Liam Lawson’s second place and Alex Albon’s fifth in Race-1 of round two of the DTM at the Lausitzring were brilliant results given a Balance of Performance that reduced the power of AF Corse’s 488 GT3 Evo 2020.
On the podium. Starting from fifth on the grid, the New Zealander of Red Bull AF Corse lost a couple of positions in the first few laps. However, he took advantage of the Safety Car, which came on after Hawkey’s accident in Turn 1, to turn the race around. Following another fast pit stop, Lawson came back out behind Sheldon van der Linde and Philip Ellis while leader Nico Müller extended his stint until the last lap. Twenty minutes from the end, Ellis passed van der Linde, who was suffering tyre trouble. Lawson did likewise with a throttle-down that left no room for the BMW driver to respond, earning him second place. At the end of the race, van der Linde suffered a five-second penalty for an infraction during the pit stop, which gifted fifth position to Alex Albon.
Battle. The AlphaTauri AF Corse driver put in an excellent performance, constantly battling with the Audi of Kevin van der Linde. Like his teammate, Albon struggled in the first few minutes of the race but went on the attack and climbed the leaderboard after his mandatory stop, one lap after Lawson’s. The Thai gained another three positions on top of van der Linde’s penalty for a fifth-place finish that gives grounds for optimism in Race-2 scheduled for Sunday at 1.30pm local time. This was despite the fact that the Balance of Performance robbed the Prancing Horse cars of 15Hp of power, leaving the 488 GT3 Evo 2020s without the necessary acceleration to attack their rivals on the long straights.
Liam Lawson: “It wasn’t the best start, and in the early stages of the race, when we were all very close together, the lack of power meant that someone was always flanking or attacking me. When we started to bunch up, I felt safer, but that’s why I asked for an earlier pit stop. The stop was super- fast, probably the quickest of the race, and once again, the guys outdid themselves. We came back on track behind van der Linde and maybe lost the race at that point because I found Ellis in front of me when the latter came out of the pits. I didn’t make it past him, but I’m sure if I could have stayed ahead of him, I would have been able to fend off his attacks. Still, it was an excellent result considering our starting position. Racing on the banking wasn’t super easy, especially when the tyres had already covered 25 laps. The right rear was close to the limit, very degraded, so given the downforce generated on Turn 1, I was afraid of a failure, but luckily that didn’t happen. This layout isn’t the best given the power reduction, but I like it a lot, also because our car is very well balanced in this section”.
Alex Albon: “It wasn’t a good race. On the contrary, it was frustrating because, without power, we can’t attack or defend. With no cars in front, we managed to minimise the impact of the Balance of Performance, and the pace is good even if the top speed isn’t. In qualifying, we didn’t do too badly, but this penalised us too heavily in the race. We lost many positions on the straights because it was impossible to defend ourselves, but I managed to complete the whole race in fifth place”.