Successful DTM debut for Schubert Motorsport: Three points-scoring results with the BMW M4 GT3 in Portimão
Schubert Motorsport reached a new milestone in the team's over 20-year long history last weekend with its eagerly awaited debut in the DTM. At the season opener on the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve from 29 April to 1 May, Sheldon van der Linde and Philipp Eng both had an excellent showing in the team's two BMW M4 GT3s. The BMW factory driver pairing got off to a flying start at the DTM debut of company founder Torsten Schubert's racing squad with a double points result in Saturday's race. In the second race, van der Linde followed up with another top-ten finish in the field of 29 GT3 cars.
After the first of eight events on the 2022 DTM calendar, Schubert Motorsport occupies ninth in the team standings with twelve points. In the drivers' classification, van der Linde is tied on points with eighth place. The next race weekend in the prestigious GT3 series has doorstep vibes in store for the team from the Magdeburger Börde region. Rounds three and four of the 2022 DTM season will be held at the Lausitzring from 20 to 22 May.
Sheldon van der Linde (RSA)
#31 - BMW M4 GT3
Qualifying 1: P7 - Race 1: P7
Qualifying 2: P4 - Race 2: P8
P1 in the second practice session on Friday provided Sheldon van der Linde with the best possible omens for the season opener in Portugal. The South African promptly confirmed his good preparation in the first qualifying session on Saturday. As the fastest BMW driver in the field, he put the BMW M4 GT4 into seventh position on the grid for the first race. The 22-year-old held his own in the fiercely competitive pack. In a long first stint, he was briefly running in third position before coming in for his pit stop on lap 16. A safety car period around the halfway mark of the race cost him several positions, but after the restart van der Linde did not miss a beat and regained seventh place.
In qualifying on Saturday, van der Linde impressively confirmed his strong form. With the fourth fastest time, he was only one hundredth of a second slower than P2. However, due to a grid penalty, he had to start the race in seventh place, as he had done on the previous day. He lost several places in the turbulent early stages, but fought back showing enormous grit during the rest of the race. An early pit stop gave him a few laps in clean air in which he made up sufficient ground. With uncompromising duels, he worked his way back up to eighth place, which he successfully defended until the chequered flag fell after 33 laps.
Sheldon van der Linde: "To score points in both races is a very good start to the season for Schubert Motorsport on their first weekend in the DTM. In this year’s championship it’ll be important to score points consistently throughout the whole season, especially on days you don’t quite have the pace for the podium. Qualifying has been strong all weekend but we struggled slightly on race pace. We have to work on that in the upcoming events, but I’m very confident in that regard. The team did a fantastic job during the past two days. Also, I was really impressed with the pit stops of our guys. It’s an all new challenge for them and they handled it amazingly well. Thanks to the whole team for all the hard work that has gone into pre-season preparations to get the car into the good spot we are in now. We definitely want more and I will try to make sure to get the BMW M4 GT3 onto the podium at some point this year or even get a win."
Philipp Eng (AUT)
#25 - BMW M4 GT3
Qualifying 1: P24 - Race 1: P9
Qualifying 2: P19 - Race 2: DNF
After finishing sixth and third in the practice sessions, things did not go according to plan for Phillip Eng in the first qualifying session. The Austrian fell short of his own expectations with 24th on the gird, but did not let the setback put him off his guard. In Saturday's race, he made unstoppable progress in the number 25 BMW M4 GT3. He gained three places in the starting phase and advanced into the points shortly afterwards. On the eleventh lap, he came in for a tyre change while already inside the top-ten. In the final phase, he fought his way up to ninth position and successfully completed his 15-place recovery after 32 laps. The 32-year-old was unable to repeat the strong fightback on Sunday. In the first lap, he was involved in a collision through no fault of his own and was taken out of the race with damage to the car.
Philipp Eng: "Overall, it was a very good weekend for us. To finish in the points with both cars in the team's first race in the DTM is a great success. Considering my starting position, the result on Saturday was one I was very happy to pick up. It was a shame to have to retire in the first corner of the second race. Nevertheless, the positive aspects outweigh the negatives for me. In qualifying, we definitely have to go one better on my side of the garage. We just weren't fast enough and need to get into the groove. I am optimistic that we will succeed because I feel very comfortable with my crew. Everyone is highly motivated and we work together really well. The atmosphere is excellent throughout the team."
Team Manager Marcel Schmidt: "Back-to-back races in ADAC GT Masters and DTM made for a long and hard week for our team. I would like to say a big thank you to the whole crew for their tireless efforts and fantastic work. Our first weekend in the DTM was a complete success and we can be very proud of what we have achieved together. Sheldon and Philipp had a good preparation on Friday and immediately showed what the BMW M4 GT3 is capable of in this top-class racing series. The points results are a great debut on paper, but the learning curve in Portimão was much more important for us. We familiarised ourselves with the DTM and got to know the new car better with every session. In the process, we not only recognised our weaknesses, but also identified strengths. We can now build on both until the Lausitzring."