident prior to the start and I knew it was going to be a good race. That it would go this well and especially that I could move up so quickly was something I hadn’t expected,” Preining said right after the race.
On Sunday, the DTM drivers had to deal with difficult conditions that made it exciting until the end. Preining: “Initially, the only thing that mattered to me was to keep the car in one piece, especially in the opening stages when you really couldn’t see a thing. I took it easily and then, thankfully, I won with a couple of cool moves, one of them a little bit at the limit.” Until just before the end, the drivers fought with a wet and then a driving track and partly limited visibility. The result: numerous spins. Ferrari driver Felipe Fraga (Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse) in particular spun a few times. On the opening lap, points’ leader Sheldon van der Linde was already affected: he spun with his Schubert BMW in turn 3 and dropped to the back of the field. He finished eleventh, once again without scoring any points.
Three-time DTM champion René Rast (ABT Audi), who had started the race second in the standings, only scored one point for finishing tenth. On the other hand, Tyrolean Lucas Auer (Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD) still worked his way up into sixth place with a strong final stage and scored an additional championship point for the fastest race lap, the Autohero Fastest Lap Award.
At Hockenheimring in a fortnight (7 till 9 October), DTM is facing a thrilling finale. With 130 points, South African Sheldon van der Linde remains in the lead of the DTM drivers’ standings. Lucas Auer is now second with 119 points from René Rast (118). Now, Thomas Preining is also one of the title candidates, having moved up into fourth place of the standings at 116 points by virtue of his win. Next up are Italian Mirko Bortolotti (GRT Lamborghini), who has 114 points following his eighth-place finish on Sunday, and Luca Stolz with 102 points. In the two races at Hockenheim, a total of 58 points is still up for grabs.