Arjun Maini creates history, becomes the first Indian to race at DTM
The first race of the 2021 DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) championship was held on June 19 in the temple of speed, Monza. The 19-year-old Kiwi, Liam Lawson became the youngest DTM race winner after starting from P7 on the grid. Arjun Maini went down in the history books as the first ever Indian driver to race in the DTM championship. Maini qualified P13 with a 1:47:363 (mm:ss:ms) ahead of Alex Albon and finished P14 by the end of the race. In race two, Maini started from P14 but sadly ended his race with a DNF after a brake system failure.
Arjun Maini qualified P14 for race two but had a great start. He was brisk off the line as he moved from P14 to P11 by the end of the fourth lap. Meanwhile, Kelvin Van der Linde was building up the lead in the front with the gap increasing to over 4.5 seconds by the end of lap six. Maini opted for an early pitstop at lap six. His race hinged on the strategy of doing a long stint on the second set of tyres.
Sheldon Van der Linde (Rowe Racing), Nico Muller (Team Rosberg) and Esteban Muth (T3 Motorsport) were going wheel to wheel for the second position. Muller chose to move away from the cat fight and dove into the pits at lap eight. This was beneficial to him as he made the undercut work on Sheldon who pitted the next lap and conceded the second position.
However in lap 15, disaster struck the Indian’s luck. Maini went off into the grass at turn eight due to brake failure. He retired the car in lap 16 after conceding a brake system failure. According to Maini, the damage was caused during lap one when he made contact with Timo Glock as the pair wanted to come out side-by-side out of turn two. Timo Glock had to retire his car by lap 20 when he concluded that the car was undrivable and uncompetitive. He also pointed towards the contact between him and Maini to be the reason for the car’s sudden unnatural behaviour.
Kelvin Van der Linde went on to win race two after leading every lap. He was followed by Nico Muller in P2 and Lucas Auer in P3. It was heartbreaking for Arjun Maini as he had to end the race prematurely. But regardless of the events, he ended the session on a high note by expressing that he was feeling much better about the car compared to race one and all the data and understanding that he and his team have gathered will be helpful to improve their performance for the races to come.