Mercedes-Benz has traditionally enjoyed great success at the legendary Nürburgring. Last weekend (25th - 27th September), the Mercedes-AMG DTM Team continued this tradition with podiums for Pascal Wehrlein and Paul Di Resta and with two strong team performance in Rounds 15 and 16 of the 2015 season. Going into the DTM grand finale and a home fixture for Mercedes-Benz at Hockenheim (16th - 18th October), Wehrlein leads the drivers’ championship on 37 points ahead of Audi driver Edoardo Mortara, while gooix/Original-Teile Mercedes-AMG continue to occupy top spot in the team standings. “Consequently, we are well placed for the start of the season finale at Hockenheim,” says Head of Mercedes-AMG DTM Ulrich Fritz. The marque with the three-pointed star has additional cause for celebration: within the context of the DTM weekend in the Eifel, Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist clinched the FIA Formula 3 European Championship driving a Dallara-Mercedes entered by Prema Powerteam.
Wehrlein extends lead in DTM drivers' championship
Pascal Wehrlein experienced a thrilling weekend at the Nürburgring. In both races, he was involved in some hard-fought wheel-to-wheel action but ultimately came away with vital points towards the drivers’ championship. Third place in Saturday’s race and fifth place on Sunday were enough to see Wehrlein extend his lead in the standings to 37 points. Particularly noticeable has been his consistency over the season: Wehrlein has finished 14 of the 16 DTM races so far this year in the points – more than any other driver in the field.
In the first race on Saturday, he had to battle for position against the ultimate winner Maxime Martin (BMW) on Turn 1. "If you’re going into the first corner in P1 and you get hit from the side out of the blue, it’s not ideal," commented Wehrlein initially. "But I’ve now seen a replay of the incident. Maxime made a fair move – there was a gap and he used it."
When the lights on the gantry went out for Sunday’s race, Wehrlein once again got off to a powerful start. "I’m very happy with my starts this weekend," he said thoughtfully. "I gained positions on both occasions." From ninth on the grid, he was already up to sixth by the end of the first lap and went into his pit stop in fifth. However, he lost some time preventing an unsafe release, and that cost him three positions.
On the remaining laps, Wehrlein first closed the gap on Mercedes-AMG DTM team-mate Daniel Juncadella before overtaking him and then did the same to Maximilian Götz a few laps later. Wehrlein eventually crossed the finish line around six seconds behind fourth-placed Tom Blomqvist. He had words of praise for Farfus, his opponent from Brazil: "I had a cool fight with Augusto which was a lot of fun. He’s always very fair, and so I knew that it would be tough but fair."
DTM Podium number 24 für Paul Di Resta
Paul Di Resta was in a confident mood ahead of the penultimate race weekend of the season in the Eifel. "I’ve felt good in the car for the whole of the weekend," confirmed the Scot. An error in the first qualifying session on Saturday cost him a better starting position for Race 1. From P22 on the grid, Di Resta advanced ten places up the field but was unable to seal the performance with a point. Sunday more than compensated for the disappointment. This time, he qualified for the second row and was on course for a podium after only a few laps. "We had a strong car yesterday but were unable to show it," said Di Resta. "In contrast, things went well today." His second-place finish also brought him the 24th podium of his DTM career.
Strong team performance in both races
The two podiums were not the only satisfying results for the Mercedes-AMG DTM Team to take away from the Nürburgring weekend. No fewer than seven Mercedes-AMG DTM drivers increased their points tally on the circuit in the Eifel hills, five finishing the first race in the Top Eight and four scoring points in the second.
The most spectacular charge up the field of the weekend came in Saturday’s race when Gary Paffett, who won the DTM title back in 2005, improved ten positions to finish the race in fourth place. "Starting from 14th on the grid, that’s an incredible result," said the Englishman with evident delight afterwards.
DTM rookie Lucas Auer achieved a notable first on Saturday, claiming a maiden pole position in the popular touring car series. The Austrian youngster then went on to finish sixth. Maximilian Götz had the best weekend of his debut season in the DTM in the Eifel, posting two Top Six finishes. "Two good results at the Nürburgring make this a fabulous weekend for me," was his assessment.