ABT Sportsline and the Lausitzring: 25 years of DTM together

Next weekend, ABT Sportsline and the Lausitzring will be celebrating a joint anniversary: themost successful active DTM team and the East German racetrack have been an integral partof the most important German racing series for 25 years. The Lausitzring was opened in August 2000 and has hosted at least one DTM event everyyear since then. ABT Sportsline celebrated its DTM debut in 2000 and has since won 75DTM races, clinched ten championship titles and contested 35 DTM races at the Lausitzring.

 

Hans-Jürgen Abt: “The Lausitzring is always worth a visit when the DTM is there”


“We had the entrepreneurial courage to enter the DTM as a small private team in 2000,” says Hans-Jürgen Abt, CEO of the ABT Group. “The courageous decision to build a unique new
race track, the Eurospeedway Lausitz back then, in Germany was no less ambitious. I think it was worth it for both of us. ABT Sportsline has become an integral part of the DTM and the Lausitzring is a fixture on the DTM calendar. The atmosphere with the enthusiastic fans in
the huge grandstand is unique every time. As a team, we’ve obviously experienced a lot at the Lausitzring. Off the top of my head, I can think of some not-so-pleasant events, such as the DTM premiere in 2000, which was rained out, two wrecks in the DTM’s first attempt to drive on the oval, Mattias Ekström’s lack of petrol, but of course also our five victories and many exciting races, such as last year, when Ricardo Feller hung on to Mirko Bortolotti's bumper for the entire race. There was a similar fascinating duel between Mattias Ekström and Gary Paffett in 2005. In other words: The Lausitzring is always worth a trip when the DTM is there.”

 

Five victories for ABT Sportsline and the closest finish in DTM history

ABT Sportsline has won five of the 35 DTM races at the Lausitzring. Mattias Ekström won in 2004 and 2005, finishing on the podium a total of ten times at the Lausitzring. Miguel Molina (2016) and Nico Müller (2019 and 2020) also claimed Lausitzring victories for ABT Sportsline. Müller was also part of the closest finish in DTM history: In the second of the four Lausitzring races of the 2020 COVID-19 season, René Rast and Nico Müller crossed the finish line side by side in their two Audi RS 5 DTM cars, separated by 0.089 seconds. Such a close finish had previously only been seen in the DTM at the Norisring in 1996.

 

Martin Tomczyk: “Break after the start of the season was good for us”

Today’s ABT Motorsport Director Martin Tomczyk won a DTM race himself at the Lausitzring in 2011 on his way to the championship title. “That’s a nice memory, especially as the victory back then was an important step for me on the way to the championship title,” he says. “As a driver, I personally didn’t like the track that much, but I’ve always been impressed by the facility, the infrastructure and the fans there. The DTM races at the Lausitzring are always well attended and the spectators are extremely friendly and enthusiastic about motorsport. That’s why I’m really looking forward to the weekend and hope for a strong performance. The slightly longer break after the start of the season was good for us because we had a lot of
work to do, especially on Kelvin van der Linde’s car, and at the same time we were preparing for the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. We found the problem with Kelvin’s car and got it back in perfect shape. With Ricardo Feller, everything was basically okay at Oschersleben – and both were very competitive at the Lausitzring last year.”


Kelvin van der Linde: “Many good memories of the Lausitzring”


“I’m positive about the Lausitzring,” says Kelvin van der Linde. “Last year, we took our first podium of the season there. My goal is to repeat that. After the difficult season opener at Oschersleben, we have analysed a lot, worked a lot and are confident that we will be more competitive again. I have a lot of good memories of the Lausitzring from the past and hope that there will be more.”

 


Ricardo Feller: “A podium would be nice – and two top five finishes”


“I’m heading to the Lausitzring with the expectation of scoring good points for the championship again,” says Ricardo Feller. “We had a good weekend there last year and have also made a good start to the season this year. I hope that we can build on that. A podium would be nice – and two top five finishes.”

The team and the fans will have to adjust to a different schedule on Saturday. At the request of TV partner ProSieben, Saturday’s race will only start at 5 p.m. CEST between the two semi-finals of the Ice Hockey World Championship, which ProSieben will also be broadcasting live. Sunday’s race will start at the usual time at 1.30 p. m.


The two ABT drivers about the Lausitzring


What’s important at the Lausitzring?
Ricardo: “We saw last year that overtaking is not easy. That’s why qualifying is, as always, extremely important. The track is very technical, so the setup has to be balanced. You have a lot of very slow corners, but also a relatively fast one with Turn 7. This means that the car has to be very good in all speed ranges. Traction is also important due to the many bumps.”
Kelvin: “It really depends on the setup. It’s difficult to put together a perfect lap in qualifyingbecause tyre wear is quite low. Getting the tyres into the right window is a real challenge at the Lausitzring.”


Where is the best place to overtake at the Lausitzring?
Ricardo: “The best place is on the brakes before Turn 1. But maybe you can also somehow squeeze past in the slow corners and then choose a different line when accelerating.”
Kelvin: “Overtaking is difficult, it usually comes down to strategy or tyre choice.”


What are your best memories of the Lausitzring?
Ricardo: “The battle with Mirko Bortolotti last year. I would obviously have liked to have overtaken him, but it was an hour of racing at the highest level and a lot of fun. Winning in the ADAC GT Masters in 2021 despite the red flag interruption was also a great experience.”
Kelvin: “My best experience also came last year. The first podium after a difficult first half of the season was extremely positive. Everyone in the team was very happy about it.”


Do you have any memories from ABT Sportsline’s 25-year DTM history at the Lausitzring?
Kelvin:
“As a junior driver, I was allowed to drive the DTM taxi with the V8 engine twice at the Lausitzring – that was very cool.”
Ricardo: “I remember driving in Formula 4 at the Lausitzring for the first time as part of theDTM support programme. I thought the DTM paddock with all the trucks was cool back then."

How do you experience the special fan culture at the Lausitzring?
Ricardo: “I’m very aware of the spectators at the Lausitzring because there is this huge grandstand directly opposite the pit lane – it’s a very nice atmosphere.”
Kelvin: “The fans in the east are incredibly passionate about motorsport and the DTM and always give us great support.”

 


Did you know that ...
... a tiny 30-euro electronic part cost Ricardo Feller valuable points in the second race of the season opener at Oschersleben on Sunday?


... the team sent the defective sensor from the engine management system to Audi Sport todetermine the cause of the defect?


... Kelvin van der Linde’s car was found to have cracks in the weld seams in the front end after Oschersleben, caused by the extreme stress on the East German racetrack?


... the former national football player and European champion Thomas Helmer is coming to the Lausitzring with his two sons as a guest of ABT Sportsline and Schaeffler?


... ABT Sportsline is also expecting a group of guests from its truck partner MAN at the Lausitzring?


... the DTM partners of ABT Sportsline met on Tuesday and Wednesday of the race week at the ABT DTM partner workshop at Bihler in Halblech?


... the ABT CUPRA team will be competing in Formula E in Shanghai next weekend in parallel to the DTM at the Lausitzring?


... Ricardo Feller and Kelvin van der Linde were in action for ABT CUPRA in Formula E in Berlin and both left a strong impression?


... both are competing in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring the weekend after the Lausitzring?


... Kelvin van der Linde will be in the Lamborghini of the Red Bull ABT team, while Ricardo Feller will be competing for the team of ABT partner Scherer?


... part of the DTM team will be travelling directly from the Lausitzring to the Nürburgring?

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