The DTM championship held their fifth and sixth rounds of the season at the Zandvoort circuit in the Netherlands on the weekend of June 7-9, 2024, and it proved to be a good weekend for BMW, with one second place finish and one win.

In qualifying for race one, BMW had two cars in the top ten, with Sheldon van der Linde in sixth and René Rast in seventh, followed by Marco Wittmann in seventeenth. Rast put in a strong drive in the opening laps, and a great pit stop by the Schubert Motorsport team moved Rast into third. He then passed the second place Mercedes to finish behind the winning Ferrari of Jack Aitken. It was the first podium finish of the year for a BMW in DTM. “After our performance on Friday, it really did not look as though we would be on the podium,” said Rast. “We made a few changes to the set-up, which worked out brilliantly. The race was really great fun.” Sheldon van der Linde finished in sixth, with Wittmann moving up ten places to finish seventh.

René Rast battles with a Mercedes.

The BMWs qualified well down the order for race two, with Wittmann the best in fourteenth, followed by van der Linde in seventeenth and Rast in twentieth. Qualifying times were incredibly close, with the top eleven cars within a half-second of each other. Wittmann stayed out as long as possible before pitting after moving up several positions, then had a great pit stop to come out in front. Amazingly, he was able to hold onto the lead to take the win despite getting hit in the rear by a Lamborghini and having smoke coming out the back from the tire rubbing against the damaged bodywork.

The win by Wittmann (shown in top photo and above) was an unlikely one given his starting position and the damaged car. “I never thought I would come from so far back to win,” he said. “After the contact with Mirko Bortolotti, my heart sank to the soles of my feet. There was so much smoke in the cockpit that I could hardly see anything at times. I am just overjoyed that I was able to bring home the win.” The win was Wittmann’s nineteenth in the DTM and BMWs first win of 2024.

After the Zandvoort races, van der Linde is the highest-ranked BMW driver in points, putting him in eighth, followed by Rast in ninth, and Wittmann in eleventh. Audi driver Kelvin van der Linde (Sheldon’s brother) is currently leading the driver points. Schubert Motorsport is second in team points behind Audi team Abt SportsLine, and BMW is fourth in the manufacturer points behind Mercedes-AMG, Audi, and Lamborghini.

Sheldon van der Linde is the highest-ranked BMW driver in the points, in eighth.

The DTM will race next at the Norisring on July 5th-7th. —David Haueter

[Photos courtesy Gruppe C Photography]




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