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Rachit Thukral

DTM Oschersleben: Perera delivers Lamborghini's maiden win

Apart from a brief period shortly after his pitstop, SSR Performance driver Perera was never threatened at the front of the field as he started his first full season in the DTM with a fine four-second victory.

Two-time DTM Trophy champion Tim Heinemann impressed on his step up to the DTM with a charging drive from seventh to second in his Toksport WRT Porsche, while Emil Frey Ferrari's Aitken recovered from a poor opening stint to take the final spot on the rostrum.

As the first DTM race under ADAC got underway, Perera made a clean start from pole position to lead into the opening set of corners, with team-mate Mirko Bortolotti getting the jump on Aitken to establish a Lamborghini 1-2 at the front of the pack.

Abt Audi driver Ricardo Feller was also able to pass a struggling Aitken by the end of the opening lap, with Heinemann another driver to overtake the Briton on lap 2 before being asked to hand back the position.

The order at the front remained the same until the pitstop sequence, with Aitken the first among the leading group to complete his mandatory tyre change and Heinemann the next to follow him on lap 24.

Perera waited until lap 27 for his pitstop and this reduced his advantage to just over a second over Heinemann, who had jumped Aitken, Feller and Bortolotti in the pits to move up to second.

While the threat from Heinemann looked genuine at that point, Perera was able to get his tyres up to temperature and pull away from the chasing pack again, with Heinemann unable to match the pace of the Lamborghini driver.

The French driver eventually went on to take a comfortable four-second victory in only his second race weekend in the DTM, having made his debut at the Norisring last year as a replacement for Rolf Iniechen at Grasser Racing.

It marked a winning start to SSR Performance's partnership with Lamborghini following the German outfit's switch from Porsche over the winter, and means all six manufacturers have now scored a win in the DTM - with Lamborghini's previous best finish being a second at the Norisring last year with Bortolotti.

Aitken rounded off the podium spots in his first DTM start as well as for his team Emil Frey, finishing another four seconds adrift of Heinemann, as three different manufacturers finished on the podium.

Feller finished fourth for Abt Audi after a long battle with his former team-mate Rene Rast, passing the Schubert BMW of the three-time champion with just three laps to run in the race.

Kelvin van der Linde rose from 10th on the grid to finish sixth in the other Abt Audi, ahead of the top Team Bernhard Porsche of Laurin Heinrich. 

Bortolotti stopped for fresh tyres just one lap later than Perera but dropped firmly in the mid-pack, eventually finishing a disappointing eighth and 18s behind his team-mate.

Porsche drivers occupied the next three positions, with Christian Engelhart in the Toksport WRT leading the two Manthey EMA cars of Dennis Olsen and Thomas Preining.

Both Manthey EMA cars suffered botched pitstops, with Preining particularly losing time with a problem fitting a new left-front tyre on his Porsche 911 GT3 R.

However, they still managed to finish inside the points in 10th and 11th, ahead of the Grasser Lamborghini of Schmid.

Mercedes endured a torrid start to the 2023 DTM season, with Landgraf driver Maro Engel the best AMG representative in 13th ahead of team-mate Jusuf Owega.

Thierry Vermeulen rounded out the points finishers for Emil Frey in 15th.

Reigning champion Sheldon van der Linde suffered a nightmare start to his title defence that saw him initially slip down to 21st place, before a pitstop fumble compounded his misery. Schubert eventually wheeled back his BMW to the garage to retire from the race.

Two-time DTM champion and Project 1 driver Marco Wittmann also suffered a DNF in what was overall a tough day for BMW.

DTM Oschersleben - Race results:

 Cla   Nº   Driver   Car / Engine  Gap
1 94  Franck Perera Lamborghini  
2 Tim Heinemann Porsche 3.987
3 14  Jack Aitken Ferrari 8.077
4 Ricardo Feller Audi 12.650
5 33  René Rast BMW 15.589
6 Kelvin van der Linde Audi 16.845
7 75  Laurin Heinrich Porsche 17.268
8 92  Mirko Bortolotti Lamborghini 17.741
9 99  Christian Engelhart Porsche 18.753
10 90  Dennis Olsen Porsche 22.022
11 91  Thomas Preining Porsche 22.601
12 63  Clemens Schmid Lamborghini 25.083
13 48  Maro Engel Mercedes 25.348
14 84  Jusuf Owega Mercedes 29.081
15 69  Thierry Vermeulen Ferrari 36.418
16 22  Lucas Auer Mercedes 38.979
17 Luca Engstler Audi 39.842
18 27  David Schumacher Mercedes 43.334
19 Alessio Deledda Lamborghini 1'22.321
20 24  Ayhancan Guven Porsche 4 laps
  36  Arjun Maini Mercedes Retirement
  Sheldon van der Linde BMW Retirement
  11  Marco Wittmann BMW Retirement
  83  P.Niederhauser Audi Retirement
  19  Mick Wishofer Lamborghini Retirement
  40  Mattia Drudi Audi Retirement
  Luca Stolz Mercedes Retire
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