Christian Engelhart triumphs after tactical masterclass

29 May. 2023 • 10:03
Photo : Gruppe C

 A great performance and a perfect strategy – in Oschersleben, Christian Engelhart was rewarded for a faultless performance in the Porsche 911 GT3 R from Toksport WRT with his maiden DTM win. On Sunday, the experienced 36-year-old driver had started the second race of the season from seventh on the grid and moved up to second place after a perfectly timed pit stop. His brand team-mate Thomas Preining (A) from Manthey EMA had been leading up that point, but a penalty for him saw Engelhart take the lead and he crossed the finishing line in first place after 41 laps. “That victory was clearly due to the whole team. The pit stop was sensational and I had great pace before and after it. This is a fantastic win,” said the jubilant Porsche driver, who topped the rostrum for the first time in what was just his fourth DTM race. His team-mate Tim Heinemann from Fichtenberg also had reason to celebrate. As he had on Saturday, the newcomer secured second place and moved into the lead in the overall standings. Preining completed the three-way Porsche podium. Around 35,000 spectators enjoyed a top-quality DTM opener in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, with thrilling qualifying sessions and two new winners.


Pole-setter Preining was the dominant driver for long periods on Sunday afternoon in his Porsche 911 GT3 R. The Austrian overcame a safety car phase to extend his lead over Heinemann to more than five seconds by the time the pit-stop window opened in the 20th minute. Engelhart was in sixth place at this point, then came in late for fresh tyres after making up plenty of ground on clear track. This tactic paid off. After a perfect pit stop, the Porsche driver exited the pits behind Preining and ahead of his team-mate Heinemann. Events then took a dramatic turn: Preining was well in front but an infringement by a crew member during the tyre change led to a penalty lap that cost him five seconds and two places. Engelhart calmly took advantage of his unexpected lead to win ahead of Heinemann, while Preining had to be content with the third spot on the podium.


Dennis Olsen completed a top-four shutout for Porsche in fourth place, followed by the Lamborghini drivers Schmid and Bortolotti. As on Saturday, the best Audi driver was Ricardo Feller (CH) in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo2 from Abt Sportsline, in seventh place. A good performance from Jusuf Owega (Mercedes-AMG Team BWT) saw him finish in eighth as the best Mercedes-AMG driver. Laurin Heinrich from Team75 Motorsport was ninth in another Porsche, while Austrian driver Lucas Auer (Mercedes-AMG Team Winward) crossed the line in tenth place in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. Preining recorded the fastest lap time, 1:22.725 minutes – the 24-year-old adding another point to the three he had scored for his pole position.


Christian Engelhart: “That was a brilliant race and a great one-two result for our team. It is not the norm to win from seventh on the grid, that’s really something special. This championship is extremely well balanced, you need a good strategy and have to push at the right moment. At the end of my first stint, I knew that we would do well if the pit stop went as planned. Of course, Thomas was ahead of me but experience tells me that anything can happen in motor racing, right up to the final lap.“


Tim Heinemann: “I would have liked to have won, but Christian did a great job. This one-two result is superb for the team. The ten kilos of extra weight made it difficult for me today and tyre wear was more extreme than yesterday, but it was also warmer. The pit stop went well though. Overall, that was an outstanding weekend and it is unbelievable for me to be leaving Oschersleben as the overall leader.”


Thomas Preining: “It’s a shame that we didn’t manage to win that. Nonetheless, we improved significantly over the weekend to even be in the position to win this race. I am proud of the team. I was able to catch up with the leaders after the penalty lap, but getting too close means that your tyres deteriorate and it’s difficult to overtake on this tight circuit in any case. We made mistakes during the pit stops yesterday and today, but if we improve on that, we can challenge for wins every weekend.”


Result of 2nd Race, Oschersleben

1. Christian Engelhart (D/Toksport WRT)

2. Tim Heinemann (D/Toksport WRT), +0.872 seconds

3. Thomas Preining (A/Manthey EMA), +2.104 seconds

4. Dennis Olsen (N/Manthey EMA), +3.791 seconds

5. Clemens Schmid (A/GRT Grasser-Racing-Team), +4.553 seconds


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