Summer champion in the DTM 2022: Schubert Motorsport scores points on challenging weekend at the Norisring
As expected, the DTM held a special kind of challenge in store for Schubert Motorsport last weekend. For the first time in their history, the BMW M Motorsport team from Oschersleben competed on the legendary Norisring. On the notorious street circuit in the heart of Nuremberg, the crews of the two BMW M4 GT3s were handed a tough task from 1 to 3 July. BMW factory driver Philipp Eng prevailed in a turbulent Saturday’s race to claim a strong fifth place for Torsten Schubert's team. After four race weekends, Schubert Motorsport is at the top of the team standings. BMW works driver Sheldon van der Linde holds second place in the drivers' classification.
Extreme weather combined with the special character of the Norisring made for a rollercoaster weekend. With cool temperatures of only 17 degrees Celsius and rain, the preparations on the 2.162 km long circuit fell through on Friday. In the first session of the weekend, Sheldon van der Linde finished tenth in the field of 27 competitors on a drying track. Philipp Eng finished the rain soaked second practice session in the afternoon in twelfth place. On the following days, the Schubert Motorsport squad was confronted with completely different conditions. The findings from the practice sessions could only be used to a limited extent in the summer heat of over 30 degrees Celsius.
On Saturday, Philipp Eng and Sheldon van der Linde finished the qualifying session, which was split into two groups, in 15th and 22nd place. In the first race over a distance of 55 minutes plus one lap, things got wild from the word go. Sheldon van der Linde's car was damaged at the start, forcing the 23-year-old South African to retire after just one lap. Philipp Eng kept his cool in the midst of the chaos. While 16 drivers failed to see the chequered flag due to accidents and collisions, the 32-year-old Austrian gradually worked his way to the front with a commanding drive. After 57 laps, the number 25 BMW M4 GT3 finished a strong fifth.
On Sunday, Schubert Motorsport used the lessons learned from the previous day and showed a clear improvement in qualifying. Sheldon van der Linde and Philipp Eng lined up together on grid positions nine and ten for the second race. With more discipline in the field and no full course yellows, the race allowed for different tactics. Philipp Eng came into the pits on lap 32. For Sheldon van der Linde, the strategists took a risk and did not change the tyres until the 47th lap. In both cases, the pit stops did not go according to plan and took longer than usual, leading to the duo ending up in positions 11 and 15.
Despite the difficult Sunday at the Norisring, Schubert Motorsport's results of the first half of the season are respectable. In the team standings, the outfit is in first place with 111 points. In the driver classification, Sheldon van der Linde is only nine points behind the leader. The title contender has already won two races with the new BMW M4 GT3. Together with Philipp Eng, he scored a total of ten points scoring results out of four race weekends for the team. The next round of the 2022 DTM is scheduled for 26-28 August at the Nürburgring.
Philipp Eng (AUT)
BMW M4 GT3 - #25
Qualifying 1: P15 - Race 1: P5
Qualifying 2: P10 - Race 2: P11
Philipp Eng: "Saturday went really well. I stayed out of trouble and attacked at exactly the right moments. I was rewarded for that with good points. Unfortunately, I had a small problem in qualifying on Sunday, without which I would have finished better than tenth. In the race we quickly realised that we didn't quite have the pace we had on Saturday. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with the weekend overall."
Sheldon van der Linde (RSA)
BMW M4 GT3 - #31
Qualifying 1: P22- Race 1: DNF
Qualifying 2: P9 - Race 2: P15
Sheldon van der Linde: "The weekend at the Norisring was anything but ideal. I am disappointed with the results. In the first race, the driving standards were really over the top and that certainly didn’t help us as we had to retire after the first lap already. In general we didn’t bring it together as a team this weekend, not the way we had done so far this season. We have some homeworks to do over the summer break. We will analyse all the data and go testing before the season resumes at the Nürburgring. I am very confident that we will be fighting for podiums again. We are in the hunt for the championship and its all in our own hands."
Team Manager Marcel Schmidt: "We had expected our first appearance at the Norisring to turn out a little differently. The moody weather made the setup work tricky and we didn't have a good baseline on Saturday as a result. There was very little discipline in the first race and Philipp really did a clean job to get fifth place for us. He once again showed his excellent race craft. For Sheldon it was a shame that his chance for a good result was already taken away on the first lap. In the chaos on Saturday, anything would have been possible for him as well. In the second race, we unfortunately lacked a bit of pace and a bit of luck with the strategy. We will take this weekend as a lesson for the future. Overall, we are very satisfied with how the first half of the season went for us. Thanks to the whole team for delivering strong performances on a consistent basis. Now it's time for a well-deserved break and we'll be back in full force in August."