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jueves, septiembre 28, 2023
HomeSports-CarsEngel Hails “Perfect Day” After Dominant Zandvoort Win – Sportscar365

Engel Hails “Perfect Day” After Dominant Zandvoort Win – Sportscar365

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Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Maro Engel described his Saturday performance at Zandvoort as “the kind of race you wish for” after converting pole position into his second DTM career victory.

The German driver added to an already strong weekend at the Dutch circuit by finishing six seconds clear of defending series champion Sheldon van der Linde during the opening race.

The victory followed a sweep of Free Practice sessions on Friday and pole position earlier on Saturday.

After beating Van der Linde into the first corner, a clean race saw Engel go largely unchallenged before taking the checkered flag aboard the No. 48 Mercedes-AMG Team Mann-Filter Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

“A perfect day for us,” Engel said. “Obviously the kind of race that you wish for when you are in front.

“No safety cars, I was able to build a small gap on the first lap so I could get out of the potential that Sheldon could attack me.

“We obviously knew that the BMW’s were very quick on the straights, so that was important. From there on I could really try and manage my tires as best as possible.

“I was hoping he would degrade a little bit more than me and that’s what happened a little bit I think. That was obviously the key at the end.”

Engel has so far put in a dominant performance upon DTM’s first visit to Zandvoort since 2018, leading every single session across Friday and Saturday.

When asked what gave him the edge over the field, the German explained he takes a liking to the 2.6-mile circuit.

“It’s always been a track I enjoyed, but I think most of the drivers love this track because it’s just a very nice track,” Engel said.

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“Great facility and a great flow. It’s really kept an old school character, very high speed with quick corners, up and down and built into the nature.

“It requires a lot of commitment from all drivers and maybe in some ways it’s a little bit similar to the Nordschleife, which is a track that I also really love and enjoy.”

Engel also praised Team Landgraf, the team that operates the ‘Mamba’ Mercedes-AMG, for its progress since the Oschersleben opener.

The No. 48 car scored a mere five points across the opening weekend, while Engel had a clash with Schubert Motorsport driver Rene Rast during the Sunday race.

“The team, I have to praise them because they did an amazing job,” he said.

“They worked really, really hard since Oschersleben. Obviously not the start we wanted there, so they worked very hard.

“We did another test here ten days ago with some other teams and prepared as best as possible. It’s nice that we were able to convert that.”

Engel described his performance as “not an easy race”, pointing to challenging track conditions.

“It’s quite dusty and if someone runs off track, the sand here is very fine and you can get caught out a few times,” he explained.

“I had situations where I nearly lost the car so you need to be really alert to these kinds of situations.

“I think that’s the same for everyone and it makes it a tricky race here and I’m very happy that it all worked out.”

The win marked the second time Engel stood on the top step in his DTM career. Nearly six years separated his two victories, as the maiden win came during the championship’s 2017 visit to Moscow Raceway.

Engel left DTM following the conclusion of that year’s campaign, returning last year with GruppeM Racing after a four-year absence.

“I would have loved to have a win last year,” he said.

“We didn’t manage it, so it’s all the nicer that we managed to take a win already in the third race this year. It’s always special. DTM victories are always hard, it’s never easy.

“The level of competition is incredibly high as we all know, so it’s always tough. So days like today, you really need to cherish them.”

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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