This past weekend saw rounds 13 and 14 of the DTM season play out at Hockenheim and the championship battle between Kelvin van Der Linde and Liam Lawson reaching boiling point.
Needing a strong weekend to keep the championship alive, Kelvin converted a pole position into a race one win. Van Der Linde’s teammate Mike Rockenfeller did him a massive service by stealing points away from championship rival, Liam Lawson, after coming back from P17 to finish P3, behind Alex Albon who finished P2. It was all too dramatic. A trademark for the series that has seen so much change and continues to be a mixed bag of goods.
Race Two and round 14 of the championship was a different affair with some bad mojo hanging over the racetrack. Van Der Linde carried 25 kg of success ballast on board from his win the previous day, an anchor that effectively slows you down 0.4 seconds per lap. VD Linde’s tenacity, though, proved he was a serious player and able to soak up the pressure fighting it out with Lawson.
The two rivals engaged in a paint swapping battle before Kelvin eventually gave Liam a love tap resulting in a five-second penalty added to Kelvin’s time. The weight proved to be a further hindrance. Things went from bad to worse after not serving the earlier five-second penalty in the pits, saw an additional five-second penalty being issued. Double whammy!
Lucas Auer took victory with Liam Lawson coming in 2nd and taking the championship lead with 14 points ahead of Kelvin, getting only 1 championship point after finishing in the 10th place (every point counts though).
Kelvin’s performance this year has been the outlier to note. His first season in DTM, which has been the holy grail for tin-top racers around the world, has proved what the young racer is capable of. Ask anyone which series you’d like to win and DTM will be the answer. Kelvin’s performance this year has not only been a huge testament to the talent that he is but also the perfect example of what happens when South African talent is backed. We know what could happen if there was more of that.
Round 15 and 16 will be the last of the season and be at Norisring. Who’s to say those points Rockenfeller took away in round 13 could decide the title? The good news is we don’t have to wait too long. This coming weekend will crown a new champion. Here’s holding out for Kelvin. Bring it home!
Words: Brent Van Der Schyff