Moritz Löhner fought back at the Lausitzring, to climb into second in the DTM Esports points standings, close behind Team Redline’s Kevin Siggy.
Though Norisring proved not to be the most seamless experience for Kevin Siggy, the Austro-Slovenian left Round 2 of the 2022 DTM Esports Championship with a big grin. Three race victories out of a possible four, with the single miss coming through an uncharacteristic spin, had the championship leader 53 points clear of his closest rival before this week’s double-header.
Thursday evening (7th April, 2022) would see the Lausitzring in action with Spa-Francorchamps’ turn arriving just days after thanks to a late adjustment to the calendar. The scenario of Siggy out of sight come Monday morning was quite plausible – it was up to the rest of the grid to bring the form man down a few pegs.
Sprint Race qualifying
Indeed, a few pegs he would fall in qualifying for the Sprint Race, but only a few. After a quartet of pole positions, Siggy would start from fourth on the grid this time around behind the highly impressive Dörr Esports trio of Florian Hasse, Moritz Löhner and Leonard Krippner.
Despite this fantastic team showing, the overall picture was still favourable for the Team Redline pilot with his main championship rivals all further down the order.
Gianmarco Fiduci was the highest placed of these in sixth. Christopher Högfeldt would be kicking himself for not finding another few thousandths – just one hundredth separated the Swede in ninth from the Italian.
It was an even less successful session for Alessandro Ottaviani who was unable to break into the top ten.
In many Raceroom Racing Experience series, the primary layout of EuroSpeedway Lausitz is utilised but not here. The sight was something to behold as everyone flew around the oval’s first turn; Siggy was the first to benefit from its wide nature overtaking Krippner around the outside.
The first of the Dörr rear gunners put up a strong fight heading infield but was forced to concede ultimately.
Though Siggy had gained a place, as had the drivers he was keeping an eye on. Fiduci and Högfeldt both rose one position whilst Ottaviani lay in 10th by the end of the first lap. R8G’s Italian lined up a move on Michael Rächl, sweeping past the German into Turn 2, before capitalising on a Högfeldt mistake and climbing to eighth.
Life wouldn’t get any easier for Christopher as the brutal midfield dogfight engulfed him. With six minutes to go, he had fallen behind Alexander Dornieden and was caught out as the German attempted to make a pass on Adam Pinczes into Turn 1. This dropped the Swede down to fourteenth.
Hasse was beginning to struggle for pace as the four cars behind him kept a very close watch. Seeing his chance, Löhner took the lead with a couple of laps to run in a similar fashion to Ottaviani on Rächl earlier. Krippner and Fiduci falling away, it was now down to Siggy to have any final say.
He did not and thus the podium remained as was. Löhner, the reigning champion lest we not forget, struck his first win of the campaign and not a moment too soon.
Endurance Race qualifying
A Dörr Esports trio followed by Siggy made up the front two rows yet again with the most recent race victor leading the charge this time around ahead of Krippner.
Hasse would start from third with Fiduci improving upon his previous effort by one place; starting the Endurance event where he finished the Sprint.
For Ottaviani and Högfeldt, disaster struck yet again with unremarkable starting positions. A huge opportunity had been presented to Siggy for the second time that evening.
Fiduci looked punchy off the start attempting overtakes on Siggy through both Turns 1 and 3 albeit unsuccessfully. The pressure gave the Dörr trio time to settle into affairs with all three remaining as they were at the end of the first rotation. Another storming start had benefited Ottaviani who was already up to ninth.
10 minutes in and having dropped Fiduci by a couple of seconds, Siggy was ready to isolate and attack Krippner with Löhner and Hasse escaping further up the road. Max Pfeifer, who was running a strong race in eighth place, wasn’t able to escape the clutches of Ottaviani however who continued his early charge.
After defending for multiple laps, Krippner would be the first of the front runners into the pits. Siggy appeared to have a stronger race pace all round and stayed out in hopes of performing the elusive overcut.
As the points leader remained true to his longer first stint, Hasse and Fiduci blinked. With the German rejoining ahead of Krippner, Fiduci’s race imploded thanks to a pit lane speeding penalty removing him from top ten contention.
Siggy was next in and arrived out on track a good second behind Krippner. Finally came Löhner who comfortably gapped Hasse at the pit exit. It wasn’t long before the battle for third was resumed and Siggy appeared visibly re-energised. With a monstrous final corner exit following a couple of laps of close pursuit, the Redline Ferrari was ahead of the Dörr BMW.
The move of the race came just a lap later from Isaac Price who rolled back the months to embrace his trademark strategy of being the last person to pit. A sensational double overtake around the outside of Turn 2 on Marko Pejic and Alex Dornieden is well worth a couple of rewatches.
Ottaviani too was making late lunges but in the name of damage limitation. A huge commit on Pfeifer into Turn 2 was soon followed by a strong pass into Turn 10 on Rächl. Sixth would be as far as he could reach.
Though difficult to see if there will be any long-term ramifications to the 2022 season story, on Thursday evening it was a good day to be Moritz Löhner picking up two wins and comfortably so. Hasse and Siggy ensured a repeat of the Sprint podium.
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Sprint Race results
- Moritz Löhner 19:31.738
- Florian Hasse +0.600
- Kevin Siggy +0.936
- Leonard Krippner +2.527
- Gianmarco Fiduci +2.956
- Jack Keithley +7.466
- Alessandro Ottaviani +7.750
- Michael Rächl +7.990
- Adam Pinczes +8.567
- Alexander Dornieden +8.756
Endurance Race results
- Moritz Löhner 63:37.255
- Florian Hasse +7.280
- Kevin Siggy +11.672
- Leonard Krippner +13.130
- Jack Keithley +22.254
- Alessandro Ottaviani +25.614
- Michael Rächl +26.149
- Max Pfeifer +26.676
- Isaac Price +27.646
- Alexander Dornieden +37.643