DTM Norisring Race Two: Götz claims victory and championship title in controversial season finale

October 10, 2021

by Kevin Henderson

Maximilian Götz claimed victory at the Norisring despite being in third with just two minutes of the race to go. The win gave the German the title after Liam Lawson and Kelvin van der Linde failed to take any points after clashing at the first corner.

Like yesterday's race the two main title protagonists sat side by side on the front row, Lawson once again claiming pole with van der Linde in second. Lawson's team mate Nick Cassidy would be in third with Lucas Auer alongside in fourth.

It didn't take long for the drama to unfold. Lawson got a clean start and was at the head of the field. As they approached the hairpin van der Linde made a desperate lunge to get up the inside of his main rival. The Audi clattered into the side of the Ferrari, much like in yesterday's incident, but unlike yesterday, Lawson was then collected by his team mate. Both the AF Corse Ferrari's left stranded as the pack drove by.

Lawson could be heard dejectedly stating on the team radio saying the car is broken and the race was over, with the Ferrari suffering irreparable damage to the steering.

In true end of season fashion, the next lap saw Estaban Muth clatter into the wall causing huge damage to the Lamborghini. Just a few corners later and guest driver Lucas Di Grassi was also sent spinning off.

With Lawson in the pits and pretty much out the race, only a win for van der Linde or Götz would give them the championship, and the chase to get ahead of Lucas Auer in first was on.

That task looked to be a mammoth one for van der Linde as he was first brushed aside by Philip Ellis who took a big chunk out the back of the Audi. He was then granted a five second penalty for his first lap move on the Ferrari, deemed by race control as unsafe re-joining on the track.

Götz was the first of the leading pack to take his stop, coming in from fourth position on the track. The hope being he could undercut the cars ahead and push on to try and get both the victory and championship title. Both Auer and Ellis completed fantastic pitstops to scupper this plan. Ellis cutting the four second lead Auer had on him in half.

The race seemed to be getting away from Götz in third. The success ballast was clearly hindering the Mercedes performance despite the German giving his all. There was a glimmer of hope for the championship contender as on lap 48, Ellis was handed a five second penalty for a pit stop infringement. This would propel Götz into second with only Auer to get past to take the championship.

Van der Linde looked to throw a spanner in the works as despite the five second penalty he served in pit lane, he emerged ahead of Götz. The German tried to make a move on van der Linde as they all got slowed by Lawson's Ferrari which was still trundling around despite the damage on his car. Götz pulled alongside, but van der Linde swung across the track and caught the side of the Mercedes in a wildly defensive move.

The contact was one too many hits for the Audi as a few corners later the rear tyre gave way sending van der Linde into a spin. His championship hopes were over as he had to head back into the pits.

Götz challenge looked very much on with just three minutes remaining on the clock as he soon caught and passed the Mercedes of Ellis in second. Conveniently, Auer, in another Mercedes also started to rapidly slow on the same lap. Götz passing with just two minutes left on the clock to take the lead of both the race and the championship title.

Despite a desperate attempt by Nick Cassidy to try and take on all three Mercedes on the final lap, Götz held on to the race lead having been gifted the title by his Mercedes colleagues.

What seemed to be an impossible challenge two days ago turned into a dream weekend for Max Götz. Anything can happen in motorsport, despite Lawson looking like he had the title sewn up he had it snatched away from him on the final day through no fault of his own.

The countdown now begins for the 2022 season, which will hopefully provide as much entertainment as this year's series.

Image Credit: DTM


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