Ninth place for the New Zealander on his season debut in the Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse-run 488 GT3 Evo 2020 is the haul with which the Piacenza-based team comes away from the opening race of the DTM weekend at the Lausitzring. Withdrawal, due to a puncture, for Felipe Fraga.
Sprint start. After a qualifying session that placed the two Ferraris on the third and sixth rows of the grid – with Fraga just behind the pole sitter – the race got underway to a tense start with many cars flanking each other due to the ample width of the German track. Fraga, caught on the opening sprint by some of his rivals, kept a cool head and managed to retake the position, while Cassidy was able to gain tenth place.
Differences. The two AF Corse-entered 488 GT3 Evo 2020s deployed differing pit strategies with Fraga entering the pit lane on lap eight for the mandatory tyre change. The sub-par service speed meant the Brazilian missed out on the opportunity to stay in contention with the frontrunners. Cassidy, in his first race of the season, thanks to a very late stop, took the lead, taking advantage of the stops of the cars in front and some notable retirements, whilst also registering his best times.
Rain. Halfway through the race, just before Fraga’s final right rear puncture-induced pit stop, a brief shower created a potential change in team strategies, with the mechanics looking to prepare the wets. However, none of the drivers on track opted for the treaded tyres, not least of all Cassidy, who pitted on lap 22, coming back on track in twelfth position. The New Zealander was not disheartened and went in pursuit of a top ten place to eventually finish the 55-minute race in ninth position after a fine battle with Maxiimilan Götz.
The win went to Sheldon Van der Linde in a BMW, who now holds 38 points in the standings compared to the 44 of Lucas Auer, third at the finish and championship leader. Fraga lies sixth on 20 points, while Cassidy is sixteenth on two.
Ferrari will get their chance at redemption in tomorrow’s Race 2 scheduled to get underway at 13:35.
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