Schubert Motorsport defends lead in the DTM 2022: Three strong points finishes with the BMW M4 GT3 at Imola
The third weekend of the season provided further proof of Schubert Motorsport's excellent form in the 2022 DTM, with a special away fixture on the agenda for the BMW M Motorsport team from Oschersleben from 17 to 19 June. Sheldon van der Linde and Philipp Eng took to the grid for the first time in the DTM at the legendary Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola. In two tough races with outside temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius, the BMW works drivers kept their cool, thanks in part to the air conditioning in their new BMW M4 GT3. After two victories at the Lausitzring, the drivers and crew from Schubert Motorsport shone with fighting spirit and consistency. The team maintained its lead in the overall standings with three points finishes and a total of 22 points.
Sheldon van der Linde (RSA)
BMW M4 GT3 - #31
Qualifying 1: P9 - Race 1: P8
Qualifying 2: P11 - Race 2: P5
Sheldon van der Linde underlined his championship ambitions even with success ballast on board. Due to his two victories at the Lausitzring, the 23-year-old was driving with 25 kilograms of extra weight on the traditional 4.909 km Imola circuit on Saturday. Despite the disadvantage, he finished ninth in the field of 28 GT3 cars in qualifying. An overcut brought him up to fourth position in the early phase of the race. In the second stint, he muscled his way through to finish eighth. This result allowed the BMW works driver to unload the extra weight for the following day.
Eleventh place in the second qualifying session gave him another promising starting position on Sunday. In Sunday's race, he initially maintained his position until a collision at the back of the field caused his safety car period early on. On the fifth lap, the Schubert Motorsport crew completed the tyre change on the number 31 BMW M4 GT3, and after the restart, Sheldon van der Linde fought his way forward tirelessly. With a cool and collected approach, he advanced to fifth place. In the drivers' standings, his exploit in Imola puts him 22 points clear at the top.
Sheldon van der Linde: "Saturday was the the standout performance of the weekend for me. We didn't expect to finish in the points with the extra weight. Qualifying was the key and in the race I defended for my life. On Sunday I wasn't completely happy with my lap in qualifying, but we had mega pace in the race. The team did a really incredible job in Imola and gave us two super fast cars. After a small heat problem at the start, the race came to us. I had some mega moves and found myself in fifth. With our speed we could have done even better, but I didn’t want to take the risk and secured the result. I am very happy with the way the season has gone so far. We were in the points in all races and are leading the championship. Let’s keep the ball rolling at the Norisring."
Philipp Eng (AUT)
BMW M4 GT3 - #25
Qualifying 1: P17 - Race 1: P12
Qualifying 2: P12 - Race 2: P6
After fourth place in the second race at the Lausitzring, the omens were good for Philipp Eng ahead of the weekend in Imola. The start was promising, as expected, with third place in the second practice session on Friday. However, the first qualifying session did not deliver the hoped-for result with a 17th place on the grid. In the first of the two heats over 55 minutes and one lap, the 32-year-old Austrian once again proved his fighting spirit. In twelfth place, he missed the points by a whisker. He crossed the finish line less than a second behind the tenth-placed driver.
The BMW works driver took his strong form into Sunday. In qualifying, he secured a place on row six of the grid. During the early neutralisation of the race, Philipp Eng stayed out one lap longer than Sheldon van der Linde because the DTM regulations do not allow risky double stacked pit stops. After changing tyres on lap seven, he rejoined the action at the restart in 18th place. In the second part of the race, he took sixth place with a series of determined moves. On his way to the points, he also set the fastest lap of any BMW M4 GT3 in the field.
Philipp Eng: "In qualifying, we still have to do some fine-tuning on our side of the garage. There is not much missing, but we still have a bit of work in front of us. The race pace was stellar on both days, especially in the second heat. A podium was definitely possible if the race had gone a little differently. But my crew in the pits took the win. The guys did the fastest tyre change on the #25 car on both days. Many thanks to my squad for the mega job this weekend. The car was fantastic in the race."
Team Manager Marcel Schmidt: "Imola was another test for us in the DTM. The victories at the Lausitzring were an incredible success, but the world turns very quickly in motorsport. What you achieved yesterday won't win you the race today. We start from scratch every time and in Italy we faced a new challenge. Both the track and the heat were new terrain for us with the BMW M4 GT3. The pace wasn’t enough to win this time, but the crew and our drivers got the absolute maximum out of our package with the results. Our car was competitive and we had the fastest pit stops in both races, for which I want to give special praise to our pit crew. Every detail counts in the DTM and to continue to be at the top after this weekend is a great feeling and a well-deserved reward for this team performance."