An impressive performance by defending champion Moritz Löhner and his team Dörr Esports at DEKRA Lausitzring: during the third round of the DTM Esports Championship powered by MediaMarkt, Löhner and his teammate Florian Hasse made it a 1-2 for BMW in both the sprint and the endurance race.
By virtue of clever teamwork, Dörr Esports locked out the first three positions in both qualifying sessions, once with Hasse on pole position from Löhner and Leonard Krippner, the other with Löhner followed by Krippner and Hasse. The dominant points’ leader coming into this round, Slovenian Kevin Siggy (Team Redline) was the only Ferrari driver being able to keep up with the pace of the Dörr BMWs and eventually kept his damage limited with a pair of third places.
For the sim racers, there is only very little time left in preparation for the next round, already taking place on Sunday (10 April) at the Belgian Formula 1 circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, as usual from 7.05pm CEST live on YouTube and grid.DTM.com. “The short preparation time is a challenge for everyone,” Hasse hinted at a stressful weekend. The demanding undulating circuit in Belgium is the venue for the fourth of six rounds of the DTM Esports Championship. Halfway through the season, 23-year-old sim racing professional Kevin Siggy, who dominated last time out at Norisring, remains clearly in front with 220 points, but Löhner (175) was able to reduce his gap from 70 to 45 points at the virtual Lausitzring. Teammate Hasse moved up into third place of the standings with 155 points. The Italian Ferrari duo of Alessandro Ottaviani (R8G Esports/149) and Gianmarco Fiduci (Team Fordzilla/130) is following in fourth and fifth place. The first five places in the final standings are particularly coveted as the five best-placed drivers will be participating in a racing licence course and the best can look forward to a season in real-world motorsport in the talent pool DTM Trophy for 2023.
“It just went perfectly,” reigning DTM Esports champion Moritz Löhner couldn’t hide his relief. “Two victories and a pole position: that was also the result of perfect cooperation within our team. Too bad that there isn’t a team championship.” The 23-year-old from Munich is already looking forward to Spa-Francorchamps: “The fast corners should suit our BMW even better than Lausitzring.” Just how demanding esports is, Löhner made clear by reaching a pulse rate of almost 150. “That is more than I reached in real-world motorsport during the DTM Trophy test sessions with the BMW M4 on Monday.”
In the two qualifying sessions of ten minutes each at the four and a half kilometres long Lausitzring, like in DTM including the 300 metres long banked first corner, Dörr Esports laid the foundation for its triumph. Together, Löhner, Hasse and Krippner went out on track and gave each other perfect slipstreams. Siggy with the Ferrari was stronger than expected, but a pair of fourth grid positions was all that was in store for him. In the 15-minute sprint race, Siggy already got the better of Krippner on the opening lap, but he was unable to find a way past the Dörr duo of Hasse and Löhner. Eventually, Löhner made a skillful attack on Hasse and collected the full amount of points for victory. In the 60-minute endurance race, it was likewise, apart from the fact that the Dörr trio, Krippner included, held on to the first three places in a dominant way for the best part of the race. In the process, Krippner and Siggy staged the duel of the day. Bumper to bumper, the blue-and-black BMW M4 and the red-and-black Ferrari 488 were completing their laps of the track with Siggy showing up in full size in Krippner’s left and right rear-view mirrors over and over again. For Krippner, Siggy’s attacks were permanent stress that he withstood until the mandatory pit stop after 35 minutes. Then, Siggy took over third place but was unable to pose a threat to the front-running duo of Löhner and Hasse until the chequered flag was out. Löhner scored a commanding win, almost seven seconds ahead.
It was a refreshingly entertaining 60-minute race with numerous position fights throughout the field. Eventually, there was only one crash as Axel Vermeylen (BEL/Virtualdrivers by TX3) and the pushing Marko Pejic (GER/Veloce Esports) collided at the end of the backstretch and crashed into the wall. While BMW enjoyed a big points’ haul, Ferrari’s dominance was largely broken. Jack Keithley (GBR) from the Formula 1 subsidiary Williams Esports still ended up fifth with the Mercedes from Ottaviani and the fourth Dörr driver, Michael Rächl. For once, not the usual number of 29 drivers took the start of the endurance race. Marc Gassner (GER/MRS Esports) had to miss out for personal reasons while his teammate Tim Jarschel (GER) was excluded from the championship due to too many warnings following the Norisring round. A pit lane speed limit infringement led to the exclusion of Adam Princzes (HUN/Arnage Competition) for the endurance race.
The best of the three participants who had qualified for the championship through the DTM Esports Cup by DTM partner MediaMarkt were Florian Bodin (GER/Deutsches Payment Esports) once again in the sprint race and, for the first time, Alex Mosin (GER/Ballas Esports) in the feature race.
DTM Esports is one of five pillars of the DTM platform next to the world-famous DTM, the talent pool DTM Trophy, DTM Classic and, in future, DTM Electric. The three real-world motorsport series DTM, DTM Trophy and DTM Classic had their first official test at Hockenheim this week. DTM is starting the 36th season of the long-standing series, comprising 16 sprint races at Portimão (POR) from 29 April until 1 May, featuring 29 GT race cars and drivers from 15 nations. For further information and tickets: DTM.com.