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Sheldon van der Linde : ‘A dream came true today’

Sheldon van der Linde hailed his ‘incredible’ maiden DTM victory in race two at Assen as a ‘dream come true’ as the youngster became the first South African to win a race in the series.

Van der Linde only started the wet second race from 14th on the grid, but a skilful strategy from BMW team RBM saw the 21-year-old emerge from the mandatory pit stops in the lead.

Lapping faster than any other driver in the tricky wet conditions, van der Linde was able to pull away from the chasing Audi of Robin Frijns after the restart to claim a first win in the DTM.

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“It’s incredible,” said van der Linde. “We started from 14th on the grid and moved up into P1. To be honest, a dream came true today.

“We never would have expected it at the start. This shows that anything really can happen.

“The weather was really strange the whole weekend. We were able to get the maximum out of the race and my team had a fantastic strategy today. The car was amazing in the wet.

“I’m just really happy to have got my first DTM win, and I think everyone at BMW more than deserves this. My team worked so hard for this; thanks to everyone for this.”

BMW Team RBM Team Principal Bart Mampaey elaborated further on the team’s planned strategy in the race, which saw van der Linde pit early, the second driver in on lap ten.

“We opted for an alternative strategy, but with something in mind,” explained Mampaey. “We expected the whole race to be wet.

“Then it dried up during the race, but we saw that the bad weather would make a comeback. We were way down the grid with two of our cars. They had the pace but couldn’t move up the field.

“Then, after his early tyre change, Sheldon van der Linde drove fast laps and overtook the others who didn’t react to our strategy.

“Then the rain came back, and it was very tense again at the restart.

“I think we did a really good job. The stops were good, the tyre pressure too, and Sheldon was fantastic. I’m really pleased.”

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