Five DTM drivers to miss Hockenheim finale after Race 1 chaos

Dennis Olsen, Thomas Preining, David Schumacher, Nick Cassidy and Rolf Ineichen are all set to miss the Hockenheim finale after their cars sustained heavy damage in an incident-filled race on Saturday.

The opening race of the weekend was marred by a slew of crashes in the early stages that led to a prolonged red flag period and criticism from several quarters about the driving standards in the series.

The biggest incident of all took place on lap 6 after Preining and Schumacher came to blows at Turn 8 on the safety car restart and struck the wall at high-speed before bouncing back on track.

This created a traffic jam of sorts and, as other drivers slowed down to take evasive action, Olsen was hit from the rear from Ricardo Feller, sending him rear-first into the barriers on the left-hand side of the track.

The impact of Olsen’s crash sent the engine flying out of his Porsche and onto the circuit, which immediately caught fire - leading to the race being red flagged.

All drivers involved in the crash, as well as those in a separate shunt earlier in the lap, are believed to have escaped the incidents without any serious injuries.

However, as many as five drivers will not take to the start of Sunday’s finale as their cars are simply too damaged to be repaired in such a short span of time.

In case of Porsche duo Olsen and Preining, the damage sustained to their cars is irrelevant as they were both declared unfit to race by the doctors following further examination.

Team Bernhard, in fact, attempted to source a spare car for Preining to allow him to race on Sunday, but the squad’s hopes were dashed when the Austrian was ruled out for the remainder of the weekend.

The race-ending crash had already ended any chances of Preining winning the title in his and Porsche’s first season in the DTM.

"I gave David as little space as possible and tried to make myself wide,” he said. “And he has to go back at some point. But from my direct view in the car he came back a bit too aggressively. The crash hurt a lot, and it was certainly very expensive."

Schumacher, who was taken to a hospital in Ludwigshafen for check-ups, suffered a scraped knee and bruising to his lumbar spine in the incident.

Explaining the crash from his point of view, he said: "I was driving to the left of Preining through the fast-right in front of the East Grandstand when he pulled to the outside. We touched, both turned right and from then on I was just a passenger. The impact was really violent."

The engine of Dennis Olsen, SSR Performance Porsche 911 GT3-R after the crash

The engine of Dennis Olsen, SSR Performance Porsche 911 GT3-R after the crash

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Olsen, meanwhile, suffered bruises in the incident and was taken to a hospital in Mannheim.

While it wasn’t visible from the footage, some components from Olsen’s Porsche got wedged into the Ferrari of Cassidy, who was unlucky to be at the apex of the corner as the Norwegian’s car smashed into the barrier.

Cassidy was able to bring the car back to the pits where he was extracted by the AF Corse mechanics. Although the Kiwi is understood to be fully fit, he won’t be able to take part in Sunday’s race.

"We were very lucky in that respect," AF Corse sports director Ron Reichert told’s sister publication

"Nick was hit hard, the engine flew into the car with us. If it had hit him 50 centimetres higher, it would have gone through the window. There would have been a net there, but still...

"Our mechanics are relatively fit there and then got him out slowly and carefully via the passenger side because the door didn't open any more."

Grasser Racing’s Ineichen is another driver who will be absent on Sunday after a separate incident at the start of the same lap involving teammate Clemens Schmid and Attempto Audi’s Marius Zug that was seemingly triggered by Philipp Eng and Nico Muller.

After Ineichen reported back pain he was airlifted to a clinic in Ludwigshafen as a precaution, but he was quickly given the all-clear to return to the track later on Saturday.

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